FORT EUSTIS, Va. –
FORT EUSTIS, Va. – Commanders and staff members representing Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS), the Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Response Force (DCRF), U.S. Army North, FEMA, the CBRN Response Enterprise, the 78th Training Division and the 84th Training Command gathered here March 6-8, 2018 to discuss and synchronize their roles as responders following a complex catastrophe – such as a nuclear detonation or biological attack – in the homeland.
The three-day event allowed JTF-CS and DCRF leadership to review how thousands of military service members would respond to a catastrophic disaster in the U.S., whether man-made or natural.
“This conference is critical for building relationships with the other commanders,” said Army Lt. Col. Michael Iannuccilli, commander, 68th Combat Service Support Battalion, and a member of Task Force Logistics. “It gives us an opportunity to work through concepts of operation and support, which in turn helps us provide the appropriate response to any situation and help the American people when they need it the most.”
The conference provided a forum for commanders of the new DCRF units to discuss plans to transport and employ their units during a response.
“The best part about these conferences is the ability to share knowledge and come to a common understanding through discussion,” said Maj. Gen. Richard Gallant, commander, JTF-CS.
The workshop discussions were guided by Gallant, who provided his commander’s intent to the commanders and military responders who will synchronize efforts for upcoming exercises.
“There is no other venue for us to come together and mission plan. Being able to engage face to face is important towards building critical relationships,” said Army Lt. Col. Jake Bustoz, senior medical operations officer, 44th Medical Brigade, a member of Task Force Medical. “The easier the different task forces can cooperate and work together, the better they can respond to a catastrophe.”
JTF-CS provides command and control of the DCRF, which has some 88 different military units located at more than 36 locations throughout the U.S. The DCRF provides a variety of life-saving and sustaining response capabilities focused around six core capabilities: mission command, identification and detection, search and extraction, decontamination, medical triage and stabilization, and medical evacuation.
“During response operations we will provide life-saving and life sustaining capabilities to the American people,” said Gallant. “We need to go through our processes and learn how to coordinate operations across this life saving force. Reinforcing our collaboration tools and learning these systems is a key asset in our mission.”
Although JTF-CS responds only at the order of the president or the Secretary of Defense, JTF-CS and the DCRF– which is broken down into four battalion task forces – must be prepared to transport personnel and equipment in a matter of hours to conduct life-saving and life-sustaining operations in support of a lead federal agency, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We need to ensure our subordinate forces understand that we are always in support of the lead federal agency,” said Gallant. “The better we understand this, the better we can accomplish what we need to do.”
JTF-CS anticipates, plans, and integrates U.S. Northern Command CBRN operations. JTF-CS provides command and control for designated DOD specialized response forces to assist local, state, federal and tribal partners in saving lives, preventing further injury, and providing critical support to enable community recovery.