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    McKinley: Relationships vital to National Guard domestic operations

    McKinley: Relationships vital to National Guard domestic operations

    Photo By Johnathon Orrell | Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, speaks at the...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Orrell 

    National Guard Bureau

    NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.– The National Guard’s ability to respond to a domestic response depends largely on relationships established prior to an incident, the chief of the National Guard Bureau said today at the 2011 National Guard Bureau Domestic Operations Workshop here.

    “You establish these relationships in your hometowns, with the first responder communities, with your neighboring states, territories and the district … and with national level agencies,” said Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley.

    “It is critical to get to know people before you need to know them.

    “We’ve made strides and improvements in the past, only after great shocks to our system.”

    After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina, the National Guard took a look at its response capabilities, McKinley said.

    “In the future, we must use the proven methods of exercise and evaluation to strengthen our position, rather than remain in a reaction mode.

    “Preparing for a weapon of mass destruction is different that preparing for a hurricane. We must use the full power of our planning and preparation skills to be ready. “

    The National Guard must be as prepared for a domestic response as it is for an overseas war, he said.

    “This is what the American public expects and demands of its government.”

    McKinley also laid out the National Guard’s future plans for domestic operations.

    “In fiscal year 2011, I’ve promised, on behalf of the adjutants general, with their concurrence, to Secretary [William] Lynn, the deputy secretary of defense, that the National Guard will field two Homeland Response Force units,” he said.

    “We’ve chosen the states of Ohio and Washington as our first two state programs, to be followed by 10 more in the future, throughout the nation, to respond with the FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] regions.

    “I was briefed by my team last week, and this effort is on track. I’ve heard from the states involved, they’re confident and ready to perform.

    “This solidifies the structure that began with teams … such as our civil support teams, CERFP [chemical, biological, radiological/nuclear and high yield explosives response force package] and CCMRF [consequence management reaction force] teams.”

    He then committed the National Guard to participate in this year’s National Level Emergency exercise.

    “I’m going to pledge the full support of the National Guard to make sure that our efforts in support of NLE 11 are comprehensive and that it allows us and the leadership team here along with the [adjutants general] to make sure that our system … is fully ready to support our nation.”

    This exercise will focus on a New Madrid fault earthquake event and will involve eight states and multiple agencies.

    McKinley also laid out the National Guard’s future plans for joint domestic operations to provide flexibility and readiness.

    “In any domestic emergency, it will be incumbent upon all the Reserve components to participate in a seamless manner,” he said.

    “I’ve made it a priority … to reach out to the most senior levels within the Department of Defense and our interagency partners, to get the authorities and policy in place that allow all of our forces the operational flexibility to respond effectively.

    “A good example of this effort is happening at United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command under the very able leadership of [Navy] Admiral [James] ‘Sandy’ Winnefeld.

    “His pilot program for contingency dual-status commander puts emphasis on providing that operational flexibility.

    “By participating in this program, we unify the effort of the state and federal forces, under control of the governor, with strong support from our active duty partners.”

    The National Guard’s close work with the United States Coast Guard is another good example, he said.

    “We recently wrapped up our second Coast Guard and National Guard staff talks, [Coast Guard] Admiral Bob Papp and I see great benefits to getting our staffs together and working through the challenges we both face.

    “I’ve directed [memorandums of understanding] to be written to codify the agreements, and ask that we exercise and operate together as we move forward.”

    McKinley added that he will take up the challenge of meeting the American public’s expectations.

    “Make no mistake; the American public has an expectation of a coordinated and professional response to any and all domestic disasters. It is incumbent of all of us to rise above that challenge.”

    “I believe the status quo is not an option. We need to adapt and change the way we’re doing business now.”

    “I’m asking you now not to just take part in history, but rather, I’m asking you to write history.

    “Our ability to respond to the next event on American soil will be your legacy. I believe if we get it right, we have a chance, not just to make a difference, but to literally save the lives of our fellow Americans.”



    Date Taken: 01.18.2011
    Date Posted: 01.18.2011 17:57
    Story ID: 63761

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