Dual Commanders Named for Hurricane Irene Response

Image of Hurricane Irene from Saturday. Photo courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Hurricane Irene is the first natural disaster that the Department of Defense is implementing its “dual commander concept.” The idea is to ensure that state and federal military forces work effectively together to avoid duplication of effort, and provide the life-saving capabilities that governors request according to a DoD news release.

Others may be appointed in the coming days, but the initial list of dual-status commanders appointed by the state governors and the Department of Defense is:

Brig. Gen. James Trogden III, North Carolina Army National Guard;

Brig. Gen. Carolyn Protzmann, New Hampshire Air National Guard;

Brig. Gen. Michael Swezey, New York Army National Guard; and

Col. Donald Lagor, Rhode Island Air National Guard.

The dual-status commanders – with the agreement of the DoD and governors – can direct both federal active-duty forces and state National Guard forces in response to domestic incidents.

The dual-status commander concept was formulated in 2009. In March 2011, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the bipartisan 10-member Council of Governors adopted the “Joint Action Plan for Unity of Effort,” strengthening support to governors when they request military assistance for disaster response.

Panetta Puts Troops on Standby for Hurricane Irene

 

With about 101,000 National Guard members ready to assist eastern seaboard states in Hurricane Irene’s path, the National Guard Command Center in Arlington, Va., seen here Aug. 26, 2011, is monitoring the storm and National Guard support to civilian authorities around the clock. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has issued a prepare-to-deploy order for 6,500 active-duty service members from all of the services to support hurricane relief efforts if ordered, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Saturday.

On requests from states for the department to provide hurricane relief assistance, Little added, it has taken the secretary an average of five to seven minutes to approve them.

U.S. Northern Command is coordinating the Defense Department’s support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and to state and local hurricane response efforts along the East Coast.

Northcom is now supporting 16 FEMA-requested mission assignments, command officials said.

Over the past 24 hours, the command has designated Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia as a FEMA federal staging facility for support to hurricane disaster operations in Virginia.

You can read the full American Forces Press Service story by Cheryl Pellerin HERE.

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