Defense

August 14, 2012

Defense has vital role in catastrophe planning, official says

The Defense Department makes valuable contributions in U.S. disaster preparedness planning, a senior defense official said Aug. 25.

At a panel discussion sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, Paul N. Stockton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and Americas’ security, addressed the role the Pentagon plays in disaster planning and response.

Thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Stockton said, he got “a big wake-up call” during a 2011 national exercise that simulated the events surrounding a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which touches on the states of Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kentucky.

“That scenario would have produced destruction on a scale that would differ from Hurricane Katrina in two important dimensions,” he explained. “First of all, on a quantitative scale, we would have had many, many more casualties over a much wider geographic area.

“There’s a second dimension that I believe is even more important,” he continued. “A seismic event of that scale would produce a long-term loss of power – a loss of electric power for weeks to months over a multistate region.” Such a power loss would result in the cascading failure of critical infrastructure, he said.

Gas stations would be closed, Stockton said. Water would be in short supply, because electric pumps are needed to draw water from aquifers hundreds of feet underground, and urban wildfires would rage through cities, he added.

The Defense Department’s challenge is how to better position itself to support civil authorities during disaster response activities, Stockton said. Building resilience against cascading failures of critical infrastructure – even, as in the case of the electric grid, when it is owned by the private sector – is essential to mission assurance, he said.

“Our responsibility to the Department of Defense is to ensure that we can still execute the core missions of the department that the president assigns to us, even if critical infrastructure goes down,” Stockton said.

It’s not a question of if a complex catastrophe will strike, he said, but when.

“We need to continue to improve our … capacity to provide support to civil authorities when the call comes,” Stockton said.

To that end, Stockton pointed to a new complex catastrophe initiative signed by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta that would enable DOD to bring all of its capabilities, from all components, to bear in support of civil authorities. The initiative will make defense support of civil authorities faster and more effective in delivering life-saving and life-sustaining requirements, Stockton said.

In addition to the DOD initiative, a presidential policy directive required revision and addition of national response and recovery plans, Stockton said, noting that the initiatives are intended to streamline disaster planning and disaster recovery.

“It’s enormously helpful to us that the administration has led the integration of all of these lines of effort, including recovery, that we knew were important, [and] that we knew where DOD could make important contributions, but we lacked an overarching policy framework,” he said.

“It’s great when you’re in support to be given the framework within which you’re going to be able to operate and be able to serve,” he added, “and that’s what we have today.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>