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Monthly Archives: October 2013

FEMA Releases the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Intelligence/Investigations Function Guidance and Field Operations Guide

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Federal Emergency Management Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The NIMS Intelligence/Investigations Function Guidance and Field Operations Guide provides guidance on utilizing and integrating the Intelligence/Investigations Function while adhering to the concepts and principles of the NIMS doctrine. The document includes information and tools intended for the Incident Command System practitioner that will assist in the decision-making process regarding the placement and implementation of the Intelligence/Investigations Function within the command structure. This document can be used by jurisdictions and agencies for planned events, incidents, and the development of emergency planning efforts. This guidance does not replace emergency operations plans, laws, regulations, or ordinances.

 

The NIMS Intelligence/Investigations Function Guidance and Field Operations Guide has involved stakeholder input from 34 agencies across multiple communities of practice to include the three fields most affected by the implementation of the function: law enforcement, medical, and the fire service. The Intelligence/Investigations Function has aspects that cross disciplines, including traditional law enforcement, epidemiological investigations, regulatory investigations, and medical examiner/coroner investigations, as well as those conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board or other investigatory agencies.

 

The NIMS Intelligence/Investigations Function Guidance and Field Operations Guide can be found at the following website: http://www.fema.gov/related-guides-annexes-and-documents.

 

This guidance aligns with the NIMS to provide a common and standard understanding about the tools and resources needed to sustain, build, and deliver the core capabilities necessary to achieve a secure and resilient nation. For more information on the NIMS and its implementation, visit FEMA’s NIMS website.

 

Questions can be submitted to the National Integration Center through e-mail at: FEMA-NIMS@fema.dhs.gov or by telephone: (202) 646-3850.

 

This effort is part of the National Preparedness System, a process that organizes the tools and resources needed to promote unity of effort and achieve the National Preparedness Goal. For more information on national preparedness efforts, visit FEMA’s National Preparedness website.

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Special Ops Command Seeks Prototypes for ‘Iron Man Suit’

English: United States Special Operations Comm...

English: United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) emblem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2013 –
U.S. Special Operations Command wants its operators to be protected
with what it informally calls an “Iron Man suit,” named after the
fictional superhero.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
An
artist’s rendering of what the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit
might look like with its desired capabilities. Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency
courtesy graphic

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In September, Socom announced it is seeking proposals for prototypes of the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS.

The goal of TALOS is to
provide ballistic protection to Special Operations Forces, along with
fire-retardant capability, said Michel Fieldson, TALOS lead for Socom.

“We sometimes refer to it
as the ‘Iron Man’ suit, frankly, to attract the attention, imagination
and excitement of industry and academia,” Fieldson said. “We’re hoping
to take products we’re developing in several technology areas and
integrating them into a consolidated suit to provide more protection for
the [special operations forces].”

Other technologies include sensors, communications, energy and
material that can store and release energy to prevent injuries and
increase performance.

Materials that can store and release energy might be similar to the
Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, now used by some wounded warriors
for lower-leg injuries. So TALOS could benefit wounded warriors too,
Fieldson said.

The Homeland Security Department and firefighters have expressed an
interest in this technology as well, he said, and it eventually might
become available for other service members.

“Our goal right now is to try to get the word out and bring industry
partners together,” Fieldson said. The technologies that will go into
the suit’s development are varied, he said, so it is unlikely one
contractor would be able to specialize in the entire ensemble.

The traditional approach, Fieldson said, was to pick a prime
contractor, usually a traditional defense partner, give them the design
requirements and let them come up with the solution. That would take a
long time, he noted.

“In this case, the government will be the lead integrator, and we’ll
look to work with traditional or nontraditional partners in industry and
academia who are innovative,” he said. “We’ll leave no stone unturned.”

The goal, he said, is to begin integrating capabilities over the next
12 months and have the first suit ready for full field testing in four
to five years.

Fieldson thinks TALOS will become a reality because it protects the
warfighters and has the backing of Socom’s commander, Navy Adm. William
H. McRaven
.

“I’m very committed to this,” McRaven said to industry
representatives at a July 8 TALOS demonstration in Tampa, Fla. “I’d like
that last operator that we lost to be the last one we ever lose in this
fight or the fight of the future, and I think we can get there.

“I’m committed to this,” he
continued. “At the end of the day, I need you and industry to figure
out how you are going to partner with each other to do something that’s
right for America.”

Texas’ Largest Law Enforcement Organizations Form Powerful Alliance to Protect Working Officers and Their Families

Austin, Texas – In a Capitol of Texas news conference today, the leadership of Texas’ largest law enforcement labor organizations announced the formation of the Texas Law Enforcement Council (TLEC.)

