Hurricane Katrina: DOD Disaster Response

CRS Report for Congress
Hurricane Katrina: DOD Disaster Response
Updated January 24, 2006
Steve Bowman
Specialist in National Defense
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Lawrence Kapp
Specialist in National Defense
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Amy Belasco
Specialist in National Defense
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

Hurricane Katrina: DOD Disaster Response
The issue that has received the most attention in post-Katrina discussions is the
speed of rescue and relief operations. The Department of Defense’s (DOD’s)
Northern Command began its alert and coordination procedures before Katrina’s
landfall; however, many deployments did not reach the affected area until days later.
An examination of the timeline of DOD’s response and the decision points along that
timeline could provide insight into whether the response could have been accelerated
given the intensity of the storm and the extent of the destruction. Both the National
Response Plan and DOD’s own Homeland Security Doctrine lay out extensive
procedures and specific decision points in an attempt to ensure an organized response
to catastrophic incidents. It may now be necessary to examine those procedures and
the actions of responsible authorities to determine whether procedural obstacles,
administrative failures, or both delayed the arrival of needed resources in the affected
area. The traditional assumption that the Department of Defense is the resource only
of last resort may also require reexamination.
As with most natural disasters, the role of the National Guard is critical in the
maintenance of civil order, the provision of logistical support, and the coordination
of rescue and relief effort. The National Guard’s ability to respond through the
Emergency Management Assistance Compact may be proven to have been
exemplary, given the extent of regional destruction. Nevertheless, a number of issues
may attract attention. The fact that the National Guard may act under state control
or may be federalized and brought under command of active duty forces at the
President’s discretion creates a decision-point with political, cost, and
coordination/command implications. They present a core concern in the balance of
state and federal control in disaster situations.
Another issue that has attracted significant attention is the question of whether
the demands of overseas operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in any way affected the
quality of response of both active duty and National Guard forces. Both DOD and
the National Guard have denied any deleterious effect; however, there is some
evidence that equipment shortages among National Guard units and the non-
availability of some active duty units could be attributed to overseas deployment
activities. The National Guard’s equipment levels and deployment policies may be
of particular interest, given its dual responsibilities both domestically and overseas.
In examining its roles, missions, and capabilities, it is likely that the
controversies surrounding the federal response to Katrina will affect DOD’s
consideration of its responsibilities and its ability to execute them. Though Katrina
was a natural disaster, many of its effects could be encountered in an intentional
attack. Consequently, “lessons learned” from the Katrina experience may carry long-
term relevance for DOD’s civil support planning.
This report will be updated as events warrant.

In troduction ......................................................1
Organization of DOD Civil Support...................................1
Procedures for Obtaining DOD Civil Support............................3
Role of the National Guard..........................................6
State Active Duty..............................................7
“Title 32” Status...............................................8
Federal Status.................................................9
Activation Statuses: Advantages and Disadvantages..................11
DOD Katrina-Related Appropriations.................................13
Issues for Congress...............................................14
Timeline of Response.........................................14
Structural or Administrative Failures?.............................14
Federalization of the Evacuation/Command of the National Guard......15
Impact of Overseas Deployments on DOD’s Response................16
Impact of Katrina on the Quadrennial Defense Review...............16
List of Figures
Figure 1. Assistance Request Procedures...............................4
List of Tables
Table 1: Activated National Guard Personnel Serving in Louisiana
and Mississippi..............................................12

Hurricane Katrina: DOD Disaster Response
The issue that has received the most attention in post-Katrina discussions is the
speed of rescue and relief operations. The Department of Defense’s Northern
Command began its alert and coordination procedures before Katrina’s landfall,
however many deployments did not reach the affected area until days after. An
examination of the timeline of DOD’s response and the decision points along that
timeline could provide insight into whether the response could have been accelerated
given the intensity of the storm and the extent of the destruction. Both the National
Response Plan and DOD’s own Homeland Security Doctrine lay out extensive
procedures and specific decision points in an attempt to ensure an organized response
to catastrophic incidents. It may now be necessary to examine those procedures and
the actions of responsible authorities to determine whether procedural obstacles,
administrative failures, or both delayed the arrival of needed resources in the affected
area. The traditional assumption that the Department of Defense is the resource of
last resort may also require reexamination. This report examines the existing disaster
response procedures for the Department of Defense and how they were implemented,
the use of the National Guard and its relationship to active duty forces, funds
appropriated to date, and then discusses issues that may receive congressional
Organization of DOD Civil Support1
Reinforcing a long-standing tradition, Homeland Security Presidential
Directive-5 states:
The Secretary of Defense shall provide military support to civil authorities for
domestic incidents as directed by the President or when consistent with military
readiness and appropriate under the circumstances and the law. The Secretary of
Defense shall retain command of military forces providing civil support. The
Secretary of Defense and the Secretary [of Homeland Security] shall establish
appropriate relationships and mechanisms for cooperation and coordination
between their two departments.
In keeping with the National Response Plan (NRP) and the DOD Joint Doctrine
on Homeland Security, DOD civil support is normally provided only when local,
state, and other federal resources are “overwhelmed”; and it is requested by the Lead

