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.

Resources:

News release: DOD announces Ohio and Washington National Guard HRFs

Fact Sheet: Department of Defense Homeland Response Force (HRF)

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2010-2013: 60th Anniversary of the Korean War
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"Since 1864, the United States Army has been steward of this, the country's only active military shrine. I believe this report will demonstrate the Army's steadfast commitment to repairing what was broken in the past, and ensuring America's continued confidence in the operation of its most hallowed ground."

-Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, in a report released to Congress, emphasizing the improvements made at Arlington National Cemetery more than a year after the cemetery's leadership was ousted

McHugh cites major improvements at Arlington National Cemetery

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What They're Saying

"Normally we use different configurations and kind of do the same thing over and over again. This mission we started from scratch and we had to build up the settings we have in our communications equipment ... The best is talking with other nations on a professional standpoint and working with them for a common goal."

- Sgt. Ryan Lalk, assigned to the Schweinfurt-based 72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion and the communications non-commissioned officer in charge, USA Battalion, speaks about the mission of the Cyber Endeavor portion at the Combined Endeavor 11, the largest multinational communications exercise in the world from September 9-22, in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion engages NATO signal partners at Exercise Combined Endeavor 11

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