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Homeland Security

Air Guard planners host first domestic ops conference

by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy
National Guard Bureau

9/22/2009 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air National Guard planners kicked off Sept. 22 with what they hope will become an annual conference for drafting a domestic operations strategy.

"We're leading the way to help build a formal document for the Air Force," said Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, the director of the Air National Guard.

The goal of the Domestic Operations Essential Requirements (DOERs) conference is to explore equipment and personnel needs for domestic operations, such as response to natural and manmade disasters and weapons of mass destruction incidents.

General Wyatt referenced a speech given by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz at the recent National Guard Association of the United States conference. He called for input from the Air National Guard to help shape the future of the Air Force's personnel and resource requirements.

"We will use your work here to push for modernization and equipment," General Wyatt said.

The Army National Guard has valuable experience in many of the areas covered at the conference, specifically the homeland defense mission, and Wyatt said he hopes to involve Army Guard leaders in future conferences.

"We hope to lead DOD as we consider opportunities with other components," General Wyatt said.

Many programs, including the civil support team mission, disaster preparedness and response and the new joint cargo aircraft mission, have blurred the lines between the Air and Army Guard.

Attendees also discussed the proportional distribution of assets and resources to the Air and Army Guard from the active components.

"(Our) guidance must be transparent," said Brig. Gen. Gary Magonigle, executive chairman for the ANG's Strategic Planning System and assistant adjutant general for the Washington Guard. "No backroom deals."

He added that guidance that came out of the 2008 Roadmap Guidance Summit, and which organizers hope will come out of the DOERs conference, is nothing without implementation.

"The states need to implement this guidance," General Magonigle said. "The process is guided by the results from this conference."

Several collaborative tools, including an online "future missions" database, are being made available to planners in an effort to gather input and help shape the Strategic Planning System.

"This program is field-driven," he said.

Maj. Gen. Donald Fick, the acting director of the Joint Staff at the National Guard Bureau, said the National Guard was, in the past, located at the "end of the food chain."

"But now we get to plan a program for homeland defense, which is our number one priority," he said.

General Fick said conferences like DOERs will formulate valuable plans for global force management and issues related to force employment.

"Right now, we're trying to respond to five different leaders," he said. "This conference is great, because we'll have a combination of what we feel we need to do and what others require us to do."

Christine Wormuth, DOD's principal deputy undersecretary for Homeland Defense, said one of the biggest challenges facing military leaders today is the shift away from the sanctuary of the homeland.

The "homeland sanctuary" theory assumes anything inside the borders of the United States is thought to be impervious to attack by adversaries.

She cited the recent arrest of individuals in Colorado and New York with ties to terrorist groups and alleged plans to use WMDs to launch attacks within the United States as a sign that the old ways of thinking must evolve.

"The fact that our homeland is no longer a sanctuary is significant," Mrs. Wormuth said.

Developing a holistic approach for homeland security involves state partners, nongovernment agencies and the National Guard.

"We cannot operate in departmental stovepipes anymore," she said. "The policy makers are now working together. This is a step in the right direction."

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