1 Prepared by Steve Bowman, Specialist in National Defense; Foreign Affairs, Defense, and
Trade Division.

Federal Agency responding to an incident or natural disaster.2 This is a fundamental
principle of DOD’s approach to civil support: it is generally a resource of last resort.
The Secretary of Defense has the principal authority for DOD’s provision of
civil support. His office retains approval authority for all requests for assistance from
civilian agencies and retains control of all DOD assets provided. In practice, the
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Homeland Defense (ASD/HD) is
delegated supervisory responsibility of the civil support mission area and
coordination with the Department of Homeland Security.3 Within the DOD Joint
Staff, civil support responsibilities reside with the Joint Director of Military Support.
U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) has the operational responsibility for
civil support for most of the United States. It carries out civil support missions with
forces assigned as required from all the armed services, typically through the creation
of a joint task force.4 NORTHCOM has a permanently assigned Joint Interagency
Coordination Group comprising liaison officers from other DOD components and
other federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The official DOD term for civil support is Military Assistance to Civil
Authorities, which is divided into three types of assistance:5
!Military Support to Civil Authorities (MSCA) generally consists of
support during natural disasters, special security events (e.g., the
Olympics), and man-made incidents (terrorism, oil spills) which
have evoked a presidential or state emergency declaration.
!Military Support to Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies (MSCLEA)
consists of support provided to a Lead federal Agency (e.g., Federal
Bureau of Investigation, DHS) for activities such as counterterrorism
and counterdrug operations and may include provision of equipment,
training, or expert advice.
!Military Assistance for Civil Disturbances occurs when the President
employs the armed forces to suppress insurrections, riots, or to assist
the states in maintaining law and order. In these situations, the Lead
Federal Agency supported by DOD is the Department of Justice.
The Army Corps of Engineers, however, does not fall under the supervision of
the ASD/HD or the Northern Command, despite providing extensive civil support
from within DOD. It performs its emergency support activities primarily as an

2 National Response Plan, Department of Homeland Security, Dec. 2004, p. 42; Homeland
Security, Joint Publication 3-26, Department of Defense, Aug. 2, 2005, p. IV-1.
3 This is not the ASD/HD’s sole mission area. The ASD/HD is also responsible for the
Defense Critical Infrastructure Program, DOD domestic antiterrorism and force protection
programs, installation preparedness, and DOD continuity of government programs, among
4 Civil support for incidents in Hawaii and the Pacific territories is provided by U.S. Pacific
5 DOD Joint Homeland Security Doctrine, p. IV-4.

adjunct to its on-going mission of water navigation maintenance and flood control.
(See also CRS Report RS22238: New Orleans Levees and Floodwalls: Hurricane
Damage Protection, by Nicole T. Carter.)
Procedures for Obtaining DOD Civil Support6
With the exception of circumstances discussed below, unless there is a specific
direction from the President, requests for military assistance must originate from a
Lead Federal Agency, typically the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA), Department of Homeland Security. Requests are submitted to the Office
of the Secretary of Defense, where they are evaluated by the ASD/HD according to
the following criteria: legality, readiness, lethality, risk, cost, and appropriateness.7
This is to be done on an expedited basis and, once the Secretary of Defense approves
the requests, they are forwarded to the Joint Director of Military Support within the
Joint Staff, who in turn provides the appropriate orders to Northern Command. (See
Figure 1). A Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO) is designated and deployed to the
area of the incident. In the case of Katrina, because of the size of the response
required, a Joint Task Force (JTF-Katrina) was established with Lieutenant General
Russel Honore, the DCO, as task force commander. The DCO then serves as the
single point of contact for DOD resources for other government agencies operating
in the incident area, but does not, however, have operational control over the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers or National Guard personnel operating in State Active
Duty or Title 32 status (See, Role of the National Guard). The Corps of Engineers
performs its emergency support under independent flood control authority (P.L. 64-
99), but can and does assist both FEMA and JTF-Katrina under the National
Response Plan.8

6 Prepared by Steve Bowman, Specialist in National Defense; Foreign Affairs, Defense, and
Trade Division
7 Ibid. p. IV-12
8 For more information on Katrina-related Corps of Engineer activities, see CRS Report
RS22238, New Orleans Levees and Floodwalls: Hurricane Damage Protection.

Figure 1. Assistance Request Procedures

Source: Homeland Security, Joint Publication 3-26, August 2005, Department of Defense
Within the National Response Plan, there are provisions for a “proactive federal
response to catastrophic events.” These provisions are reserved for an event “that
almost immediately exceeds resources normally available to State and local
authorities.” These provisions are contained in the NRP’s Catastrophic Event Annex
and can be implemented only by the Secretary of Homeland Security or his designee.9
Such events are to be designated Incidents of National Significance. The NRP
specifies the following guiding principles for proactive federal response:
!The primary mission is to save lives; protect critical infrastructure,
property, and the environment; contain the event; and preserve
national security.
!Standard procedures regarding requests for assistance may be
expedited or, under extreme circumstances, suspended in the
immediate aftermath of an event of catastrophic magnitude.
9 National Response Plan, Dec. 2004, p. 43; Catastrophic Annex, p.1

