NORTHCOM to Coordinate DoD Role in Homeland Defense

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On April 17, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced the formation of the Northern Command, or NorthCom, to assume responsibility for defense of the land, sea and air of the continental United States--the first time CONUS has been assigned to a unified combatant commander. NorthCom, which is slated to become operational in October 2002, will exercise command over all forces that operate within the United States in response to external threats and in support of civil authorities. The announcement marks only the beginning of DoD's efforts to organize itself for the mission of supporting homeland defense--a critical new mission for the department as identified in the Quadrennial Defense Review.

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Unified Command, as a part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), was successfully used in the state-federal response to the catastrophic disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi in 2005. Four elements to determine the members of a Unified Command include: authority, co-location, parity and common understanding. Modifications made to ICS in the Mississippi response include extending the unified com-mand concept down the chain to facilitate joint decision-making at all levels. Unresolved issues include the role of the Federal Coordinating Officer and Principal Federal Offi-cial, federal management of multi-state disasters, and the inclusion of components of the Department of Defense in a Unified Command.
Systems requirements: Adobe Acrobat Reader. Mode of access: Internet. Title from title screen; viewed on July 9, 2007. Thesis (M.S. in Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy)--Joint Forces Staff College, Joint Advanced Warfighting School, 2007. "05 April 2007." Includes bibliographical references (p. 71-76). Electronic version of original print document.
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