22 May 1998: Link to White House anti-terrorism initiative

22 May 1998

Date:         Fri, 22 May 1998 11:35:01 -0400
From: dlnews_sender@DTIC.MIL
Subject:      DoD News Releases

= N  E  W  S      R  E  L  E  A  S  E
= WASHINGTON, D.C. 20301

No. 254-98
May 22, 1998

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today announced the 
stationing plan for 10 recently announced rapid assessment 
elements using National Guard personnel.  The teams, expected 
to be activated Oct. 1, 1998, are part of Department of 
Defense's overall effort to support local, state and federal 
civil authorities in the event of an incident involving the 
use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on U.S. soil.

After careful and objective analysis, the following states 
have been selected to receive the teams:  California, Colorado, 
Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, 
Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.  From this point, the 
Department will work with each state in an effort to identify 
the specific communities in which the units will be placed.  
Under this pilot program, and based on future analysis, 
additional assessement elements may be added.

The selection of stationing sites was based on several criteria, 
including demographics, threat assessment, high value targets 
and the availability of National Guard military airlift.  Other 
factors included the location of existing military centers of 
excellence, proximity to Federal response assets, and the 
existence of interstate agreements that would permit the teams 
to respond to requests for assistance from adjoining states.

The teams, each located within one of the 10 Federal Emergency 
Management Agency regions, will be able to deploy rapidly, 
assist local first responders in determining the nature of an 
attack, provide medical and technical advice, and pave the way 
for the identification and arrival of follow-on federal response 
assets.  Each rapid assessment team will consist of 22 highly 
skilled, full-time members who will act as the tip of the national 
military support spear.

During Fiscal Year (FY) 1999, all ten assessment elements will be 
established in the first quarter, with an increment of six people.
A limited response capability will be available after FY1999, 
with fully developed mission-ready elements in place after FY2000.
The 10 regional teams form part of a larger initiative, first 
announced on March 17, 1998, to improve the nation's ability to 
respond  to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.  

In support of this mission, the National Guard and other Reserve 
components are being integrated into a national WMD preparedness 
strategy.  Complementing and supporting the 10 rapid assessment 
teams will be 64 decontamination and 28 reconnaissance units, 
drawn from the existing Reserve Component force structure, which 
will be provided with additional special training and equipment 
to enable them to perform a response and support mission.

Overseeing this process is the recently established Reserve 
Component Consequence Management Program Integration Office.  
The organization reports to the Director of Military Support and, 
through that general officer, to the Secretary of the Army, DoD's 
executive agent for domestic preparedness.

For more information, please contact Army Public Affairs, Public 
Communications Division at (703) 697-4314.