!Identified Federal response resources will deploy and begin
necessary operations as required to commence life-safety activities.
!Notification and full coordination with States will occur, but the
coordination process must not delay or impede the rapid deployment
and use of critical resources. States are urged to notify and
coordinate with local governments regarding a proactive Federal
!State and local governments are encouraged to conduct collaborative
planning with the Federal Government as a part of “steady-state”
preparedness for catastrophic incidents.
Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff did not declare Hurricane Katrina an
Incident of National Significance until August 30, the evening after the hurricane
made landfall, making a proactive federal response under the NRP moot.
In addition to the NRP’s provisions for a proactive federal response, the DOD
Joint Homeland Security Doctrine also addresses instances when an “immediate
response” is required of military commanders.
Responses to requests from civil authorities prior to receiving authority from the
President or chain of command are made when immediate support is critical to
save lives, prevent human suffering, or mitigate great property damage. When
such conditions exist and time does not permit prior approval from higher
headquarters, commanders or officials acting under immediate response authority
may take necessary action to respond, but must advise the NMCC [National
Military Command Center] through command channels by the most expeditious10
means available and seek approval or additional authorizations.
In response to a FEMA request (based upon predictions of an unusually active
hurricane season) Secretary Rumsfeld issued an order on August 20 which authorized
NORTHCOM to deploy Defense Coordinating Elements (DCE) to FEMA’s East
Coast and Gulf Coast administrative regions upon receipt of a written request from
FEMA and the approval of the service secretaries affected.11 According to the
Secretary’s order, FEMA’s written request should specify the area affected, the
installations requested for use as relief staging areas, funds obligated for DOD
reimbursement, and the requested date and duration of deployment. Any FEMA
request that required more than DCE deployment and use of installations would also
have to be submitted to OSD and the Joint Staff for “processing, validation, and
subsequent action by the Secretary of Defense.”
DOD, through NORTHCOM, began planning and actually deploying ships and
personnel prior to receiving specific requests from the Department of Homeland
Security or its subordinate, FEMA. NORTHCOM’s first responses to Katrina’s
approach began the week prior to its August 29 landfall. On Wednesday, August 24,
NORTHCOM issued its first warning orders to Regional Emergency Preparedness

10 DOD Joint Homeland Security Doctrine, Aug. 2005, p. IV-3
11 Defense Coordinating Elements are small units that serve as liaison between civilian and
military authorities. “How the Pentagon Caught Katrina,” U.S. News and World Report,
Sept. 26, 2005, p. 2.

Officers, State Emergency Preparedness Officers, and the Senior Army Advisors
(Guard) in the states expected to be affected. The governors of Louisiana and
Mississippi declared states of emergency on August 26 and 27, respectively.
President Bush declared a state of emergency for Louisiana on August 27 and
NORTHCOM began to deploy the forward elements of what was to become Joint
Task Force-Katrina (JTF-Katrina). On Monday, August 29, after Katrina made
landfall, President Bush issued a federal declaration of catastrophic emergency, and
on Tuesday, August 30, JTF-Katrina was officially activated. That evening, in
response to levee breaches and consequent flooding in New Orleans, the DHS
Secretary declared Katrina an Incident of National Significance. By Wednesday,
August 31, DOD medical airlift operations from the affected area were underway,
and the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan arrived off New Orleans.12 On
Thursday, September 1, the 82nd Airborne Division and 1st Cavalry Division were
placed on alert. The 5,200 troops from these units began deploying on September 3
and arrived in the area on September 5. By September 6, a second amphibious
assault ship, the USS Iwo Jima and the aircraft carrier USS Truman had also arrived.
By September 7, DOD assets in the affected area included 42,990 National Guard
personnel, 17,417 active duty personnel, 20 U.S. ships, 360 helicopters, and 93 fixed
wing aircraft.13
Role of the National Guard14
The National Guard is descended from the colonial militias15 which existed prior
to the adoption of the Constitution. With the adoption of the Constitution, the federal
government acquired authority to organize, arm, and discipline the militia, and to call
the militia into federal service in order to execute the laws of the Union, to suppress16
insurrection, and to repel invasion. Additionally, federal laws passed in the early
20th century designated part of the militia as the National Guard and transformed it
into a federal reserve of the Army, enhancing federal authority over the Guard in

12 A Wasp class amphibious assault ship like the USS Bataan resembles a small-aircraft
carrier in appearance and typically embarks 2,000 U.S. Marines, a variety of transport
helicopters, and has a 600 patient medical capacity.
13 U.S. Northern Command Press Release, Sept. 7, 2005.
14 Prepared by Lawrence Kapp, Specialist in National Defense, Foreign Affairs, Defense,
and Trade Division
15 The colonial militia concept, which was derived from a longstanding English tradition and
which required every able bodied white male to participate in the common defense of his
town or locality, was the backbone of colonial military power. Gradually, as the colonial
population grew and military threats waned, a distinction arose between the unorganized
militia (those members of the militia who were potentially liable for military service but
who did not actively participate in military training) and the organized militia (those
members of the militia who regularly trained for war and who responded first to military
16 See U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 and 16, and Article II, Section 2,
clause 1.

