USA — Guard Bolsters Homeland Response Capabilities

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 5, 2010 — The Nation­al Guard has added a home­land response force pack­age to its cur­rent chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal, radi­o­log­i­cal, nuclear and high-yield explo­sive response capa­bil­i­ties, which will help to pro­vide a more robust response to any home­land inci­dent, a Nation­al Guard Bureau offi­cial said today.

Alabama National Guardsmen and Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit
Alaba­ma Nation­al Guards­men and Marines from the 22nd Marine Expe­di­tionary Unit are decon­t­a­m­i­nat­ed dur­ing a joint train­ing exer­cise at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Sept. 3, 2010.
Bildquelle: U.S. Army pho­to by Spc. Matthew H. Oda
Click to enlarge

“This will allow us to save lives and mit­i­gate human suf­fer­ing as rapid­ly as pos­si­ble,” said Air Force Col. Tim Cath­cart, chief of the Nation­al Guard Bureau’s joint train­ing and edu­ca­tion divi­sion.

The Nation­al Guard’s cur­rent CBRNE enhanced response force pack­age mis­sion has 17 teams of 186 peo­ple each through­out the coun­try pro­vid­ing a quick-response capa­bil­i­ty for an inci­dent involv­ing weapons of mass destruc­tion, Cath­cart said. When acti­vat­ed, they ini­ti­ate search and extrac­tion from col­lapsed build­ings, con­duct vic­tim decon­t­a­m­i­na­tion, per­form med­ical triage and trans­port vic­tims to sta­bi­liza­tion facil­i­ties, where doc­tors will treat vic­tims before they are moved to a hos­pi­tal or des­ig­nat­ed med­ical facil­i­ty, he said.

The pur­pose of the home­land response force mis­sion is to cre­ate a big­ger force pro­vid­ing com­mand and con­trol of mul­ti­ple CERF­Ps, weapons-of-mass-destruc­tion civ­il sup­port teams and oth­er Guard assets dur­ing an inci­dent.

A HRF is built around a CERFP with some addi­tion­al forces, which makes the total num­ber of peo­ple acti­vat­ed for a mis­sion like this to 566,” Cath­cart said. “You take the orig­i­nal 186 from the CERFP mis­sion and add in force pro­tec­tion and a com­mand-and-con­trol capa­bil­i­ty, mak­ing sure every­one is inte­grat­ed, knows what the mis­sion is and main­tains sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness of the inci­dent.”

Ten HRFs, one in each Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency region, will stand up by Oct. 1, 2012.

The home­land response force mis­sion also has a joint focus, Cath­cart not­ed, which allows those involved to learn from each oth­er, work bet­ter, exer­cise bet­ter and feel more com­fort­able with the capa­bil­i­ties and assets, Cath­cart added.

Cath­cart said the Nation­al Guard Bureau works close­ly with its part­ners at U.S. North­ern Com­mand, U.S. Army North, the Joint Inter­a­gency Train­ing and Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter at Charleston, W.Va., and the Marine Corps.

This cre­ates an inte­grat­ed Depart­ment of Defense CBRNE response con­struct where we share train­ing and a sim­i­lar under­stand­ing of the task and con­di­tions that we are going to per­form and at the same stan­dards,” he said.

The goal is to allow both Nation­al Guard and active duty forces a faster response time over a wider area of cov­er­age, because every­one will be mov­ing at the same rate with the same plan, he said.

It will help mit­i­gate any redun­dan­cy or con­fu­sion dur­ing an actu­al response, allow­ing us to do a bet­ter job at work­ing togeth­er as a team, because we have been train­ing and plan­ning for oper­at­ing the same way we would be in that kind of envi­ron­ment,” Cath­cart explained. “It’s going to make things sim­pler for us to make sure we’re pro­vid­ing a bet­ter response to the nation because we’ve prac­ticed and trained to sim­i­lar stan­dards.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)