tv National Guard Briefs on Tropical Storm Harvey Response CSPAN August 29, 2017 4:43pm-5:34pm EDT
would be available for folks from louisiana. we have much more capacity for that in central and north louisiana, in munro, for example. we are making sheltering available to louisiana citizens in trying to be good neighbors to texas and understanding we have this additional capacity. need, wely have the will make that available to the folks in texas. i want to thank you very much for being here. we anticipate having another unified command group meeting tomorrow at 11:00. it will be followed by another press conference. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> hearing from the governor of louisiana. andexas, the president first lady are visiting the emergency operations center in
austin, getting updates from state officials and touring the facility. planning on bringing that to you live, but we will have to show it recorded later in our schedule. earlier today we heard from officials at the pentagon regarding storm harvey relief efforts. here is a look at that briefing from the pentagon. with me today is general for the national guard bureau. he will be giving a brief update srl far as hurricane harvey response efforts from the and we will have questions and answers afterward. good morning, everybody. the director at the national guard bureau. i am responsible for coordinating response and recovery to all domestic events around the nation.
this louisiana and texas national guard come i would like to give you a brief update to their response to hurricane harvey. victims goes out to the in texas and louisiana. last 48rmath over the hours is that a great strain on families in texas, the individual citizens, and first responders. our thoughts and prayers have to with those that are victims of this incident in the state of texas. of those whoroud have responded up to this point. they have been working around in the state of texas to alleviate the pain and suffering that have been experienced by the citizens in houston and southwest texas. i would also like to emphasize up front as we talk about national guard response, the training and equipment the national guard receives for federal mission to fight the
nation's wars also make it possible to be very good as we rapidly respond to states needs domestically. the federal training becomes extremely important to our ability to rapidly respond to some of the capabilities we bring in support of civil authority, that training allows us to apply those unique skill sets than capabilities, especially as you look at this in terms of rescue, ground rescue. it is extremely important recognize they have a dual purpose to fight the nation's wars, but respond on behalf of governor's domestically. the texas national guard has remained the same over the past 48 hours as they continue in the state of texas. sustainment, search and remain at the top of the list. property protection, we support not only security, but missions across the strait of -- the
state of texas. , we supportue down oflter operations in terms the recovery phase once a get out of the responsys. today,ly 3000 on duty growing to 4000 over the next 24 hours. the governor of texas has requested military police battalion, air national guard forces to assist local state and law enforcement. specifically in heavily flooded areas and the big metropolitan area around houston is where we think it will be required. secretary mattis approved the dual status. he is in state. the dual status in command in federald title x responses. we do have a unity command.
used over 500 vehicles including 200 high profile vehicles able to go to two and three feet of water. more than 200 are ready. we can posture additional high profile vehicles from surrounding states to come in at the request upon need. currently, 30 national guard helicopters supporting not only airborne search and rescue efforts, but also supporting medevac capacity where required. 24 more than requested by the state of texas through the emergency assistance will be en route today, and we could go up to 100 helicopters as required by the state of texas as we continue to respond to the flooding around the houston area. these include both air national guard and army national guard rotary wing assets. in terms of rescues -- i want to be careful when i talk numbers. these are very fluid.
