Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) partners and stakeholders gathered for a two-day open house at Naval Base San Diego, April 29-30.
The purpose of the DSCA open house is to enhance cooperation between the U.S. military and civilian emergency management authorities. DSCA support includes response to potential crises or natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes.
Approximately 200 representatives from the Army National Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Expeditionary Strike Group Three, U.S. Northern Command, Cal Fire, city and state planners from major California cities and state representatives from as far away as Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii attended the open house.
“Open house seminars like this allow for the start of a partnership and relationship between civil authorities and military,” said Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three. “We can introduce the civil authorities to what we have to offer so if they call on us when tragedy strikes we deliver need with speed to our fellow Americans and do so seamlessly.”
The event opened with senior leaders’ opening remarks and briefs.
“Disasters require team responses and we should all be ready for our nation,” said Rear Adm. John Jolliffe, deputy commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet.
During the event, participants boarded the amphibious ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) where they were formed into working groups and shown static displays and their capabilities. The displays included an MK 23 cargo truck, Logistics Vehicle System Replacement, which is an eight-wheel drive cargo truck, and a M149 series portable water tank and trailer.
“USS San Diego plays a major asset in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions abroad and overseas,” said Capt. John Menoni, commanding officer of San Diego. “The static displays show our capabilities for what is available close to home.”
“The working groups were then brought together at Silver Strand Beach, in Imperial Beach, Calif., for a demonstration of Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC), Landing Craft Units (LCU), Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) and other significant capabilities the Navy and Marine Corps can offer if we are needed”, said the U.S. Navy in its release.
“The Navy’s amphibious platforms unique capabilities, like ship to shore support from LCAC, LCU and INLS, demonstrate that the Navy and Marine Corps team are always ready when called upon to assist,” said Ponds. “DSCA allows us to demonstrate our unique capabilities and what we can offer if we are needed.”
Naval Air Station North Island hosted an MV-22 Osprey and CH-53E Super Stallion demonstration from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific displayed an SH-60 Seahawk litter hoist, along with medical, dental and shock trauma capabilities.
“We have to be able to move quickly,” said Gen. John A. Toolan, commanding officer of I MEF. “When you look at all the different disasters that could happen we feel pretty proficient when it comes to handling international and local disasters.”
The open house concluded with working groups that included aviation, surface and ground movement and engineering support.
“DSCA has the lead when it comes to major emergency events, but they know they can trust and rely on the Navy/Marine Corps team in a time of need,” said Ponds. “Ultimately this seminar is about the Marines and Sailors, so they can show their pride and professionalism and capabilities to DSCA agencies and create mutual understanding and unity of effort during a regional crisis.”
The event is part of a series held to foster relationships, improve communication and advance planning between key regional stakeholders for potential crisis or natural disasters. This was the first time the event was hosted in San Diego.
“This training is important in preparing for regional disasters that may arise and we can do our part,” said Ponds. “The Navy/Marine Corps team understands what the needs are, and we are able to provide them from a local and state level.”
Press Release, May 2, 2014; Image: US Navy