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Catastrophic Disaster Response Staff Officer's Handbook

Handbook 06-08
May 2006

CALL Handbook No. 06-08: Catastrophic Disaster Response Staff Officer's Handbook Cover

Unit Planning Considerations

Appendix A

This appendix is provided as a checklist to assist planners in military assistance to civil authorities (MSCA) planning.

S1 (Personnel)

  • Deployment orders
  • Personnel accountability
  • Preparation for overseas movement (POM): Medical records, shot records, insurance documents, powers of attorney, wills, etc.
  • Funding. See below
  • Mail
  • Pay/Finance
  • Medical. See Appendix B
  • Dental
  • Mortuary affairs
  • Automation

S2 (Intelligence)

  • Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB)
  • Maps
  • Operations security (OPSEC). See Appendix J
  • Physical security
  • Arms room

S3 (Operations)

  • Define the command relationships. Whom do I report to upon arrival? Who do I work for?
  • Define the support relationships. Who do I support?
  • Military decision-making process (MDMP). Specified tasks; implied tasks; limitations; constraints; intent; purpose, methods, end state; course of action (COA). Be imaginative in applying MDMP doctrine to MSCA mission
  • Advance party. Include signal officer and internal logistics planner
  • Battle rhythm
  • Briefings/reports
  • Chain of command/command organization of supported incident command
  • Points of contact for subject matter experts
  • Packing lists
  • Transportation (tactical)/convoy operations.
  • Mission-related training/mission rehearsal exercise (MRX)
  • Weapons qualification
  • After action reviews (AAR). See Appendix M
  • Risk management. See Appendix N
  • Liaison officers (LNOs)
  • Airspace command and control (A2C2). See Appendix K
  • Internet/networking

S4 (Logistics) (Internal to the Supporting Unit)

  • Life support: Billeting, mess, rations, water, bath and laundry.
  • Transportation (Administration). See Chapter 2, “Coordinating Military Deployments on Roads and Highways: A Guide for State and Local Agencies,” dated May 2005, published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Department, accessed at on 3 January 2006.
  • Petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL)
  • Maintenance and recovery
  • Reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI)
  • Ammunition storage

Communications and Communications Security (COMSEC)

  • Coordinate with military (Air National Guard, Army national guard, coast guard, air force, navy, marines), local, state, regional, and Federal agencies
  • Initial communications capabilities should be self-sufficient and interoperable with both first responders and local authorities. Consider wireless capability initially. When primary signal element arrives, phase out wireless network. Replace wireless cards with local area network (LAN) cards or else all computers will not work.
  • Plan for all means of communications: telephone (cellular or land line), radio (in all band widths), Nonsecure Internet Protocol Network (NIPRNET), Secure Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNET), video, video-teleconferencing (VTC);
  • Do not send equipment without operators.
  • Do send qualified signal leaders to ensure operators and equipment are being used properly and profitably.
  • Be prepared to provide communications equipment (cell phones, radios, base sets, etc.) to first responders. Plan for a lowest common denominator communications to locals (i.e., hand-held radio, computer, etc.)
  • Plan for extended logistical support for equipment and personnel as well as unexpected requirements including generator support; maintenance of equipment; fuel requirements of vehicles, systems, and generators; and support for others' equipment (i.e. charging cell phones from your power source, charging satellite phones).
  • Know the power requirements for your equipment. Do you need to bring your own power generation?
  • Communications (voice, data, video) with various emergency operations centers (EOCs) including military (Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Coast Guard, Air force, Navy, Marines), local, state, regional, or federal
  • Communications structure must be able can grow to meet future needs. What can be established initially and expanded to handle a greater demand. Small deployable packages ahead of larger deployable command posts (DCPs) for immediate feedback of requirements.
  • Establish reachback capability
  • Conduct a synchronization meeting between Army National Guard and Air National Guard J6s at least 24 hours prior to event.
  • Realize that geography affects signal performance. A communication system that worked well at one location might not work in another.

Legal/Rules on Use of Force (RUF). See Appendix I


In most cases the support provided is on reimbursable basis. The defense coordinating officer (DCO) receives and validates a mission assignment (FEMA form 90-129). This form has a mission assignment number which should be listed on the tasking or execution orders. The mission assignment number is listed on request for reimbursement.

The mission is executed using the supporting unit’s operational funds. In order for the military to receive reimbursement the supporting unit must document the support provided in a memorandum to their higher headquarters.

Keep an accurate record of the mission. Items to note include:

  • Record of missions performed
  • Rosters of personnel involved
  • Travel and per diem (military and civil service)
  • Temporary personnel wages, travel, and per diem
  • Lodging cost
  • Transportation cost (car and bus rentals, chartered aircraft, fuel)
  • Contracting cost
  • Equipment provided or operated (estimated hourly cost for operation)
  • Material provided from regular stock. (all classes of supply)
  • Laundry expenses
  • Official or morale phone calls

Keep receipts and other supporting documents. Supporting documents include:

  • Unit orders
  • Temporary duty (TDY) orders
  • TDY payment vouchers
  • Vehicle dispatch logs
  • Fuel card receipts
  • Hand receipts
  • Request for supplies
  • Government credit card receipts
  • Copy of contracts


The Department of Defense (DOD) responds to disasters in order to perform emergency missions that the overwhelmed state and local governments temporarily cannot handle. As the emergency passes, state and local governments will once again be able to perform these response and recovery missions, and incident commanders begin demobilizing their commands. Recognize when the unit’s work is done. The final decision to conclude the DOD’s activities and presence in the area of operations is made by the federal coordinating officer (FCO) and the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF).

Dangers of staying too long

  • State and local governments will frequently expect DOD assistance much longer than it is actually needed.
  • State and local governments may become too dependent on DOD assistance, thus impeding long-term recovery.
  • If local businesses and contractors can perform the missions and tasks assigned to the DOD, the continued employment of the DOD may be unnecessary or illegal and may rouse resentment of local citizens who may feel deprived of employment opportunities.
  • The primary role of the DOD is to train, prepare for, and execute combat operations. Even a short absence from this focus on combat operations may degrade a unit’s preparedness.

End state and exit strategy tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP)

  • Be attentive to measures of performance, the conditions that the DOD must meet to declare mission success and the end state.
  • Make clear to state and local governments that the DOD presence will be limited.
  • Agree with state and local governments on acceptable end state, usually recognized as when state and local governments can re-establish normal operations.
  • Consider using commercial vendors or contractors.
  • The DOD must coordinate with Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and obtain the approval of the FCO before terminating disaster response operations.

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