The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Disaster Response

Thursday November 15, 2012

What is it?

When disaster strikes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) assists as part of the federal government's unified national response, in concert with other Army and defense organizations. USACE supports the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the primary federal agency for public works and engineering-related support.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts emergency response activities under two basic authorities: the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act, and when mission-assigned by FEMA, the Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act.

In any disaster, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' top priorities are to:

- Support immediate emergency response
- Sustain lives with critical commodities, temporary emergency power and other needs
- Initiate recovery efforts by assessing and restoring critical infrastructure

What has the Army done?

In the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has supported states' and FEMA regional operations centers in coordinating recovery efforts. During USACE's response to Sandy, more than 800 experts from around USACE have been deployed, in addition to the 3,000 USACE personnel already working in the impacted region.

For Sandy, USACE's main emphases have been on de-watering, temporary power, and debris removal missions in New York and New Jersey.

USACE has fulfilled dozens of FEMA mission assignments and has deployed hundreds of emergency assets (including planning and assessment teams, dewatering teams, prime power generators, and command and control vehicles) to provide support to affected areas affected.

Additionally, USACE has awarded contracts for missions such as debris removal, water and commodities distribution, and other critical support based on local needs. USACE operations centers within the affected areas have been established to provide around-the-clock support.

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

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is executing various Sandy-related FEMA mission assignments as relief and recovery efforts continue. In concert with federal agencies, state and local officials, USACE will maintain a significant presence in Sandy-affected areas until relief and recovery operations conclude.

Why is this important to the Army?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a key part of the federal government's unified national response to disasters and emergencies, and is the designated lead for public works and engineering-related support. USACE stands ready to respond to natural and man-made disasters.


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Senior Leaders are Saying

"This is a team effort: the Department of Defense working with all the federal agencies down to the local level... We can be proud to be Americans, because even during a tragedy like this, there is goodness in seeing Americans come together to help other Americans in their time of need."

- Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, refers to the post-Hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts

What They're Saying

"We want people to start having a sense of normalcy. When they look around their street and see debris everywhere; that can be heart breaking."

- Capt. John Peters, hazardous material officer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), speaks of USACE's efforts to clean debris left behind after Hurricane Sandy

Corps of Engineers works with N.Y. Dept. of Sanitation in Hurricane Sandy debris removal


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