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.


 
 

 

News Briefs August 18, 2014

New U.S. strikes in Iraq include land-based bombers The latest round of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group includes the first reported use of land-based bombers in the military campaign. U.S. Central Command says a combination of bombers, fighter jets, attack planes and unmanned drones hit targets near Iraq’s largest dam...
 
 

Headlines August 18, 2014

News NATO would respond militarily to Crimea-style infiltration: general If Russia tries to infiltrate troops into a NATO country, even out of official military uniform as it did before it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea, NATO will respond militarily, the alliance’s top commander said in an interview published Aug. 17. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/17/us-ukraine-crisis-breedlove-i...
 
 

U.S. Navy to test, evaluate Lockheed Martin industrial exoskeletons

Lockheed Martin has received a contract through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences for the U.S. Navy to evaluate and test two FORTIS exoskeletons. This marks the first procurement of Lockheed Martin’s exoskeletons for industrial use. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The FORTIS exoskeleton is an unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton that increases an operator’s...
 

 

Orbital completes third cargo delivery mission to ISS

Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world’s leading space technology companies, announced Aug. 18 the successful completion of its third cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station in the past 10 months, including the initial demonstration flight completed in October 2013 and the first two operational missions under the company’s $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply...
 
 

Brown extends tax credit to Northrop Grumman

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that extends a $420 million state tax credit to aerospace giant Northrop Grumman after approving a similar deal for its competitor, Lockheed Martin. Brown’s office announced Aug. 15 that he signed SB718 by Sens. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and Sen. Stephen Knight, R-Palmdale. It expands an aerospace tax credit...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Sean Martin

Bomber crews showcase take-off talents

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_8qr7ojpWg&feature=player_embedded Air Force photograph by SSgt. Sean Martin A B-52H Stratofortress starts its engines during a Minimum Interval Takeoff on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Au...
 




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>