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    Guard capabilities must be ‘ready at any minute’

    Guard capabilities must be 'ready at any minute'

    Photo By Johnathon Orrell | Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, the acting director of the Army National Guard,...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Orrell 

    National Guard Bureau

    WASHINGTON -- The goal for the National Guard’s homeland response during an incident is to be “ready any minute,” the acting director of the Army Guard said here at the 2010 Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting and exposition, Oct. 27.

    “The minutes that pass in between the call and the time of the response means lives, means property and can later lead to greater devastation,” said Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter. “We don’t get a chance to ready equipment; we don’t get the chance to train after we get the call.”

    “Our responsibility is to respond.”

    Data shows that 85 percent of the events that happen in this country are handled by local first responders, such as firefighters and policemen, he said. Another 11 percent are responded to at the state level by the National Guard.

    “This means that only four percent of the events that happen in this country are responded to by title 10 (active duty) personnel,” Carpenter said. “That’s pretty impressive.”

    For this reason, it is important that the Guard looks at what has been done since Sept. 11, 2001 to make this country safer.

    “After 9/11 and after Katrina, the American people aren’t going to settle for anything less,” he said.

    Carpenter led a panel discussion with several subject matter experts to discuss the capabilities and responsibilities of the Guard during a homeland incident.

    Army Lt. Col. Michael Dykes, the Ohio National Guard’s 52nd Civil Support Team commander, described the roles the CSTs play during a domestic response.

    “We are the first military responders to an incident,” he said. “We provide unique and enhanced capabilities to the incident commander.”

    Supporting civil authorities, providing hazard identification and assessing, advising, and assisting the on-scene incident commander is the primary mission of CSTs.

    The standard time for a response is 90 minutes or less, said Dykes, and they only have about 72 hours to work as the initial response team before having to be replaced by another CST.

    CSTs are trained by the National Incident Management System and Incident Command System, which is the same training as the on-scene incident commander.

    Dykes said this combination helps build relationships.

    Army Lt. Col. Rick Jimenez, the commander of the Washington National Guard’s chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive Enhanced Response Force, or CERFP, focused on the mission of his response package.

    “When we deploy, it is in support of the incident commander,” he said. “We’re not in charge of the incident response, but we will assist where it is necessary.”

    The CERFP teams are not the first responders for an incident, he said. They serve as a resource to the local authorities and assist them in whatever way they can.

    They provide mass casualty, mass decontamination, medical treatment and fatality recovery during an incident, Jimenez said.

    Upon notice of an incident, the CERFP has six hours to deploy, he said. Once they are on the ground, they can be set up in 90 minutes.

    For a typical incident, they can stay on-site for 48 to 72 hours, depending on the conditions, before they need to be relieved, Jimenez said.

    The Guard’s CERFP mission is in the process of adding a Homeland Response Force package, said Army Col. Hank Amato, the National Guard Bureau deputy domestic operations officer.

    “HRF is going to be the third tier in the Title 32 (state) response in support of civil authorities for any type of CBRNE attack,” he said.

    It was created by the latest the Quadrennial Defense Review that found CERFPS were the right second tier capability, Amato said.

    He added that the Guard needs to sustain 17 CERFPs, but also needed to add 10 HRFs to help cover all of the federal emergency management agency areas.

    “CERFPs are stationed around the populace; meaning each one of the 17 lays down on a larger percentage of the U.S. population,” Amato said. “That still left geographically … a lot of the nation uncovered.”

    That’s how the decision was made to create 10 HRFs, said Amato.

    HRFs will also be the focal point for regional planning. “They are going to be integrated into the FEMA plans for response capability in each of the regions,” he said.

    They will also provide an additional life saving capability above and beyond the CERFPS, said Amato.

    Finally, the Domestic All-Hazards Response Team, or DART, was detailed by Army Brig. Gen. Steven Wickstrom, the commander of the New York National Guard’s.42nd Infantry Division.

    The DART concept was created to help states assisting each other during a homeland response effort, he said.

    Its purpose is to identify and nominate units to the National Guard Bureau to augment the affected states, said Wickstorm.

    “We look at the affected units capabilities, identify their shortfalls and find a unit that could help fill those shortfalls,” he said.

    One example of the DART concept in action is the 2009 presidential inauguration, where more than 9,000 Guard troops responded and another 15,000 with CERFP and HRF capabilities were on call.

    “This was a great opportunity to exercise this concept,” Carpenter said. “We got real world experience to build off of.”



    Date Taken: 10.27.2010
    Date Posted: 10.28.2010 15:50
    Story ID: 59017
    Location: WASHINGTON, DC, US 

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