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Handbook 11-07
December 2010

Foreword

Natural and man-made disasters in the United States cause pain and heartbreak to our fellow citizens. Picking up the pieces of shattered lives and homes is devastating, even to the stoutest among us. While the military cannot repair the emotional damage, it can mitigate the effects of tornados, earthquakes, floods, wildland fires, oil spills, and terrorist attacks.

U.S. military response in the homeland provides overwhelmed first responders with the help they need after a major incident. Our ability to act quickly and effectively in response to fast-moving, deadly situations offers tremendous support to our fellow citizens. Civilian officials also know this assistance is short term; local and state leaders bear the responsibility of restoring their communities and cannot become dependent on the resources of the military. The support offered by the National Guard, followed by active duty units, provides a cushion for civilian leaders.

You, the staff officer, will bear the responsibility of mobilizing a unit - on very short notice - into an area struck by disaster. You will have to work through the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of your unit into a larger command structure; link into an incident command system with marginal communications in an austere environment; and synchronize your operations with a plethora of nongovernmental and governmental organizations at the local, state, and federal levels. Then you will execute your missions according to the laws of our country while maintaining personnel and equipment accountability. Defense support to civil authorities is complex and impacted by myriad statutes, regulations, and presidential orders.

If it was easy, anyone could do it. This mission is yours. Once it is accomplished the military will exit the incident, leaving the on-scene experts to finish the job.

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