Air Guard strengthens stance for homeland defense, civil support

National Guard Bureau
Story by Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Orrell

Date: 12.13.2010
Posted: 12.13.2010 08:33
News ID: 61871
Air Guard focuses on equipment for domestic operations

WASHINGTON – The 2010 Domestic Operations Equipment Requirements conference prompted the Air National Guard to position itself to provide an even stronger stance for homeland defense and civil support missions, the National Guard Bureau’s director of plans and requirements said recently.

“This is how we morphed from our ‘Essential 10’ things that every state needs to have to respond to a natural disaster, except we are now talking with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, using the same National Response Framework plan and the emergency support functions construct, putting everybody on the same page,” Air Force Col. Jon Mott said.

The finished product of the DOERs conference was the 2011 DOERs book, which is used to inform Air Force senior leadership what the ANG’s homeland defense and civil support requirements are, he said.

“This is a fiscally unconstrained look at whatever our requirements are,” Mott said. “It’s not an unfunded requirements request, it’s not a budget document … it documents what our requirements are from the field perspective.”

The DOERs process, including the annual conference and associated requirements book, is the cornerstone of a vision that will equip and posture the ANG as an unparalleled partner to civil agencies in times of domestic distress, Mott said.

This year’s second annual DOERs Conference hosted more than 460 military and civilian attendees representing all 54 states and territories and the District of Columbia, FEMA and the DHS, he said.

According to the DOERs book, the conference goal was to define and document ANG capability shortfalls for domestic operations.

ANG field experts identified critical capabilities by drawing on a vast pool of experience and an understanding of the domestic mission at the local, state and regional level, based specifically on the NRF eight-key scenario sets.

“This allows for an easier discussion of ANG capabilities and needs in the context of the [DHS]/FEMA construct,” Mott said.

“Posturing of National Guard resources across FEMA regions facilitates rapid access to critical consequence management capabilities, and fits perfectly with FEMA’s new ‘Whole of Nation’ framework for catastrophic planning and response.”

Within the book, a State/FEMA matrix identifies states and FEMA regions projected to receive critical capability resources and further distinguish how some capabilities are required in each state, while others are needed within each FEMA region, in support of a region-only or a national response.

The remaining sections of the book are the specific emergency support functions tabs that include information papers on each required capability classified as critical, meaning that they need to be in place in less than three years, he said.

“In the first-ever FEMA and National Emergency Management Association-hosted New Madrid Seismic Zone Resource Allocation Workshop in Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 30 thru Dec. 3 , the capability needs identified in the last two DOERs conferences are almost a mirror-image of what our state emergency management authorities are identifying as key shortfalls,” Mott said.

“The great news is that the DOERs process is producing … a validated capabilities process which supports our nation’s communities in times of greatest need,” he said.

“This allows for an easier discussion of ANG capabilities and needs in the context of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA construct.”

The DOERs book also speaks to how ongoing overseas commitments and expanding domestic responsibilities for the ANG, in conjunction with increased awareness from political leaders, make it essential to maintain focus on the strategy for the ANG’s support to civil authorities.

A Department of Defense directive makes significant provisions for increasing the influence of the National Guard in matters of support to civil authorities. The directive, together with the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act forms the foundation for a robust ANG strategy for the National Guard.

“While the 2009 Domestic Operations Equipment Requirements conference produced a book categorized under eight emergency support functions, the inclusion of incident awareness and assessment for the 2010 [DOERs] conference has expanded the list to 10,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, the director of the Air National Guard.

“Another conference improvement this year was the appointment of emergency support functions chairs and vice-chairs,” he said. “They provided an in-depth ANG enterprise-wide out-brief, identifying over 50 critical material capability gaps and over 40 critical non-material issues.

“Last year, this field driven process identified almost $600 million in equipment requirements of which we have already earmarked $30 million to support domestic operations.”

This year’s conference determined it will take about $672 million to respond to the homeland defense and civil support mission, Mott said.

“That amount is what the warfighters are telling us they need in response to either a manmade or natural disaster in our local communities, states or FEMA region,” he said.

Those funds will be gained through National Guard & Reserve Equipment Appropriations, which received a boost after the Air Guard realized it needed to replace and modernize equipment after Hurricane Katrina, Mott said.

“If you go back to pre-2006, the only thing NGREA was used for was … to keep modernized and relevant the entire major weapons systems in the Guard,” he said.

“After 2006, we had … emergency appropriations of $200 million to replace everything we needed,” he said. “After that, the National Defense Authorization act language changed so that we could use NGREA dollars.”

A total of $740 million in NGREA appropriations, including the initial $200 million plus an additional $540 million in the last five years, have been used for both modernization missions, homeland defense and civil support, forming improved capabilities for the warfight and disaster response, Mott said.

This year’s approach was to expand efforts in outlining the ANG strategy for domestic operations, widening the audience to include more joint participation and strengthening linkages to the civil support team using the emergency support functions framework, Wyatt said.

“The Air National Guard’s role in National Guard support to civil authorities is to save lives, prevent human suffering, and mitigate great property damage as a fully integrated member of the National Guard team,” he said.

“The effects of recent and recurring natural and manmade disasters have drawn new attention to the dual role of the Air National Guard in defending U.S. interests abroad and assuring the safety and security of the 54 states and territories and the District of Columbia.”

Wyatt stated in the book that this is an important document to the ANG’s homeland response mission.

“Our emergency support functions chairs and vice-chairs, and the Air National Guard functional area managers, have come together and taken passionate ownership of this field-driven process, producing a document that they all can truly be proud of,” he said.

“It has been said that being lucky is really where preparation meets opportunity and this … will provide the Air National Guard a proactive way to discover many opportunities to serve the citizens of this great country, through a deliberate and methodical approach to determine field-driven requirements,” Wyatt said.