Military Prepares Food, Water For 2006 Hurricane Victims
Following an unprecedented domestic disaster relief effort in 2005, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) officials say their agency is ready to provide support during the 2006 hurricane season, which begins June 1.
DLA provides supply support, and technical and logistics services to the military services and to several civilian agencies. The agency is the one source for nearly every consumable item, whether for combat readiness, emergency preparedness, or day-to-day operations.
A recently completed agencywide review of DLA’s response to domestic disasters in 2005 was an opportunity for the headquarters and field activities staff to assess agency support, which cost the agency $476.6 million; evaluate actions necessary to improve that support; and be prepared for similar missions in 2006, officials said.
To ensure effective relief support during the upcoming hurricane season, DLA co-hosted a domestic disaster response logistics working group meeting earlier this month in Springfield, Virginia, along with several top-level Pentagon organizations–the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense; and the Joint Staff Logistics Directorate.
The working group participants included U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Transportation Command, the National Guard Bureau, Army Materiel Command and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The meeting focused on the synchronization of ongoing logistics preparation for domestic disasters.
“This was the second of several partnering efforts to ensure we are poised to provide support in the event of a domestic disaster,” said Col. Eric Smith, chief of the DLA Logistics Operations Center.
DLA’s preparations for 2006 disaster relief efforts included signing an interagency agreement with FEMA, resulting in sales of $67 million and allowing for advance coordination between the agencies.
The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, a DLA field activity, has worked out agreements with suppliers to provide commercial meals quickly in the event of a disaster. Commercial meals are better matched to the general population’s nutritional and caloric requirements than military rations are, officials said.
DLA is prepared to store and manage three million military ration meals purchased by FEMA to provide an interim feeding solution until alternative meals are delivered by commercial sources.
The Defense Distribution Center (DDC) has reviewed “first to go” stocks and is redistributing them to facilitate more rapid response to disaster sites. This effort is ongoing throughout April and is expected to be completed by May 1. This is being undertaken to complement FEMA’s Scaled Disaster Response Plan Requirement.
The Deployable Distribution Depot will be capable of providing distribution services for 200,000 persons per day. The initial operating capability will be able to receive, store, issue and maintain in-transit visibility and positive asset control of relief commodities. Currently, the DDC is assembling and training the work force to support these functions.
DDC will track all shipments during transit with Internet monitoring. This effort has been coordinated with FEMA, the U.S. Northern Command, and the U.S. Transportation Command. In addition, a color-coded placard system will be used on each shipment to enable quick visual identification of the types of commodity being shipped.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.