The newly formed 501.c 4 corporation was established by the 19,000-plus member Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA), the 2,800-plus member Dallas Police Association (DPA), and the 5,300-plus member Houston Police Officers’ Union (HPOU). The purpose of the organization is to unite other law enforcement labor organizations on legislative, labor, and training issues that impact the lives of working law enforcement officers and their families. The Austin based organization will not charge dues nor will it have any administrative authority over any of the law enforcement organizations that choose to be part of TLEC.

HPOU president Ray Hunt stated, “During the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature, law enforcement labor groups worked together in a loose-knit coalition to protect our earned pension benefits, to improve professional standards and to seek passage of laws to protect officers and citizens. Our efforts to work together for the common interest of all law enforcement officers was very successful and we felt it was important to formalize a process that allows our respective organizations to achieve an even greater voice for Texas law enforcement officers through a collective and focused effort while, at the same time, not compromising our individual identities and missions in the process. As it relates to politics, all law enforcement organizations who participated in the formation of the Texas Law Enforcement Council clearly understand, regardless of elected officials’ party affiliation, our collective interests are only served by supporting elected officials who support the law enforcement profession.”

DPA president Ron Pinkston stated, “It is our goal to identify common interests and goals and work on them in the Texas Legislature or any other appropriate forum that may present itself. The attacks on law enforcement officers’ earned pensions and other rights and benefits is what drove our decision to form this organization. As Ray Hunt stated, “We have seen enemies of working law enforcement officers with R’s and D’s behind their names. Our desire is to have other interested local and state organizations join up with TLEC so that we can all work together on issues of mutual concern.”

TMPA president Josh Thurlkill stated, “In addition to the important points that Ray Hunt and Ron Pinkston made, another major component of TLEC is in the area of law enforcement labor education that will better prepare individual organizations for the battles they will face today and tomorrow. I am very pleased to announce that TLEC will hold its first annual law enforcement training seminar for invited organizations. The seminar, PREPARING YOUR ASSOCIATION TO SURVIVE IN THE NEW REALITY: EDUCATING ASSOCIATION LEADERS FOR THE CHALLENGES AHEAD will be held in Dallas, Texas on November 13 and 14, 2013.”

This inaugural event will provide supporters of TLEC a great opportunity to become better educated leaders and, therefore, help all of us in our collective efforts to support and defend working law enforcement officers and their families,” concluded Thurlkill.

Texas State Capitol, Austin TX

Texas State Capitol, Austin TX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pentagon Comptroller Details Recalls, ‘Painful’ Decision to Exclude Some Workers

Office of the Secretary of Defense Identificat...

Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2013 – The Defense Department‘s top financial official provided details on which DOD civilians would and wouldn’t be able to return from furlough following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel‘s determination some could return under the Pay Our Military Act.

Robert F. Hale, DOD comptroller and chief financial officer, first and foremost, emphasized that the defense secretary values all DOD employees and views their jobs as critical, even though some will be unable to return immediately, and described it as a “painful” decision.

“They do essential and important work, and I want to underscore that, but it is less directly related to military [support],” Hale said.

In a couple of cases, he noted, certain areas simply were not covered by POMA, which was signed into law on Sept. 30.

Hale said areas here included chief information officer functions, but not Internet protocol and cyber functions; legislative and public affairs functions, but not internal public affairs communications; deputy chief management office functions at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and component levels, and auditors and related functions.

This list also included, according to a Defense Department new release, work done in support of non-DOD activities and agencies except the Coast Guard, and civil works functions of the Department of the Army.

“Let me say again that those on this list that we’re not going to recall from furlough do critical functions,” Hale said. “What they do is important, but because of the letter of the law, and the advice from the Department of Justice, we had to identify those with less direct impact on military members.”

Hale explained how the Defense Department came to the determination they could bring some DOD civilians back.

“When we got POMA … we immediately began working with the Department of Justice on how to implement it,” he said. “The [Department of Justice] expressed the opinion that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all DOD civilians.”

The Department of Justice did say that we can undertake a careful review of civilians who support members of the armed forces and determine who to recall,” Hale added. “Needless to say, it has been a difficult process and time consuming one, but we now have … guidance, which the secretary issued in his determination today.”

Hale said under DOD’s current reading of the law, the standard for civilians who provide support to members of the armed forces requires that qualifying civilians focus on the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of military members that occurs during a lapse of appropriations.

With this in mind, he said, DOD established categories of civilians beginning with some excepted civilians who already are working to ensure military operations of safety, lives and property.”