there is a great deal of rescues occurring around by the minute. but those that the national guard is directly involved includes over 3500 personnel rescue. -- rescued. most of those you see have been by some type of boat, but also include almost 300 hoist rescues. they are technically difficult in terms of hoisting people up where they are unaccessible by any other method. almost 300 animal rescues have occurred. not only the humans associated, but the pets as we continue to alleviate the pain and suffering that the citizens of texas are experiencing right now. i don't want to leave louisiana out of the equation. as the storm moves across the gulf and potentially being made what is called a third landfall,
there are currently 400 airmen in active duty in louisiana. they are anticipating large flooding across the southwest portion of louisiana and -- louisiana. the governor has not requested a dual status commander, but the louisiana national guard has pre-identified a dual status commander if it looks like it will be required. we anticipate louisiana will also request dual status commander as texas has already done. i would like to emphasize before we go to questions, this will be a long-term effort. usually when the guard responds to hurricane-type events, normally we talk about the first 72 to 96 hours for life-saving and life sustainment. and then we are in recovery effort. due to the nature of this storm as it has dumped record levels of rainfall across southwest
texas, our response to this hurricane has been very different than we have looked at before. the planning associated with it had to be different because of the nature of it. as you look at historic levels of rainfall, up to 40 to 50 inches localized in areas, the sustained flooding over a period on multiple days or potentially weeks, as you talk response and recovery, our response is very sustained. it's become isolated and then they are in need of food, water, medical supplies or lift by boat or rotary wing back out of the area. the planning for this one has been different. normally, we plan response for the first 72 hours, 96 hours, the weather passes and we move into recovery mode. we will be doing lifesaving and life-sustaining efforts for a much longer period due to the nature of this storm. all of the associated command
and control structures as the department of defense looks at ramping up capability because the demand signal is not right there immediate and then draws off during the recovery phase, this will be a sustained demand signal for dod forces over time. so not only the national guard, but the title x forces under the dual status commander. this will be a unity of effort over a sustained period by the entire department of defense in support of civil authorities to ensure we continue to do all of those life-sustaining pieces, again, for periods of days if not weeks before we're into the recovery mode. the planning associated with that. we have sent a large team down to assist texas in terms of the national capabilities so texas is fully aware of what the defense has postured on all sides and the additional capabilities that come from surrounding states on the national guard side to be able to add to that.
just to give you a round figure of numbers, we're looking at posturing, just on the national guard side, an additional 20,000 to 30,000 additional soldiers and airmen, that if requested could be brought in and those , capabilities include engineering, high profile vehicles, additional rotary wing assets. but those will be to finish the response phase and start into the recovery phase. just like our first responders get tired and burned out, guardsmen will also get tired and burned out as we do this. this has to be a phased approach and texas is planning for that approach not only with our organic, national guard forces, but national guard forces that could be brought in from surrounding states through emergency contacts. i would like to emphasize our response has been different than anything we have experienced before. we expect it to be much longer in terms of the response phase than what we would normally see during a hurricane just due to the nature of the storm dumping
his store, if not record amounts of rainfall in southeast texas and southwest louisiana. with that, i will pause for questions. >> a question about the chain of command. you mentioned general hamilton. -- hamilton being the dual status commander for texas. he reports to the governor? you mentioned he would have command of federal forces, that is the right term, in addition to the national guard. are there already active duty federal forces participating? >> there are. i will start with the last and go forward into the dual status commander brief explanation. united states northern command has postured well over 1000 active personnel in support of it and their associated equipment. honestly, northern command focused on sar assets.
-- search and rescue, i am sorry. they are focused primarily on airborne search and rescue. northern command is focused primarily on airborne search and rescue over the past 48 to 70 -- due to the nature of the storm 72 hours. because the weather restricted helicopter use not only boats, , but high profile vehicles are used. that is where the northern command is in terms of it. let me talk about the dual status commander -- >> are they involved? gov. witham: some are just pre-positioned, but our federal forces involved in the response now. for dual status command, the dual status commander has responsibility to report through two channels. the dual status commander provides the unity of command and effort for the response and recovery for all dod forces in support of civil authorities. he then -- he or she then has the responsibility to report on
the federal side or title x side to u.s. northern command and on the national guard side, to the governor or the adjunct general, in this case, texas. there's a single dual status , as we lookr state to the response, coordinates the command and control of all dod forces in support of civil authorities. the dual status commander also has what we call a title x deputy. the dual status commander has an active duty soldier or airman that works directly for him or her that is also responsible primarily for the reporting on the federal side or the title x side of the house. yes, ma'am. >> could you go back over some of this? so does this dual status command that abbott and the secretary agreed to does this down solve you have all the
requests from the governor for federal title x military assistance that you need -- i understand it goes through fema and then farmed out to whoever. but do you still need something from governor abbott in order to do more title x assistance? or do you have everything -- when did governor abbott say, "i want title x help"? gov. witham: i will try to make this as simple as i possibly can. there's a joint field office combined with the federal coordinating officer who is the lead federal entity from the state coordinating officer who represents the state of texas, and then the defense coordinating officer. that trio essentially generates the demand signal. the demand usually comes from the state side. the state coordinating officer will look at shortfalls amongst the civilian capability to be able to respond to a disaster. once those shortfalls are identified, they normally look to dod for the response.
