NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 11, 2006)
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Mr. JINDAL. Mr. Chairman, I, too, want to thank Chairman Hunter, the staff and members of the committee for their very good work on this bill.
I rise to offer an amendment. The National Guard and active duty military troops and assets deployed since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita constituted one of the Nation's largest domestic deployments of military assets since the Civil War. The National Guard and active duty military response saved lives, provided urgent food, water, shelter and medical care to many hurricane victims.
The deployment of National Guard forces before active duty troops is consistent with current U.S. Department of Defense strategy for homeland defense and civil support, which relies on the National Guard in the first instance for civil support.
However, in the wake of these particular hurricanes, Federal and State officials lacked coordination and consideration of requests for National Guard and active duty troop deployments. Local, State and Federal offices had differing perceptions of the number of Federal troops that would be arriving and the appropriate command structure for all troops, causing confusion and diverting attention from response activities.
This amendment requires the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security and State governments, to develop detailed operational plans regarding the use of Armed Forces to support activities of civil authorities in response to a catastrophic disaster.
The amendment works to significantly strengthen the response options to hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, pandemic, and other natural disasters.
My amendment is consistent with the findings and recommendations from both the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for Response to Hurricane Katrina and the report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and it builds upon provisions in the base bill, which require DOD to maintain real-time capability assessments of responsibilities under the National Response Plan.
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