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DSCA Workshop prepares Soldiers for emergency response situations

By Spc. Christopher Hernandez | 345th Public Affairs Detachment | April 6, 2017

April 5, 2017 — Approximately 100 Soldiers from active duty, National Guard, and the Reserve components participated in the 76th Operational Response Command’s Defense Support of Civil Authorities workshop held here April 1-2. Incorporating educational presentations with group-based scenario exercises, this event provides Soldiers with the means to combat disaster response incidents.
 
“From a National Guard standpoint, it’s extremely important for Reserve commanders to come to these events because it allows them to see what their capabilities and roles are,” said Maj. Jim Elliott, the Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Program Manager of the National Guard Bureau. “In addition to that, it actually allows them to meet their [National Guard] counterparts, have a better understanding of the Guard, and how we can work together.”

The primary objective of DSCA workshops is to familiarize Soldiers on how to productively dispatch their assets and personnel to augment disaster response operations in tandem with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army National Guard, and civilian entities such as law enforcement and firefighters.

“The range of our capability depends on the unit and law enforcement activity when authorized by [state] governors,” Elliott said.

While some may have never engaged in or even heard of DSCA operations, it’s not unfamiliar territory for others who attended the workshop. According to 1st Lt. Brandi Taylor-Cuevas, Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander of the 8th Medical Brigade out of Staten Island, N.Y., the DSCA training event is vital to her unit operations.

“We have a lot of missions that come down for the medical brigade,” Taylor-Cuevas said. “We respond to disasters to help civilians and we find a way to integrate both forces – civilian and military.

“So I’m learning how to best support my Soldiers as a commander, ensure that they have the training that they need, and to be mission-effective as well,” Taylor Cuevas added.

Besides the wealth of information that the workshop had dispensed in meticulous fashion, it also presented Soldiers the chance to interact and engage with others that come from an assortment of diverse branches and backgrounds.

“If you look at the audience, we have people from all different types of commands, from engineers, civil affairs, psychological operations, and logistics,” said Col. Paul Hettich, deputy commander of the 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Wichita, Kansas. “We bring together all of these people, these experts, to work together as we look forward to doing these practical exercises as well as the presentations.”

Furthermore, Soldiers attending the DSCA workshop immediately seized the opportunity to expand their professional network.

“One of the most beneficial things we’ve seen here this entire weekend is the conversations that occur during breaks,” Hettich said. “People are exchanging business cards and contact information.

“Perhaps in the future, our paths may cross again,” Hettich added.

Terry New, FEMA Region VI’s Civil Military Project Officer, plans on organizing future DSCA workshops for Soldiers whom desire enrollment. The next immediate event is slated for April 22-24 at the United States Army Reserve Center in Seagoville, Texas.
 
“I would like to thank Mr. Terry New for bringing me out here…to learn all of this information,” Taylor-Cuevas said. “Without his help, I wouldn’t be able to bring this back to my Soldiers and have them be effective. I appreciate all of the work he has done.”