certain respects.17 As a result of this history, the National Guard is neither a purely
state nor a purely federal organization. Rather, it is both a state and federal
State Active Duty
Normally, the National Guard operates under the control of state and territorial
governors.18 In response to disasters and civil disorders, governors can order
National Guard personnel to perform full-time duty, commonly referred to as “state
active duty.”19 In this state capacity, National Guard personnel operate under the
control of their governor, are paid according to state law, can perform typical disaster
relief tasks20 and are not subject to the restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act (that
is, they can perform law enforcement functions).21

17 The most significant pieces of legislation in this transformation were the Dick Act of
1903, and the National Defense Acts of 1916, 1920, and 1933. Later, with the advent of the
Air Force, the National Guard was organized into a land force (the Army National Guard
of the United States) that was a federal reserve of the Army and an air force (the Air
National Guard of the United States) that was federal reserve of the Air Force. They are
distinct from the Army Reserve and the Air Force Reserve, which are purely federal entities,
as are the Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve. The Navy,
Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have no National Guard components.
18 The National Guard of the United States is made up of 54 separate National Guard
organizations: one for each state, and one each for Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin
Islands, and the District of Columbia. While the District of Columbia National Guard is an
exclusively federal organization and operates under federal control at all times, the other 53
National Guards operate as state or territorial organizations most of the time. In this
capacity, each of these 53 organizations is identified by its state or territorial name (e.g. ,the
California National Guard or the Puerto Rico National Guard), and is controlled by its
respective governor.
19 Historically, this authority has been used most frequently in response to natural disasters
such as hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires, floods, etc. It has also been used to quell
domestic violence and to control or disperse crowds. Additionally, in the aftermath of the
September 11 terrorist attacks, a number of governors called up members of the National
Guard to protect critical infrastructure in their states, such as nuclear power plants, water
treatment facilities, and bridges, from potential terrorist attacks.
20 For example, search and rescue, clearing roads, delivering supplies, and providing medical
21 The Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. 1385), along with other related laws and
administrative provisions, prohibits the use of the military to execute civilian laws unless
expressly authorized by the Constitution or an act of Congress. Congress has made a
number of exceptions to the act which permit military involvement in law enforcement. For
example, Congress has enacted a number of statutes which authorize the President to use
military forces to suppress insurrections and domestic violence (10 U.S.C. 331-335). If
these statutes were to be invoked, the President could use active or reserve components to
put down a rebellion or to control domestic violence. Another important exception relates
to the Coast Guard, which Congress has vested with broad law enforcement authority.
Under these statutory provisions, the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve can participate
in the enforcement of maritime, customs, and certain other federal laws. For more

National Guard personnel called to assist with disaster relief operations for
Hurricane Katrina were originally called to duty in a state active duty status by their
respective governors. Interstate agreements allowed National Guard personnel from
states outside the hurricane affected area to deploy to Louisiana and Mississippi and
assist with disaster relief.22 By September 3, there were more out-of-state National
Guard personnel serving in Louisiana and Mississippi than there were from those
states’ own National Guards. (See Table 1 for a summary of National Guard force
levels in Louisiana and Mississippi). In the early days of the relief operation, these
out-of-state National Guard personnel remained on state active duty in their
respective home states after arriving in Louisiana and Mississippi and received the
pay and benefits provided by their home state’s laws, but were placed under the
operational control of the governors of Louisiana and Mississippi. Later, almost all
of them were converted to Title 32 status (see below) and were therefore authorized
federal pay and benefits.
“Title 32” Status
Another way in which National Guard personnel can be activated and remain
under the control of their governor is under the authority of 32 U.S.C. 502(f). This
provision of federal law provides that “a member of the National Guard
may...without his consent, but with the pay and allowances provided by
ordered to perform training or other duty in addition to [inactive duty for training or
annual training].” The advantage of using this authority is that the National Guard
personnel called will receive federal pay and benefits and are entitled to certain legal
protections23 as though they were in federal service, but they remain under the control
of their governor and are therefore not subject to the restrictions of the Posse
Comitatus Act. This is the provision of law which was used to provide federal pay
and benefits to the National Guard personnel who provided security at many of the
nation’s airports in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

21 (...continued)
information on the Posse Comitatus Act, see CRS Report RS20590, The Posse Comitatus
Act & Related Matters: A Sketch, by Jennifer Elsea, and CRS Report RS22266, The Use of
Federal Troops for Disaster Assistance: Some Legal Issues, by Jennifer K. Elsea.
22 The response from other states under such agreements has been unprecedented. National
Guard personnel from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the
U.S. Virgin Islands all joined in the relief effort. Some interstate agreements are negotiated
state to state; others occur under the umbrella of the Emergency Management Assistance
Compact (EMAC). For more information on EMAC, See CRS Report RS21227 Emergency
Management Assistance Compact, by Keith Bea. The EMAC website is
[ h t t p : / / www.emacweb.or g] .
23 Specifically, they are entitled to protection under the Uniformed Services Employment
and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), but are not always covered by the
Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA). SCRA does cover members of the National
Guard for “service under a call to active service authorized by the President or the Secretary
of Defense for a period of more than 30 consecutive days under Section 502(f) of Title 32,
United States Code, for purposes of responding to a national emergency declared by the
President and supported by Federal funds” (P.L. 108-189, Sec. 101(2)(A)(ii), codified at 50
U.S.C. App. 511). Those not covered by the SCRA may, however, receive civil liability
protection from state or territorial laws.

