Defense Support of Civil Authorities Stressed at EPLO Workshop

Story Number: NNS160413-16Release Date: 4/13/2016 1:42:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Turretto, Navy Public Affairs Support Element

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Top planners from U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Pacific Command, all four branches of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Coast Guard held a workshop this week at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

Conversation throughout the workshop stressed how the components could better work together to provide Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) in response to natural disasters.

The mission of DSCA is to provide DoD assets to civil authorities in response to requests for assistance for domestic emergencies, law enforcement support, and other domestic activities, or from qualifying entities for special events.

"Partnerships are more important than ever," said Maj. Gen. Jack Briggs, director of operations U.S. Northern Command. "Theater security cooperation is not just with foreign governments, it's also with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies."

Subject-matter experts led discussions among the more than 500 workshop participants regarding best practices, how to identify areas of improvement, and stressed the importance of building relationships within the disaster relief community so that, when called upon, the Department of Defense can respond collectively and more efficiently to requests for DSCA.

"First we need to identify the 'as is' and then determine what the ideal 'to be' is," said Briggs. In his presentation, he offered some insight on his team's strategy to solve complex issues.

According to Briggs, the process involves: identifying the authority and corresponding responsibilities and capabilities, and then defining the command, control, and coordination of assets, and finally seeking guidance from a higher joint command authority.

"If there's a better 'to be' out there then we shouldn't be afraid of it," Briggs added.

The weeklong workshop focused on building relationships among the attendees and setting the stage to foster the opportunity to create a clear path to improved DSCA within the Department of Defense.

"The Department of Defense brings capabilities that no other federal agency has and it's important for us to be able to work together so that we can link capability to need," said Deanne Criswell, director of operational coordination at FEMA.

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