Does The U.S. Need A Unified Military Command To Respond To Disasters?

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The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

David Helvarg, New York Times: We Need a Unified Military Command for Disaster Response

The pandemic is only one of many potential disasters that will require unity of action among the armed services.

President Trump has finally called in the military in the nation’s war against the coronavirus. But precious time was lost in the weeks since he was warned about the dangers the virus poses. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Creating a disaster response command within the military would provide unity of action among the services to respond to emergencies like the present one; improve strategic planning for an array of other threats, including future pandemics and climate-linked natural disasters; and position resources we will need before we need them — like ventilators and hospital beds that health care providers are scrambling to secure.

It should be activated immediately as the Pentagon’s 12th unified combatant command.

We can no longer afford Pentagon sideshows, like the establishment of the Space Force as a sixth military branch or deployment of army troops to the Mexican border just before the 2018 congressional elections. The Trump administration is now following the lead of Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, who called for the Army Corps of Engineers to be mobilized to quickly build out additional hospital facilities and make use of mobile military field hospitals.

Major disaster declarations were in process on Sunday for New York, California and Washington. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been activated. We should also consider mobilizing the defense transportation system to shore up any temporary breakdown in our food or other essential supply chain operations.


WNU Editor: I thought the U.S. already had a unified command to respond to disasters via through NorthCom …. USNORTHCOM prepared for any disaster

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