Shortly after Katrina, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Lieutenant
General Blum, reportedly asked the Secretary of Defense to approve the retroactive
transfer of all National Guard personnel participating in Katrina-related disaster relief
operations from state active duty to duty under Title 32. The purpose of this request
was to equalize pay and benefits for all National Guard personnel rather than having
their compensation based on disparate state and territorial laws. On September 7,
Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England signed a memorandum
approving the use of federal funds “for use of the National Guard in Title 32 U.S.
Code status to support Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts retroactive to August
29, 2005.”24 Shortly thereafter, the Army and Air National Guard issued
implementing instructions to convert National Guard personnel participating in the
Katrina relief operations from state active duty to Title 32 status. However, Iowa and
Delaware have reportedly opted not to convert their National Guard personnel to
Title 32 status given the more beneficial rate of compensation provided by state
law.25 National Guard personnel responding to Hurricane Rita were either already
in a Title 32 status, after having served in Louisiana in support of Hurricane Katrina
recovery efforts, or were directly ordered to duty in that status.26
Federal Status
National Guard personnel can also be activated in a purely federal status. For
example, the President can invoke the Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C. §§ 331-335),
which allows the President to call the militia (which includes the National Guard)27
into federal service for certain purposes, including the suppression of insurrection
against a state government, at the request of that government (10 U.S.C. § 331), the

24 Gordon England, Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense, “Memorandum for Secretary of
the Army, Acting Secretary of the Air Force; Subject: Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts,”
Sept. 7, 2005.
25 Joint Legislative Liaison, National Guard Bureau. Compensation under state law may be
more beneficial to some National Guard personnel than compensation under federal law.
For example, Delaware state law specifies that “while on State duty on account of an
emergency” specified in law, members of the Delaware National Guard shall receive “a sum
equal to twice the per diem pay and allowances that military personnel of like grade and
length of service in the United States Army would be entitled to receive for a similar period
of service.” (Delaware Code, Title 20, Section 181) Iowa state law specifies that “Officers
and enlisted persons while in state active duty shall receive the same pay, per diem, and
allowances as are paid for the same rank or grade for federal service. However, a person
shall not be paid at a base rate of pay of less than one hundred dollars per calendar day of
state active duty.” (2005 Iowa Code, 29A.27) This minimum rate effectively guarantees a
higher rate of pay to most enlisted personnel and some junior officers.
26 Joint Legislative Liaison, National Guard Bureau.
27 10 U.S.C. § 311 states “(a) the militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied
males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45
years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become citizens of the
United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National
Guard. (b) The classes of the militia are - (1) the organized militia, which consists of the
National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of
members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”

enforcement of federal laws and suppression of rebellion against the authority of the
United States (10 U.S.C. §332), and the prevention of interference with state and
federal laws, if that interference deprives a class of people of rights, privileges,
immunities, or protections named in the Constitution (10 U.S.C. § 333).28 Similar
authority is contained in 10 U.S.C. § 12406, which permits the President to call
members and units of the National Guard into federal service to repel invasion,
suppress rebellion, or execute the laws of the United States; orders for this latter type
of call up must be transmitted through the appropriate governor. In this federal
status, National Guard personnel operate under the control of the President, receive
federal pay and benefits, and can perform law enforcement duties.
The President may also order National Guard personnel to federal active duty
under several other provisions of law, including 10 U.S.C. 12301(a), 12301(b),
12301(d), 12302, and 12304. Under these authorities, National Guard personnel
operate under the control of the President, receive federal pay and benefits, and are
subject to the Posse Comitatus Act. However, it is unclear how useful these
authorities would be for responding to a disaster as they have traditionally been used
for national security or training purposes and have constraints which limit or prohibit
their use for disaster relief operations. For example, 10 U.S.C. 12301(a) can only be
used “in time of war or of national emergency declared by Congress or when
otherwise authorized by law.” Activations under 10 U.S.C. 12301(b) are limited to
15 days and, for National Guard personnel, require the consent of the affected
governor. 10 U.S.C. 12301(d) permits voluntary activation of National Guard
personnel, but not involuntary activation, and also requires the consent of the affected
governor. National Guard personnel may be involuntarily activated under 10 U.S.C.
12302, but only “in time of national emergency declared by the President...or when
otherwise authorized by law.”29 Finally, the President may call members of the
National Guard into federal service under 10 U.S.C. 12304 if he determines it
necessary “to augment active forces for any operational mission”; however the statute
prohibits the President from calling units or members to active duty to perform duties
related to repelling invasion, suppressing insurrection, enforcing laws or “providing
assistance to either the Federal Government or a State in time of a serious natural or

