At the direction of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the Department of Defense is taking aggressive steps to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state authorities as Hurricane Sandy moves northward.
With the goal of helping to save lives and property during the storm, Panetta has agreed with the governors of Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to appoint dual status commanders as the storm approaches.
Dual status commanders are authorized to command both federal and state National Guard forces. This special authority enables them to effectively integrate the defense support operations and capabilities that governors request. The secretary is prepared to quickly agree to similar requests from other states.
At the federal level, the department’s disaster preparedness and response efforts support the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.
United States Northern Command is placing aviation assets such as light and medium lift helicopters and rescue teams on 24-hour prepare to deploy order status. USNORTHCOM is also providing military installations for FEMA to use to conduct response operations, and is providing specialized planners who will help expedite DOD’s response to requests for assistance.
The National Guard Bureau is in close coordination with adjutants general and their disaster response teams in every east coast state. These state National Guard organizations are coordinating with their respective state emergency management agencies and FEMA regions.