usually inside the state, they they look at their organic forces within the national guard first. once shortfalls further identified, the request for assistance then comes into the coordinating officer to the joint staff here in the pentagon for sourcing of not only active forces, but potentially army reserve or air force reserve forces. the entire weight of dod -- secretary mattis i think has been very clear that if it is required from the department of defense, it will be provided. the shorter answer to your question is, it depends on the governor and the state to ask for the assistance. so not only for national guard forces, but for title x or federal forces have to be identified, but normally there is some type of analysis done for where the civilian authorities no longer have the capacity for the response and recovery. >> right. i appreciate that. let's cut to the chase here.
are you getting timely requests from governor abbott? are you getting everything you need from the state in order to have a rapid, active-duty federal military response? is this going fast enough? you see people in the water now for days. gov. witham: absolutely. in many cases, -- >> is the governor giving you what you need? gov. witham: the governor asked for assistance. everything we believe, the analysis we have done, everything governor abbott has done in terms of asking for assistance, especially as you look at the weather impacts. when you look at search-and-rescue, we had a hard time putting up rotary wing assets in terms of the search-and-rescue. so whether a phased approach and then literally civilian authorities recognizing the magnitude of the event in texas and then asking for the assistance. >> has the magnitude been
guard reserve forces. >> i'm specifically referencing national guard. if there are shortfalls, they could be -- >> i wanted to ask that. he has identified he might need 20,000 and 30,000 national guard forces over time for response and recovery. what have you identified in terms of active duty u.s. military involvement? what do you think the top number may be on active duty involvement? >> u.s. northern command is looking at -- without going into details, their categories -- they put all of the forces that are readily available for the response and recovery and are prepared to deploy order. all of the category 2 and 3 forces in their planning effort have been put on a prepared to
deploy orders so they are ready to go. when texas asks for them, they would be included in the overall department of defense response -- >> [indiscernible] >> i don't know that number off the top of my head. i know they are postured to go to 2000 over the next 24 to 48 hours, and that is just personnel. they would obviously have associated equipment with that. >> thank you. >> can you break down where the funding for all of this is coming from? do you have any estimates on how much it has cost so far? >> i don't have an estimate on the cost so far. most of the response, national guard response to date, has been in a state active duty status. meaning the state bears the cost of the national guardsmen being called in to state active duty. so right now it is essentially a state bill. with the presidential declaration and the stafford act
with that, there will be a fema reimbursement to the state, the employment -- for the deployment of the national guard. normally, fema will reimburse at a minimum of 75%. >> no sense yet on how much it has cost, how much it is going to cost? >> no. we can do a rough accounting in terms of personnel. when you're talking pay an allowance, we can run those numbers relatively quickly. i don't have a rollup of that. the use of the equipment is also reimbursed. there's a reimbursement factor that goes with it as well. >> there have been reports about how crowded the airspace has become given all of the search-and-rescue aircraft currently there and many more that may come. can you talk about the effort underway to prevent that -- >> absolutely. there has been airspace control order, especially as the weather clears over the next 24 to 48
hours, potential for rotary wing rescue or some type of informational awareness-type platform, fixed wing platforms have sensors on them trying to do assessment of the damage or any other recovery efforts that need to take place. there is usually an airspace control order that we work through initially. but also the air force northern, headquartered at kendall air force base, especially in terms of the rescue coordination center and how we actually deconflict the airspace. we do not want -- we are to help the citizens of texas and potentially louisiana. we have to be able to break up the airspace so we're not actually deconflict -- whether it is by geography or altitude,
there's needs to be something in place. it will become more important as more helicopter assets come in to the joint operating area over the next couple of days. >> what about these of private drones, personally owned drones? >> on the behalf of dod, private drones, as were using military assets to respond and recovery as an asset, the potential for drone impact is a big deal. as much as possible, if we could keep civilian drones out of the crowded skies that are already crowded with the response and recovery efforts, that would be helpful. those present a hazard for our crews operating helicopters in the region. >> can you give us an idea of the scope of the area you're having to do search-and-rescue and how many homes you estimate still have residents that might need your assistance? >> i don't have an terms of square miles -- i don't have those numbers.