28 President George H. W. Bush invoked the Insurrection Act in 1989 in order to use
National Guard personnel to suppress violence in the Virgin Islands in the aftermath of
Hurricane Hugo (Executive Order 12690, September 20, 1989) and again in 1992 to
suppress rioting in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict (Executive Order 12804, May
1, 1992). According to one news account, current Administration officials considered
invoking the Insurrection Act and calling National Guard personnel into federal service in
response to Hurricane Katrina, but decided against it for several reasons. Eric Lipton, Eric
Schmitt and Thom Shanker, “Political Issues Snarled Plans for Troop Aid,” New York
Times, Sept. 9, 2005, p. 1.
29 For the purpose of responding to a catastrophic natural disaster, 10 U.S.C. 12302 would
probably be the authority that would be most useful for calling large numbers of National
Guard personnel and other reservists to federal active duty for an extended period of time,
although 10 U.S.C. 12301(b) and 12301(d) would likely be useful as well. Historically,
however, 10 U.S.C. 12302 has only been used for national security purposes and it could be
controversial to use this authority for disaster relief purposes. This is the authority currently
in use for mobilizing reservists in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom,
and Noble Eagle. It was also used during Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991).

manmade disaster, accident, or catastrophe.” The statute makes an exception to this
latter prohibition for certain emergencies related to terrorist attacks and weapons of
mass destruction.
Activation Statuses: Advantages and Disadvantages
Each of these activation authorities have advantages and disadvantages when
dealing with disasters. Under state active duty and Title 32 activations, governors
retain control over their National Guard personnel, which is consistent with
principles of federalism and the traditional role of state governors in responding to
disasters. Moreover, duty in these statuses poses no obstacle to the use of National
Guard personnel in a law enforcement capacity. However, in the case of catastrophic
events involving multiple jurisdictions and levels of government, state control of the
National Guard can potentially interfere with the effective coordination and
utilization of resources. Federalizing National Guard forces, on the other hand, could
increase the efficiency of a major disaster response effort; however, it would do so
by stripping state governors of one of their most valuable emergency response assets.
Additionally, calling National Guard personnel into federal service requires that the
President either invoke statutory exceptions to the Posse Comitatus Act such as the
Insurrection Act, which might be inflammatory, or that the National Guard personnel
refrain from acting in a law enforcement capacity.
In an effort to eliminate some of these trade-offs, Congress revised the statutes
governing National Guard officers called into federal service in the National Defense
Authorization Act for FY2004 (P.L. 108-106). Prior to this revision, all National
Guard personnel called to full-time duty in the active military service of the United
States were automatically relieved from duty in the National Guard of their state.
Section 516 provided an exception to this general rule for certain National Guard
officers called to active duty. As the conference report explained, the provision
...allow officers of the Army or Air National Guard, called to active duty for the
purpose of commanding a unit composed of both active duty and reserve
component personnel, to retain and exercise their Army or Air National Guard
state commissions if authorized by the President and the governor. Such National
Guard officers would have the authority to command subordinate active duty
personnel by virtue of their own active duty status and also retain the authority30
to command National Guard personnel in a nonfederal status.
In testimony before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism,
Unconventional Threats and Capabilities last March, Assistant Secretary of Defense
for Homeland Security Paul McHale described how this authority had been used:
But utilizing a recent statutory provision, beginning at the G-8 summit, but then
again at the Democratic convention, the Republican convention, and Operation
Winter Freeze along the Canadian border, a single National Guard officer — one
man — was given a dual-hatted command. He was placed in Title 32 status to

30 H.Rept. 108-354, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, Conference
Report to Accompany HR 1588, November 7, 2003, p. 688.

command the Title 32 forces. He was placed simultaneously in Title 10 status
under the command and control of the combatant commander so that unity of
effort could be achieved, even though we maintained the distinction in terms of31
unity of command.
According to one report, a variation of this model — with an active duty officer
being sworn into the Louisiana Guard, rather than a Louisiana National Guard officer
being called to active duty — was advanced by the Administration in its discussions
with the governor of Louisiana but she rejected it. “In a separate discussion last
weekend,” the article stated, “the governor also rejected a more modest proposal for
a hybrid command structure in which both the Guard and active-duty troops would
be under the command of an active-duty, three-star general — but only after he had32
been sworn into the Louisiana National Guard.” It is not yet clear whether the lack
of a unified command over both National Guard and DOD active duty personnel
affected Katrina-related military operations.
Table 1: Activated National Guard Personnel Serving in
Louisiana and Mississippi
DateNumber Serving in LouisianaNumber Serving in Mississippi
Louisiana NationalGua r d Mississippi NationalGua r d
National Personnel Total National Personnel Total
Guardfrom OtherGuardfrom Other
Personnel St at es Personnel States
Aug. 305,8041785,9823,822163,838
Aug. 315,8046636,4673,82211494,971
Sept. 15,8042,5558,3593,8232,8616,684
Sept. 26,7795,44512,2243,8233,7197,542
Sept. 36,77910,63517,4143,8236,31410,137
Sept. 46,77912,40419,1834,0179,39913,416
Sept. 56,77916,16222,9414,01710,99915,016
Sept. 66,77920,51027,2894,02311,09515,118
Sept. 76,77922,58929,3684,02311,38815,411
Sept. 86,77923,47630,2554,02311,50615,529
Source: Data extracted from slides to briefing entitled “Hurricane Katrina Update Brief 101000 Sept.
2005, National Guard Bureau. (Military date-time group cited in briefing title means 10:00 AM,
Sept. 10, 2005)

