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Homeland Security

American Forces Press Service

Army Engineers ‘Forward Leaning’ in Response to Hurricane

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2012 – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ response to Hurricane Sandy has been aggressive, timely and very forward leaning in defining what support they can provide, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters, Little praised Army Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Army’s chief of engineers, and his engineers’ efforts supporting the 13 states impacted by the Category 1 hurricane.

“There are numerous Army Corps of Engineers officials fanned out throughout the affected areas to assess what kind of expertise we can lend to the states and [to] local governments to determine what we might be able to do,” Little said.

“The Corps has been very aggressive,” he said. “In fact, General Bostick, the head of the Army Corps of Engineers, is in New York today. I think he went to New Jersey last night.”

Little said the Corps is lending its expertise on the storm-stricken Eastern Seaboard to address power regeneration and other issues there.

“Power restoration is a top priority of this government with several million people left without power,” he said. “We also have a major water event -- to put it mildly.”

“The Army Corps of Engineers has a great deal of experience in what they call ‘unwatering’ [which] is pumping water out of tunnels, electrical substations and other locations that have been flooded,” Little said.

The press secretary emphasized the Defense Department is prepared to provide assistance for any requests received.

“General Bostick and the entire Army Corps of Engineers stand ready to support FEMA,” he said. “The Army Corps does, as I understand it, have resources such as generators and pumping equipment that can help.”

Little noted the latest information on the number of generators and equipment provided is not currently available due to ongoing operations.

“[Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta] has been very clear that whatever requests come in, in support of our disaster relief efforts, we’re going to be very forward leaning,” he said.

“There are generators that we have inside the Department of Defense, the Army Corps of Engineers, the services, and we can, perhaps, help source generators from private contractors as well,” Little said.

The Defense Department is doing whatever it can, he said, in as timely a manner as possible, not only to assess the situation, but to deliver resources.

Little also noted there is an interagency effort to assist with the response to Hurricane Sandy.

“We’re in support of FEMA and the states, and local governments also have certain resources,” he said. “FEMA has resources at its disposal as well, so this is not a DOD-only effort. I want to make that clear.

“But we’re going to do everything we can, working with our interagency partners and the federal government,” Little added, “as well as the states and localities, to provide whatever support we can.”

The press secretary said that while overall, DOD installations “weathered the storm fairly well,” there was some reported damage.

Little said Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., experienced downed trees and water leaks. There was minor flooding at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, he added, and Joint Base Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey experienced power outages.

“People are working very, very quickly to determine what the impact is to power grids, to transportation infrastructure and to other locations [that] have taken a hit from the storm,” Little said.

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