Army National Guard Crisis Action Team

Wednesday September 21, 2011

What is it?

The Crisis Action Team (CAT) is the main effort for the Army National Guard (ARNG) staff to respond to domestic crisis and non-crisis events. The CAT may be elevated for incidents due to terrorist threats or attacks, major disasters, other emergencies, or planned events.

The CAT works closely with the National Guard Coordination Center (NGCC) and is comprised of subject matter experts (SMEs) from all of the ARNG divisions. Under normal conditions, the CAT maintains a 24/7 Watch Team, CAT Level Alpha. During a crisis, the CAT may elevate to a robust posture at CAT Level Delta, represented by all functional areas to provide 24/7 operational assistance such as providing sourcing solutions to the affected States/Territories. The CAT responds to requests for assistance (RFAs) and requests for information (RFIs) from the states, the NGCC, HQDA, and other government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

What has the National Guard done?

Prior to Hurricane Irene making landfall, the CAT was elevated to fully-staffed, 24-hour operations (for a period of over 96 hours). During that time the CAT was proactive in pre-planning force packages to provide to states should the need arise. Two Aviation Task Forces (ATFs) were assembled. The ATFs were a vehicle for prepositioning rotary-wing capabilities in Initial Staging Bases (ISBs) to be readily available to provide assistance upon State request. The ATFs provided required aviation to augment the existing capabilities of the coastal states. A similar concept was used to develop Ground Task Forces (GTFs) based on essential capabilities that ARNG staff projected might be required. Ultimately, the GTFs were directed to stand down before occupying the ISBs due to a weakening of the storm and a reduced expectation of state requirements. In addition, the CAT maintained high frequency radio communications, telephone, and email contact with the states in the storm's path to ensure that ARNG could communicate and meet any state requirements.

Why is this important to the National Guard?

Maintaining the CAT provides constant visibility and communication regarding threat conditions, significant events and provides planning and operational capacity for the ARNG staff to support state and federal requirements. Support is developed to meet any gaps in the ten essential functions of mission command, medical, communications, logistics, transportation, engineering, civil support, maintenance, security, and aviation.

What continued efforts does the program have planned for the future?

The ARNG CAT conducts exercises on a quarterly basis ensuring team members are trained in the programs used by the CAT. This includes the Joint Information Exchange Environment (JIEE) and Defense Connect Online (DCO) and integrating the functions of the ARNG Staff into a combined effort to support an event. Future improvements include the incorporation of public affairs and legal SMEs.


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