SLOAN, Nev. –
More than 30 U.S. Army Reserve commanders, senior enlisted advisors and full-time staff members attended a three-day training event about the Defense Support of Civil Authorities process here May 18 to 22, 2022.
“Company, battalion and brigade command teams need to be trained on this, that way they can go back to their unit and train their people,” said Bryce Jones, DSCA lead trainer, emergency management specialist, 63rd Readiness Division. “That’s the target audience, those three levels. The commander, the senior enlisted leader and senior full-timer is the target audience within the unit.”
In the event of a widespread national incident, U.S. Army Reserve units can be called upon to assist in responses to natural and man-made disasters, law enforcement support, special events and other domestic activities.
This leadership training consisted of a DSCA overview, how to respond in accordance with the national response framework, the role of an emergency preparedness liaison officer, a DSCA case study, as well as briefings from the U.S. Army Reserve judge advocate general and public affairs offices.
“This is an area where I do truly believe we need to build a bench of knowledge,” said Maj. Gen. Darrell J. Guthrie, commanding general, 88th Readiness Division, who spoke to the group via MS Teams about the importance of the DSCA mission. “The one thing that you can’t discount is that these events can come out of nowhere and once they come, you have to have a basic understanding of systems and processes in place to be able to respond correctly.”
Many of the attendees at this training have some level of prior experience with a DSCA response, either in an Army Reserve capacity or through their civilian employment affiliation.
“In my civilian capacity I’m one of the emergency managers for the state of Texas,” said Col. Shaun Miller, consequence management unit, 76th Operational Response Command. “We’ve used the support of the military often, especially during the most recent pandemic. We use them a lot when those specific capabilities are not found unique to the local government. Whether it’s medics, or the ability move commodities or people in general out of harm’s way or moving things in to provide for those emergency essential needs.”
With an already built-in knowledge with some, Jones said he has four things he hopes everyone attending walks away with in their toolkit.
“The understanding of immediate response authority, the understanding of deliberate response, the difference between the two and what they’ve got to do at their unit to be ready,” Jones said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency divided the continental United States into 10 separate regions. The EPLOs and emergency management specialists are aligned with those regions to assist in a DSCA response. Units responding to disasters typically come from that region. However, because of the specialized nature of a response, U.S. Army Reserve support can come from anywhere across the United States, depending on the level of the response and the severity of the incident.
“One of the things that we do as Army Reserve Soldiers, and just Soldiers in general, is we find ourselves in a situation where we may be in need of helping our neighbors, the communities that we’re involved in,” said Miller.
Another takeaway from this training echoed by those attending was building a larger network should the need arise to assist in a DSCA response. “Relationships are the most valuable,” Jones said. “We’ve tried to do this over Teams and it’s possible, however, it’s painful.”
He said that MS Teams works as a resource for attendees to pull resources and information from after they have built the base of knowledge from attending this class as well as the five recommended pre-requisites.
“The great thing about this course is just networking and finding other folks with similar capabilities or maybe not similar capabilities and seeing how we can learn from each other,” Miller said. “And go forth and provide that level of care and comfort to those communities that are suffering during their darkest hours.”