Department of Defense Disaster Response and Accountability.

Author:Woods, Jason M.
 
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During the 2017 hurricane season the United States and its territories were affected by three major hurricanes estimated to cause several hundred billion dollars of damage. All three--Harvey, Irma, and Maria, required substantial Department of Defense (DoD) response in order to provide much needed assistance to the states and Puerto Rico, all affected by these back-to-back-to-back storms.

I provided first hand support, estimating costs for potential and actual DoD assets used during those hurricanes. My cost estimate initiation was in support of hurricane Harvey operations. This was quickly reinforced as I supported Irma and Maria in quick order. 2018 again saw a requirement for DoD assistance during hurricanes Florence and Michael. The DoD is now well versed in disaster response, in part, due to its support during the last two hurricane seasons. DoD has refined its relationship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during multiple training events, as well as support provided during real world responses. This is the near fight during a Federal Emergency. Previously, DoD hadn't placed a great deal of emphasis on the cost analysis portion of the deployment, employment, and redeployment of its assets. However, with the increased emphasis on audit readiness, coupled with DoD leadership focus on securing reimbursement for costs incurred while supporting Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) missions, this was pushed to the forefront of the DoD and US Army North (ARNORTH) disaster response initiative.

Providing a cost estimate of DoD assets used to be a very time consuming and exhausting process. The single Army organization responsible for the initial cost estimates for all DoD assets potentially used in a DSCA operation is the ARNORTH G8. Personnel from this office deploy with the regional Defense Coordinating Officer/Element (DCO/E).

The DCO/E serves as FEMA's single point of contact for DoD support in a region. A resource manager (RM) from the ARNORTH G8 is an integral member of that DCE core team. The RM works closely with the DCO and his or her staff in creating cost estimates for the mission assignments (MAs) for which DoD provides support.

An MA details the capability needed to fulfill a requirement during a disaster response. It is the DCO/E's responsibility to aid in the development of the DoD response to the request. The initial cost on the MA is an estimate given to FEMA for the DoD assets used to fulfill the...

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