i am sure texas is looking at that, including the number of households. obviously, it is easy to look at the houston metropolitan area and talk about the 6 million people or so in that area. but there are many other areas impacted by the wind as the shore originally came ashore with a great deal of devastation, then flooding across southeast texas. and then flooding in south louisiana the next 48 hours. it is hundreds of thousands of homes. i just can't put a magnitude of the square mileage of that. >> can you give your name? >> "military times." to go back to the currently 1000 activated doing the sar mission, what other title x forces are on prepared to deploy status?
of the ones in this first wave, how many total do you think are active and participating now? >> i do know northern command has, through army north in san antonio, over 1000 personnel. that is all i have awareness of right now. i am just trying to help the national guard do their response side of it. under the dual status commander, there needs to be unity of effort and command so everything u.s. northern command has postured for this response will be given to the bill status commander for them to include in the overall effort. i hope that comes close to answering the question. i just don't have visibility on the total numbers of personnel and equipment that have either already been employed or are postured to be employed. obviously, the active component has a great deal of capacity at fort would. there are other dod
installations there. even our reserve partners have capabilities that could be used for response if the governor and general needed or the dual status commander. >> how does the active guard status now compared to the response to katrina? >> at the height of katrina, approximately 50,000 guardsmen and a little over 20,000 active component forces. i anticipate -- you hate to be predictive because this will depend on the magnitude of the storm. there will probably be a similar ratio. to make an assumption there will not be title x forces is an incorrect assumption. this is the entire department of defense, including non-federalized national guard and active forces required doubt the citizens of south texas and southwest louisiana. >> yesterday, the governor announced he was going to call up the entire texas national guard.
you were saying in calling up, what, 4000 -- >> 4000 in the next 24 hours. governor abbott, asouooat available -- by the way, the texas national guard is about 19,000 soldiers and airmen. governor abbott specifically wanted to ensure, obviously the department of defense is engaged around the globe in terms of current operations. that includes the texas national guard. those forces that are federally deployed or have just returned from employment or getting ready to deploy our unavailable but essentially the governor for response. those already deployed. if you look at those numbers, what governor abbott had available was approximately 12,000. that is the full weight that the general in texas has been authorized by the governor to bring on. due to the nature of the storm, especially as they phase in capability, that could build up to that 10,000 or 12,000 across
the next few days. forces already in the fight may need to be replaced so i can't say there will be sunday out there sunday or monday next week that there will be 10,000 texas guardsmen. some might already be replaced as they head into the recovery. does that help with the numbers? >> there's a lot of capability, for example, for building companies in the army reserve. can you call on those assets? >> well, it would be, basically, the state of texas would look at shortfalls. they put a request for assistance in, which would come into the joint staff in the pentagon. it would be validated. so as the request came in, as the department of defense sources capability to be able to respond, it could be army
reserve or air force reserve or active forces. the joint -- in fact, sometimes it is a misnomer. you can put guardsmen on title x in terms of domestic response. the department of defense or the joint staff also has the choice to pick guard units to put on title x to answer the request for assistance. normally, since the texas guard is the one responding in this case, normally, the department of defense is not going to pick a texas guard unit because they know they are being used in a non-federalized capacity. i hope that comes close to answering it. >> the 20,000 to 30,000 that may come from other states, what other states are you talking about? >> normally, those are surrounding states. some have already come from as far as new york and california. we specifically have trained air national guard rescue units with guardian angel. it is really a weapon system. when you combine them with the para rescue personnel and the airplanes, it is a specific
capability we knew we would need in this case due to the technical nature of the rescues. they're only resident in new york, california, and alaska. we use these seven teams to move thosehh60's into the operating areas because it is a capability that texas would specifically need because those para rescue men, we have the ability to provide additional life-saving or stabilization of patients as we do the movement -- which is a unique ability that resides in the department of defense. most do not have that type of capability. >> could i get clarification on the 300 helicopter rescues? are those all people? right after that you said 300 animals. >> normally, we would only hoist people. i don't want to exclude the ability to be able to to waste
pets them above my understanding at this point, those were all personnel hoist. the numbers are changing by the minute. and that is just the national guard. our partners at the coast guard, other dod entities -- so i'm only able to report the national guard piece. when you look at helicopter, rotary wing rescues, the number is much larger -- ok. >> i'm from fox news. has there been any request for naval aspects, comfort or mercy? >> we understand the cure size could be en route -- don't quote me. naval assets are being looked at postured. it would take days for some of those naval assets to be able to get there. i'm not an expert on naval assets.