31 Paul McHale, Assistant Secretary, Homeland Defense, Department of Defense, Hearing
on Department of Defense Homeland Security Responsibilities before the House Armed
Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, March 15,


32 Eric Lipton, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, “Political Issues Snarled Plans for Troop
Aid,” New York Times, Sept. 9, 2005, p. 1.

DOD Katrina-Related Appropriations33
Between the two enacted supplementals, DOD has received $1.9 billion,
including $500 million in P.L. 109-61 and $1.4 billion in P.L. 109-62, to pay for
emergency evacuation of DOD personnel and repair at some 20 affected installations.
According to initial estimates, the monies will be used as follows:
!$960 million to make emergency repairs to DOD facilities;
!$370 million to evacuate and support 44,000 military personnel, and

32,000 DOD civilians;

!$570 million to pay to mobilize and support about 44,000 national34
guard personnel for 45 days.
FEMA reimburses DOD separately for its help in rescue and relief operations,
estimated at about $4.6 billion thus far.35
Damage at defense installations ranges from minor problems with roofs and
fences to wholesale damage to facilities in New Orleans and Mississippi. Three of
the damaged facilities — Naval Supply Activity in New Orleans, the Army
ammunition plant in Mississippi, and Naval Station, Pascagoula, Mississippi — are
on the base closure list that the President submitted to Congress on September 15,


The second Katrina supplemental, P.L. 109-62, also permits DOD to transfer up
to $6 million to cover the costs for residents who were evacuated from the U.S.
Naval Home in Mississippi, a retirement home for certain retired military personnel,
to the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home in Washington, D.C.
The DOD funds are appropriated to Operation and Maintenance, Defensewide,
set up as a transfer account where DOD can move monies to other accounts,
depending on the type of expense (e.g., to pay military personnel costs, operating
costs, procurement, family housing, and Defense Health). Funds that turn out not to
be needed may be returned to the account and then transferred elsewhere.
The appropriators approved the amount requested in both supplementals, but
added language that requires that the Armed Services and Appropriations
Committees in both the House and Senate be notified in writing within five days of
when and where funds are transferred. This requirement is important to clarify which
funds in the various accounts are for hurricane-related expenses as opposed to those
for military operations and regular peacetime activities.

33 Prepared by Amy Belasco, Specialist in National Defense; Foreign Affairs, Defense, and
trade Division.
34 DOD fact sheet, Sept. 7, 2005 and Congress Daily.
35 Senate Budget Committee, Budget Bulletin, Sept. 12, 2005, [

Issues for Congress36
Timeline of Response
The issue that has attracted the most attention in post-Katrina discussions has
been the speed of rescue and relief operations. As noted, NORTHCOM began its
alert and coordination procedures significantly before Katrina’s landfall and the
subsequent levee breaches. Prior to receiving requests from FEMA, DOD made its
own assessments of what resources would be useful and began moving towards
deployment prior to Katrina’s landfall. However, it was not until after the
presidential declaration of a federal catastrophic emergency and the subsequent
declaration of an Incident of National Significance on August 30, that many
deployments began. This is in keeping with the National Response Plan and DOD’s
Homeland Security Doctrine, though it may have slowed arrival of needed DOD
assets in the affected region. Another factor that affected deployments is simply that
most relief assets must be kept out of the storm’s path until it passes to avoid their
own destruction. It is possible, however, that an earlier and phased deployment could
have brought assets closer to the affected region in a more timely fashion. Relief
assets’ approach was also slowed to some extent by damage to airports/airbases,
highways, and the concern about underwater obstructions in the New Orleans Port
area. Even after the activation of JTF-Katrina on August 30, DOD’s response
appears incremental, responding to an increasingly deteriorating situation. The
hospital ship USS Comfort was not dispatched from Baltimore until August 31.
Additional active duty ground forces (82nd Airborne, 1st Cavalry) did not begin
deploying until September 3, arriving on September 5. Again, transportation
challenges in the affected area may have played some role in slowing these troops’
Structural or Administrative Failures?
Congress may wish to examine whether the shortcomings in Katrina relief
efforts are the result of structural problems with federal and agency disaster
plans/doctrines, the failure of administrative officials to execute effectively, or both.
Are the National Response Plan and DOD’s Joint Homeland Security Doctrine too
“procedure-bound,” with too many decision points and approvals required? Or were
provisions for expediting responses inadequately utilized? With regard to DOD
particularly, the fundamental principle that it is almost always a supporting agency
and the resource of last resort may serve to encourage a reactive rather than proactive
mode of operation. This principle exists because, for DOD, disaster relief is
secondary to its primary mission of national defense, and there has been a traditional
concern that any greater emphasis on essentially civilian or non-military operations
would detract from its preparedness for its primary mission. Nevertheless, absent the
development of greater civilian capabilities in disaster response, the expectation will
remain that DOD will provide substantial, if not massive, assistance in instances of
catastrophic disasters. Current doctrine requires that state, local, and other federal

