U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has introduced legislation that permits the National Guard and federal agencies performing homeland defense activities to directly contract with the Wisconsin REACT Center at Volk Field for training purposes, increasing training capacity and capabilities at the center and creating local jobs.
"Providing our National Guard units and public service employees with increased opportunities to train at the Wisconsin REACT Center is just plain commonsense," said Rep. Kind. "It's a win for the military and service personnel who will be better prepared to safely work in the field and a win for the community, who will see local job creation."
Four facilities across the country, including the Wisconsin REACT Center, currently provide emergency management and disaster training to both civilian and military personal, including National Guard. But current legislation limits the breadth of training the Wisconsin REACT Center can provide by limiting who they can contract with. Under Rep. Kind's bill, H.R. 5620, any military or federal organization training for homeland defense activities will be able to directly contract with the Wisconsin REACT Center for this training.
Upon being able to train more agencies, including the National Guard, the Wisconsin REACT Center will be able to further expand the training program, creating seven full-time positions and increasing the part-time instructional staff from the current 24 positions to approximately 70 positions.
"With this bill, The REACT Center will be able to fully support the National Guard in its rapidly evolving mission as a critical response partner in domestic emergency operations," said Brian Satula, Administrator of Wisconsin Emergency Management. "The REACT Center teams the nation's civilian responders with our National Guard, ultimately preparing both to respond to incidents of national importance as one."
REACT has one Wisconsin location near Volk Field that includes both state of the art classroom facilities for 100 persons with distance learning capability and a 15 acre training ground. The outdoor training ground is equipped with structures to provide realistic response to collapsed lightweight and heavy construction for manmade and natural disaster response.