the department of defense i think specifically is looking at posturing naval capability that could be used to alleviate the pain and suffering in southeast texas. >> what is the plan as we see the levees and dams break down?guard reserve forces. >> i'm specifically referencing national guard. if there are shortfalls, they could be --
through emergency assistance by the state of texas. that number will grow along with texas guardsmen. including federal forces too. will grow as more dod personnel as department full weight ofe effort to alleviate the pain and suffering. that's approximate number. that will change significantly hours.out the next 24 >> the reason you're getting so why questions from us about haven't extra military forces by the stateled in it seems like people lives are at risk because you're not
flooding the zone wall the sources.ity >> the same flooding that's these people and isolating them, also prevents assets from being moved in to support. due to the widespread flooding, many arterie arteries that impassable. militaryility for personnel to support the first responders. many cases first responders can't get there. is why we're so focused on search and rescue now. that includes coast guard assets and national guard assets. combination of weather up to this point. because of how long the storm stayed over that southeast area.
then the flooding. first responders but guard to get in. the state and mayor of houston as they start to look at and recovery,nse we are confident that more be requested. a as far as i'm aware to date, been given everything they've become asked for. guard fromr national federal forces. >> you're saying that even if he for federal forces, they zone to get into the help because -- the capability yes. that could be one of the hampering factors. it's not the sole thing. sometimes for the state to the state managers to understand the magnitude what
they're dealing with they don't know what to ask for yet. of militaryat a lot assets especially heavy weight we need thatts, sometimes 48 to 72 hours lead get itst to move it and there. rotary wings is different. of sure that the governor texas has done everything he can do to ensure that pain and suffering -- i can't speak on behalf the state. everything that has been asked for from the department of defense has been of texas.o the state >> 20,000 to 30,000 forces seem a huge scope. base on your analysis and state.vion from the
>> we are leaning as far forward ensure assets are the needs ofupport texas and potentially louisiana. >> are there any plans high end assets to help find people who are stranded in various places like jay stars? aware of any high end capability. there will be some assets. and some rotary wing asset. forifically configure information awareness and assessment. we address terms how it. i anticipate as weather clears hours, ar the next 24 great deal of those assets will be used in the fight. i'm not aware of any more thatical capabilities
would be applied to this problem. >> rc26's. that's national guard asset. normally that will be for medium altitude. rotary wing platforms can be used for information awareness assessment. confused.ittle i want to make sure i understand this. been 30,000 that have alerted. are an addition -- they're not guardsmen?he texas >> this is additional capability that the national guard is arthur -- posess durin
pasturing. theyey've been alerted but could be working? >> you talking specifically national guard? those units as he needs to phase them in the fight. in the think phased response. i don't think that you'll ever see 12,000 texas guardsmen or given one day. it could reach that 8000 to depending on the needs how they employ organic national the texas guard. >> i'm trying to understand why texas guardmen wouldn't be the 20 orfirst before 30,000 you guys are staging? >> they would be. in many cases. normally the preference is that governor abbott would love to respond with his own national guard forces. duration ofat the
the storm we trying to anticipate additional needs on behalf of texas. either his forces will be needyed or get tired and to replace them. missing all be capacity in the texas gore guart exist. >> you mentioned these garden angel units from california and new york. are there other parts of the military can do this operation stuff? >> absolutely. the component of the air force has the same capacity. both in the not only the guard but the air force and the air force. guardianlk hh60's with angel or rescue folks, and fact, that same capacity has been prepositioned for the moody air in terms being able