“They’ll be working now, and under POMA, we can pay them in a timely manner their Oct. 11 pay will be on time and in full,” Hale stated.

The Pentagon comptroller highlighted two categories of DOD civilians that, under POMA, the Defense Department will recall, and he noted the act ensures the military will be paid on a timely basis “next payday, Oct. 15, and future ones.”

“We’ll recall a category of civilians who provide ongoing support to military members,” he said, such as health care activities and providers, sexual assault prevention and response providers, behavior health and suicide prevention, transition assistance programs for military members in active service, commissary and payroll operations and family support programs and activities, among others.

“We’ll also recall a second category of civilians whose work, if interrupted by the lapse for a substantial period, would cause future problems for military members,” Hale said.

Falling into this category, he said, are acquisition program oversight, contract logistics, financial management, intelligence functions and supply chain management.

Hale said it also appears an act approving retroactive pay will be approved soon, because while Senate approval is pending, “the House passed it 407-0 and the president has said he would sign it.”

“If this act is passed, everyone, even if they remain on furlough, will eventually be paid,” he said. “Those who remain on furlough will not be paid until we have an appropriation.”

Hale also offered a “final note of caution” stating DOD can recall “most of our civilians and provide pay and allowances,” but doesn’t have the authorities to enter into obligations for supplies, parts, fuels, and such unless they are for excepted activities tied to “safety to a military operation or safety of life and property.”

“So as our people come back to work, they’ll need to be careful that they do not order supplies [or] material for non-excepted activities,” he said.

Hale said the military services will be responsible for identifying those they will recall, and believes it will leave no more than “a few tens of thousands who will remain on furlough,” if not less than that.

“I hope we can get a substantial number back by Monday, we’ve got to give the services time enough to identify and notify those that will come back,” he said.

Unfortunately, Hale said, the law doesn’t cover other departments of government, only “DOD employees and those employees of the Department of Homeland Security that support the Coast Guard.”

“I think this underscores the point that although this is very important and we’re glad we’re getting most of our employees back, we haven’t solved all the problems associated with the lapse of appropriations by any means,” he said.

“And we still very much hope that Congress will act quickly to end this government shutdown and this lapse of appropriations,” Hale said.

Statement by Secretary Hagel on the Pay Our Military Act

Official seal of the United States Department ...

Official seal of the United States Department of Defense. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I am announcing that most DoD civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week.

Immediately after President Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, I directed DoD’s Acting General Counsel to determine whether we could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown. The Department of Defense consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians.  However, DoD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.

Consequently, I am now directing the Military Departments and other DoD components to move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories. I expect us to be able to significantly reduce – but not eliminate – civilian furloughs under this process.  Employees can expect to hear more information from their managers starting this weekend.

We have tried to exempt as many DoD civilian personnel as possible from furloughs. We will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible. Ultimately, the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a Department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government.

This has been a very disruptive year for our people – including active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel, and DoD civilians and contractors. Many important activities remain curtailed while the shutdown goes on.  Civilians under furlough face the uncertainty of not knowing when they will next receive a paycheck. I strongly support efforts in Congress to enact legislation to retroactively compensate all furloughed employees. And I will continue to urge Congress to fulfill its basic responsibilities to pass a budget and restore full funding for the Department of Defense and the rest of the government.

FEMA Urges Residents to Continue Monitoring Conditions as Tropical Storm Approaches Gulf Coast

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Federal Emergency Management Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heavy Rains and Flooding Possible in Some Areas

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through
its national response coordination center in Washington, D.C. and its
regional offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas remains in close
coordination with states potentially affected by Tropical Storm Karen.
According to the National Weather Service, tropical storm conditions are
expected along areas of the Gulf Coast as early as this afternoon and
into Sunday.

“Residents along the Gulf Coast are encouraged to continue to monitor
local conditions and follow the direction of local officials,” said
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  “As the storm continues to move toward
land, residents may begin to experience strong winds and flooding.
Remember that conditions can change with little or no notice.”

Based on applicable legal requirements and consistent with its
contingency plan, FEMA has recalled currently furloughed employees
necessary to serve functions of the agency that protect life and
property as they prepare for potential landfall of Tropical Storm Karen.

FEMA has recalled staff necessary to deploy four incident management
assistance teams (IMAT), including a national incident management
assistance team (IMAT), to potentially affected states. Each IMAT is
supported by its defense coordinating element staffed by the Department
of Defense.  Liaison officers are currently positioned in emergency
operations centers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi to
assist with the coordination of planning and response operations.
Additional teams are on standby and available for deployment as needed
and requested.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate spoke with Alabama Governor Robert
Bentley, Florida Governor Rick Scott, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal,
and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant this week about ongoing efforts to
prepare for Tropical Storm Karen. Fugate reiterated that Gulf Coast
states have the full support of FEMA and the rest of the federal family
in advance of the storm making landfall. Fugate’s calls were preceded by
outreach from FEMA’s Regional Administrators to emergency management
officials in potentially impacted states.

