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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