to popped. i'm not acquire if they've become deployed now. >> air guard have been called on? knowledge.y they remain pretty busy in the in in alaska doing rescues of their own. they're called on almost daily state of alaska. >> i know you didn't have at the head, which other states are involved. thewe take that for are record so we can find out how many states are involved? >> absolutely. afteryou have any tips 3500 rescues, should a citizen coming hour orin houston come under the need for whattance and rescue, should they do? what advice do you have? >> we always try to echo what civil authorities either in houston. we'll always echo their messages in terms of that. if you're going
to travel and you will travel through water turn around. not worth going through. the rescues it's good for the not the attic. we can see you when you're on the raff. there's potential to be trapped your attic. messaging the same thing civil authorities specifically in houston doing. call 911. we've been told that if you call 911, it may not be answered right away. on the line and eventually you.ll get to passed on to is the national guard and coast guard. mentioned that the guard
has rescued 3500 people. reported 3600 people. all together we looking at 7000 ed?cue >> we'll alert those units. we actually pluck people off rooftops in need. i have pretty high confidence in those numbers. when you talk about the number of people moved by boats, at best, department of defense, a number where -- i said, when you look at the especially population in houston,
metropolitan area, i'm not sure we can fathom the number of people. to actually use a number. i'm hesitant to do it. i can say that in the national guard, using assets that we have primarily boat assets, that's the number that we have been reported to by the state of texas. i'm just echoing a number that texas provided for us. when you look at the magnitude especially, the number of first responders with boats and the number of citizens helping citizens. i'm not sure we can count the number of what you would really call rescues. technical rescues those what we're doing. >> thank you for doing this. do you have confidence that the 20 to 30,000 troops postured in preposition will be called in by the state authorities in the near term?
>> i can't tell you that for sure. it's going to depend on the magnitude and how long the storm last. literally what the first responders in the state of texas needs. i can't predict to you -- even in the houston area, some of our first responders were victims themselves. as you look at additional capacity authorities within the houston area, i can't tell you how many of those first responders were unable to get to work because they were also victims. at what point department of defense comes in to help civilian authorities. these are capabilities that being postured in the event they are needed. we ma wanted to make sure there's no delay when governor ask for the capability that the national guard request provide those capabilities. i'm sure governor abbott and the general and john nichols, they're looking at the same thing for the organic forces.
ensure they are phased in. they're looking at not only the help and welfare of their own soldiers but at what won't do i need to look at a phase approach how i do the response. >> can you talk about the contribution, cajun navy houston resident providing local search and rescue? >> i can't. i'm sorry. i really can't talk to any of the effect of that. thank you all so much. i know that on behalf of general and texas national guard and louisiana national guard, we are very focused. this is our number one priority. not only for our staff here in the pentagon and washington, normally we are a strategic staff in support of our bosses and member of the joint chiefs. in this case, we become very operational in terms how we provide and plan to be able to support our states that are in
need. in this case it's texas and louisiana guard come in support their citizens. he want to ensure full weight of the national guard. i'm sure secretary mattis will do the same for department of defense. thank you all so much. >> here's a look at our schedule. 8:00 eastern on c-span, high discuss howers current events affect their lemps on history, politics and government. c-span 2 it's book tv with author who are currently on the summer reading list of members congress. on c-span 3 american history tv with lectures in history. focusing on religion and the
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