According to the National Weather Service, a tropical storm warning
remains in effect from Morgan City, La. to the mouth of the Pearl River.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected within 36 hours.  Also, a tropical storm watch remains in
effect for metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain
and from east of the mouth of the Pearl River to Indian Pass, Fla. A
tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible,
generally within 48 hours.

Severe Weather Safety and Preparedness Tips for Potentially-affected Gulf Coast areas:

  • Have important supplies ready to sustain you and your family, if
    needed. This includes water, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra
    batteries, cell phone charger, medicines, non-perishable food, and
    first aid supplies.
  • History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly,
    so FEMA encourages coastal residents to monitor weather conditions and
    take steps now to get prepared for potential severe tropical weather.
  • Tropical storms can bring high winds and heavy rains, so listen to local officials and follow their instructions.

FEMA,
through its regional offices in Chicago, Ill and Kansas City, Mo., also
is monitoring the storms affecting and potentially affecting areas of
the Central U.S., including portions of Iowa and Nebraska, and has been
in touch with state and local officials. FEMA deployed a liaison to the
emergency operations center in Nebraska and activated an incident
management assistance team (IMAT), positioning the team for immediate
deployment should assistance be requested by the states affected.  FEMA
continues to stand ready to support the states, as requested.

For more information on preparing for hurricanes, severe weather and
other natural disasters, and what you can do to protect yourself and
your family, visit www.Ready.gov or www.listo.gov.
Information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and
after a disaster can also be found at m.fema.gov or by downloading the
FEMA app from your smartphone’s app store.

Follow FEMA online at blog.fema.gov, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does
not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Army Releases August 2013 Suicide Information

The army flag

The army flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Army released suicide data today for the month of August 2013. During August, among active-duty Soldiers, there were 12 potential suicides: Two have been confirmed as suicides and 10 remain under investigation. For July 2013, the Army reported 19 potential suicides among active-duty Soldiers: three have been confirmed as suicides and 16 are under investigation. For CY 2013, there have been 106 potential active-duty suicides: 51 have been confirmed as suicides and 55 remain under investigation. Updated active-duty suicide numbers for CY 2012: 185 (171 have been confirmed as suicides and 14 remain under investigation).

During August 2013, among reserve component Soldiers who were not on active duty, there were eight potential suicides (five Army National Guard and three Army Reserve): One has been confirmed as a suicide and seven remain under investigation. For July 2013, among that same group, the Army reported eight potential suicides; however, subsequent to the report, two more cases were added bringing July’s total to 10 (eight Army National Guard and two Army Reserve): Three have been confirmed as suicides and seven cases remain under investigation. For CY 2013, there have been 102 potential not on active duty suicides (66 Army National Guard and 36 Army Reserve): 70 have been confirmed as suicides and 32 remain under investigation. Updated not on active duty suicide numbers for CY 2012: 140 (93 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve): 138 have been confirmed as suicides and two remain under investigation.

Soldiers and Families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

The Military Crisis Line offers free and confidential support to Service members in crisis or anyone who knows a Service member who is. The service is staffed by caring, qualified responders from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), many who have served in the Military themselves. Support is offered through the crisis line, online chat, and text-messaging services for all Service members (Active, National Guard and Reserve) and Veterans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by visiting the Military Crisis Line website at http://www.militarycrisisline.net; Online Chat at: http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ChatTermsOfService.aspx; sending a text to: 838255 or calling toll free at: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1; in Europe Dial: 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118. Services are available even if members are not registered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or enrolled in VA health care.

The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at http://www.preventsuicide.army.mil.

Information about the Army’s Ready and Resilient campaign is located at http://www.army.mil/readyandresilient

Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in the revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r600_63.pdf and in Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/p600_24.pdf.

Suicide prevention training resources for Soldiers, leaders, Department of the Army Civilians, and Family members can be accessed at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/training_sub.asp?sub_cat=20 (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials).

Information about Military OneSource is located at http://www.militaryonesource.com or by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-9647 for those residing in the continental U.S. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource web site for dialing instructions for their specific location.

Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program (CSF2) is located at http://csf2.army.mil/.

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at Resources@DCoEOutreach.org and at www.dcoe.health.mil.

The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is http://www.afsp.org/, and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is found at http://www.sprc.org/index.asp.