Department of Defense Support to a Catastrophic Event   [open pdf - 334KB]

This report discusses coordinating national response efforts in the occurrence of a catastrophic natural disaster. Depending on the magnitude of the disaster civil responders may not be sufficient, and the President would have to deploy military units. The report highlights the creation of "Joint Task Force Complex Catastrophe" to coordinate response efforts between civil authorities and deployed military forces should the scenario occur. From the Document: "The worst case scenario is an earthquake registering 8.5 or higher on the Richter scale. An earthquake of that magnitude would ravage most of the western coastline and inland states and will be recorded as the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States (U.S.). […] Emergency responders will encounter significant challenges with the lack of access to specific areas because of ruptured gas and pipelines, devastating fires, inoperable medical facilities, impassable bridges, highways and railroads and substantial damage to port facilities and airport runways. First line responders could be slow to respond and have limited or no access to communities that depend on highways for access. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that the initial responders would encounter an estimated 570 burning fires, 1.8 million homes without potable water and electricity and over 600,000 people are believed to be left homeless. […]The Department of Defense recognizes a gap within DOD response to civil authorities for an unprecedented natural disaster and is addressing this problem by creating the new terminology and assessing DOD policies, capabilities and resources to assist in response to a complex catastrophe."

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