Defense Support to Civil Authorities Surveying Institutional Challenges   [open pdf - 597KB]

From the thesis abstract: "Since the attacks on 9/11 and the subsequent establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense (DoD) has struggled with its role in Defense Support to Civil Authorities. Although most disasters can be handled by first responders and mobilized state National Guard units, catastrophic regional disasters or terror attacks could quickly overwhelm those resources triggering a large-scale total force response from the DoD. The current framework, while adequate for the majority of the disasters that affect the nation, may prove itself insufficient for the day given the modern threat to the homeland. Institutional challenges prevent the rapid designation, preparation, and employment of military forces to support civil authorities when a national disaster occurs. These challenges are the consequence of both statutory provisions that restrict the development of an adequate command structure and operating requirements that prevent preparation for incident response from receiving adequate attention. Effective disaster response requires a collaborative effort across the interagency and between the Federal and State governments to anticipate and overcome challenges prior to an event. […] This monograph assesses the relevance of the statutes that define DoD's constraints for conducting operations in the homeland and the adequacy of the current framework to determine if the structure is sufficient for a rapid response to unexpected catastrophic disaster. Furthermore, the research examined the protocols that govern disaster response across the whole of government to determine exactly how the DoD in a supporting role, integrates itself within National Incident Management System. Finally, the research yields some recommendations for leveraging DoD capabilities within the current framework."

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