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    Domestic Operations: How we serve Texas



    Story by Master Sgt. Michael Leslie 

    Texas Military Department

    AUSTIN, TX – Since the early days of the National Guard, Army and Air Force service members have safeguarded the home front as a part of their primary mission. In Texas, the unique Domestic Operations command does just that.

    The Texas Domestic Operations Task Force is designed to quickly respond and partner with local civil authorities and Active component forces to provide expertise and capabilities they may not have or need more of to accomplish their goals of serving Texans in their times of need.

    “When authorized and at the request of the governor, we provide direction and oversight of all military forces throughout the state during defense support to civil authorities or civil support events,” said Lt. Col. David Burger, Domestic Operations Deputy Operations Officer. “This includes state active duty and federal forces within a dual-status command for immediate and long-term events.”

    The structure of the task force enables the state to quickly and efficiently leverage local and federal military resources to respond to any natural or man-made emergency, hazard or event which may occur.

    These capabilities were most recently notable during the Hurricane Harvey response in which Domestic Operations was the lead when the governor of Texas activated the entire Texas National and State Guard.

    Their coordination of personnel and logistics was critical along the Texas coast during flood rescues, medical support and humanitarian assistance.

    “The Domestic Operations Task Force was recently awarded the inaugural 2016 Department of Defense National Preparedness Award,” said Burger, “and the Texas Emergency Management Council 2017 Agency of the year due to our role in response to Hurricane Harvey.”

    The task force is also designed to support civil authorities in other events such as wild fires, border security and as a homeland response force for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region VI for a federal response and the Texas State Operations Center for state responses.

    “The FEMA Region VI Homeland Response Force can activate and deploy to conduct detection, search and extraction, decontamination, medical triage, security and mission command for any incident in the region,” said Burger.

    Although the Domestic Operations Task Force has officially been around since 2012, the Texas Military Department has always responded to natural and man-made disasters to include the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster recovery, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.

    To be ready to support these events, Texas service members must learn the principles of emergency management and their roles in their support.

    “We are governed by State Code 418,” said Burger, “the sourcing document for the state’s emergency management lead agency and work with coordinators to establish the domestic operations all hazards plan.”

    The Texas Division of Emergency Management has broken the state into seven coordination regions and 30 disaster districts in which TMD provides a military district coordinator liaison to represent the capabilities and planning guidance needed for support.

    TMD provides capabilities for 47 of the 69 specified tasks identified in the State Emergency Management plan. These capabilities are scaled into mission ready packages for specific requirements to enhance a lead agency’s mission to support fellow Texans.

    “The primary purpose of a MRP is to communicate TMD civil support capabilities across the full spectrum of emergency management agencies,” said Burger.

    Domestic operations planners have created a mission ready package catalog which will give details about each type of package from number of personnel to types and sizes of vehicles, and defines operational limitations to choose the best support for the requested requirement.

    Once a request is initiated, the Domestic Operations Task Force begins the planning, deployment, tracking and command of activated forces for responses.

    “Requests for assistance are generated at the lowest level, the first responders who communicate the deficiency to the disaster district to the State Operations Center to coordinate with us to assign mission tailored packages to enhance lead agency capabilities,” said Burger.

    Preparation for responses starts with a plan which includes the most likely and most dangerous events that will impact the citizens of Texas. Training is tailored to those types of events.

    “We conduct preparation activities to invest in our human capital to include training, validating staff members and certification by lead agencies we would support,” said Burger.

    This preparation allows the TMD and the Domestic Operations Task Force to support the citizens of Texas through various missions with multiple capabilities.

    “As a learning organization, we analyze lessons learned after every event and add or modify packages based on the needs of the state and out interagency partners,” said Burger. “Every state is different in their organization, this is how we have decided it is best to support the governor and the needs of the citizens of Texas.”

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    Date Taken: 02.01.2018
    Date Posted: 02.05.2018 11:41
    Story ID: 264340
    Location: AUSTIN, TX, US 
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    Domestic Operations: How we serve Texas