The National Incident Management System was developed so that:
responders from different jurisdictions and disciplines can work together better to respond to natural disasters and emergencies, including acts of terrorism. NIMS benefits include a unified approach to incident management; standard command and management structures; and emphasis on preparedness, mutual aid and resource management.
As localities created their emergency plans, it was evident that in the event of certain disasters resources beyond those available at the local level would be necessary. Emergency plans were expanded to include regional, state-wide and national resources.
Each succeeding level of resources would serve to fill in, supplement or provide those things that the lower levels could not. At the top of the chain of resource procurement would be the United States military.
The military’s resources are vast and would be useful in any emergency. It was recognized that the military was a unique source of resources for certain types of incidents, those involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high energy explosive [CBRNE] mechanisms. As the civilian sector created plans and organizations for emergency and disaster management, the military began to put together its structure for the part it would play in NIMS and CBRNE incidents.
During a recent Blogger’s Roundtable, I was able to interview two officers directly involved with the military’s part in responding to CBRNE incidents. Col. Lou Vogler is the U.S. Army North’s chief of future operations and LTC James Shores (U.S. Marine Corps) is chief of plans for Joint Task Force-Civil Support.
Recent moves by the Pentagon have placed the military’s response to disasters within the United States under the United States Northern Command and U.S. Army North. Joint Task Force-Civil Support has recently fallen under that command.
JTF-CS is the organization tasked with working with the civilian side in the event of a disaster. It also is in charge of training, maintaining and planning the military’s response to CBRNE incidents. JTF-CS involves all four services and the resources that each can command.
As the locality and the incident commander requests resources, the military and JTF-CS becomes the agency of last resort. When all of the civilian resources are exhausted or non-existent, the military can take action on a request from the incident commander. Col. Vogler stressed that the military response is additive to the already existing response.
JTF-CS would begin a response with an assessment and communications group, to determine the need and which of the resources at their disposal are needed. As military units were tasked, they would be self-sufficient upon arrival at the scene. LTC Shores stated that they would be there to help and not to be a burden on existing resources.
The various state National Guard units have CBRNE response capability. They would be involved at the direction of the state governor, and thus be on scene before the military. JTF-CS is prepared to support that mission.
The pieces all fall into place October 1.
A robust, joint response force designed to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) incidents will be assigned Oct. 1 to U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and placed under the operational control of U.S. Army North, USNORTHCOM’s standing joint force land component command. Designated CCMRF 9.1, the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force is a federal initial entry force that is scalable and task-organized to mitigate loss of life and relieve suffering in response to a CBRNE disaster or terrorist attack. The response force is participating in a joint training exercise Sept. 8-19 at Fort Stewart, Ga., and is expected to achieve full operating capability Oct. 1.
The question of the law prohibiting the military’s involvement law enforcement was brought up. Col Vogler responded:
Now, with regards to posse comitatus, again, we are clearly in support of federal agencies, and we do not have a law enforcement role. We will integrate with law enforcement to understand the situation and make sure we’re aware of any threats, but CCMRF is not designed to enforce security on the local population. It’s designed to respond. It has forces for security, but that’s really — they call them security forces, but that’s really just to establish our own footprint and make sure that we can operate and run our own bases. So there’s — just so there’s no confusion there, we do not expect a law enforcement role.
We train our soldiers on posse comitatus. We train them on the restrictions that we have to operate domestically, and that’s really one of the major differences for a lot of these soldiers. You know, the truck drivers drive trucks just like they would always do, but they’re going to operate in a unique Defense support of civil authorities to meet the domestic environment, and that’s what we strive to teach them — that they will be operating inside the United States, and there are very different rules than they might have if they were deployed overseas.
The military is prepared to respond in the event of a CBRNE incident. Their command structure is in place. Their planning, training and logistics are active and being tested routinely. Should an incident commander need them, they will be there.
Table of contents for Bloggers' Roundtable
- We Don’t Commute to Work Anymore
- Terror Investors Might Want to Look Elsewhere
- I Hear It’s Safe
- In Our Area the Taliban Are Paying More a Month
- Iraqi Police Progress
- Sept. 11 Conspirators Going to Trial
- Continued Courage and Committment
- The Year of Opportunity – 2008
- Competent, Capable, Effective Leadership
- Afghan Army Acts: Decisive, Overwhelming
- Iraqi Military Medical Services
- Dallas Reporting: Aid Mission to Georgia
- Military Integration Into NIMS
- Status Report From the Afghan South
- Status Report From the Afghan East
- Fourth Fleet Is About Partnerships
- Iraqi Police Primer
- Sons of Iraq Status Update
- Army Apologizes
- We Are Here!
- Yar! There Be Pirates!
- Cobra Gold 2009
- Our Best: Sergeant First Class Helen Gillespie
- Africa Partnership Station Comes to E Africa
- Building the Rule of Law in Afghanistan
- Sons of Iraq and the Iraqi Budget
- Air Force Combat Camera – Focus on the Fight
- Afghan Update for July 22, 2009
- The Army Goal: 1.5 Gigawatts of Renewable Energy
- Withdrawing from Iraq – some perspective
- Iraqi security update April 22 2010
- 2012 Federal Budget for Defense
- Pacific Command and the Pacific
- Air Force high flyers mark 100th anniversary