WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., reacted Thursday to a new report by the Commission on National Guard and Reserves entitled, “Transforming the National Guard and Reserves into a 21st-Centry Operation Force.”
The report, requested by Congress, makes several homeland security recommendations, including that the Department of Defense (DoD) plan and train for a major role in responding to large-scale catastrophes in support of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It recommends that National Guard and Reserve forces take the lead in DoD operations during a homeland disaster and that rapid responders be properly manned, trained, and equipped at the highest level of readiness.
“The Commission’s work has already led to significant policy changes and legislation signed into law by the President just this week that required DHS and DoD to coordinate in identifying the capabilities needed to respond to disasters. These changes represent an improvement, but the job is not complete. We must do more to ensure that the two departments work together smoothly in planning for large-scale catastrophes.”
“As we found from our investigation of Hurricane Katrina, the National Guard’s coordination with DHS, the active duty military, and state officials is essential to saving lives and mitigating the damage of a catastrophe. A future disaster, whether natural or man-made, will require a faster and more integrated response, so planning and training together is essential. I applaud the Commissioners on their important work and I look forward to discussing their recommendations with them in hearings next month.”