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Homeland Security

American Forces Press Service

Panetta Appoints 'Dual' Commanders for Hurricane Relief

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has appointed “dual status” commanders – those authorized to command both federal and state National Guard forces – in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.

As federal and state officials prepare for Sandy to make landfall between the Delaware and New York coasts tomorrow, Panetta agreed with the governors of several northeast coastal states to appoint the commanders “with the goal of helping to save lives and property during the storm,” a Pentagon spokesman said in a press release issued yesterday.

“This special authority enables [the commanders] to effectively integrate the defense support operations and capabilities that governors request,” the official said. Panetta made the appointments at the request of the governors of Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, he said.

“The secretary is prepared to quickly agree to similar requests from other states,” he said.

The dual-status commander concept was created in 2009 and the first commander designees were appointed in August 2011 to prepare for Hurricane Irene, according to a Pentagon press release then.

DOD also is supporting Hurricane Sandy preparedness with its U.S. Northern Command, which has put aviation assets such as light- and medium-lift helicopters and rescue teams on 24-hour status to prepare to deploy in response to the storm, the release says. Northcom also is providing military installations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to use in its response operations, it says.

The National Guard Bureau is coordinating with the adjutants general and their disaster response teams in every East Coast state, the release says.

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