36 Prepared by Steve Bowman, Specialist in National Defense; Foreign Affairs, Defense, and
Trade Division

agencies be “overwhelmed” before DOD resources are requested. The question then
arises, whether the agencies and authorities that have been overwhelmed are indeed
capable of making the incident assessments and informed resource requests
necessary to obtain DOD assistance.
In assessing the response to Katrina, one of the more difficult tasks is
determining what are reasonable expectations in the face of a disaster of
unprecedented scale. What shortcomings in relief efforts could have been avoided
with better planning and execution, and what were simply unavoidable given, for
instance, the regional destruction of communication and transportation
infrastructure? Another consideration is the question of predictability. Though many
sources have predicted the possibility or probability of a hurricane with Katrina’s
effect on this region (and on New Orleans in particular), repeated warnings followed
by “near misses” over the years may have contributed to a less proactive response to
warnings about Katrina’s predicted effect on this occasion.
Federalization of the Evacuation/Command of the National
There has been considerable discussion of Louisiana Governor Blanco’s refusal
to permit DOD’s JTF-Katrina to assume control of the evacuation efforts and to
assume command of the National Guard personnel in Louisiana. This controversy
has highlighted the possible political element in the conduct of relief operations. If
state authorities wish to retain control of the National Guard, which may be the
largest resource at their command, at what point can or should presidential authority
be invoked to override state authority?
Both President Bush and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Warner
have indicated a desire to explore expanding the authority of the Department of
Defense in disaster response. A part of this may be a review of the so-called posse
comitatus statute and subsequent DOD directives which limit the situations in which
federal military personnel may conduct law enforcement activities (e.g., search and
seizures, arrests). It is not clear if the use of active duty federal troops would or
could have mitigated the incidence of violence in Katrina’s aftermath, given the
earlier availability of National Guard troops in the region with law enforcement
authority. It also appears that early estimates of violent crime in the region may have
been overstated.
What is not clear to date is exactly what effect retention of state control of
National Guard personnel had upon the conduct of relief operations. What operations
could have been executed more expeditiously with a unified command structure?
Were the command and control breakdowns between the military components of the
relief effort or between civilian and military components? The answers to these
questions may provide guidance for future operations; however, it is noteworthy that
command coordination is often highly dependent upon the personalities and
relationship of the relevant commanders.

Impact of Overseas Deployments on DOD’s Response
It has been suggested that the substantial overseas deployments in Iraq and
Afghanistan affected the ability of both the National Guard and active duty forces to
carry out relief operations. This contention has been repeatedly denied by both the
DOD and National Guard leadership.37 Though DOD has sought to focus this
question on the number of personnel that remained available for relief operations,
there is anecdotal evidence that, particularly for the National Guard, the issue
centered more upon the availability of equipment rather than personnel. It has been
DOD’s practice to have many units that deploy to Iraq leave their equipment in Iraq
when they return so that it can be used by subsequent units. As a result, for example,
it has been reported that National Guard units responding to Katrina did not have
adequate numbers of tactical radios or High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled
Vehicles (HMMWVs) adapted for high water operations because this equipment was
in Iraq. Another example noted is that of the 101st Air Assault Division, based in Ft.
Campbell, KY. This division, which has the largest number of transport helicopters
of any Army unit, was not deployed to Katrina operations because it is in the process
of deploying to Iraq.38
Impact of Katrina on the Quadrennial Defense Review
The Department of Defense will release its Quadrennial Defense Review
(QDR), a congressionally-mandated examination of the Department’s roles, missions,
and capabilities in early 2006. The controversies surrounding the adequacy of the
federal response to Katrina are expected to have an effect on DOD’s consideration
of its responsibilities and capabilities with regard to catastrophic incidents. Though
Katrina was a natural disaster, many of its effects could be encountered as a result of
an intentional attack (e.g., destruction of communication, transportation, and flood
control infrastructures; mass casualties; or civil unrest). With the likelihood that
DOD leadership will continue to maintain its emphasis on overseas operations as the
primary mission for active duty forces, it is the future role, structure, force-level and
equipping of the National Guard that may receive the most attention as a result of
Katrina’s demand upon DOD resources.
It has been suggested before that the National Guard be reorganized to focus on
domestic missions. In preparation of the 1997 QDR, Army leadership suggested
reducing the combat role of National Guard units and stressing support functions
(e.g,. logistics, communications, military police, and engineers). This was strongly
opposed by the National Guard Bureau, and the recommendation was not included
in the final QDR. In 2000, one of the recommendations of the United States
Commission on National Security/21st Century (Hart-Rudman Commission) was to
reduce the National Guard’s emphasis upon potential overseas combat deployments
and increase its attention to domestic incident capabilities. This was again opposed

37 Department of Defense Press Briefings, August 31, Sept. 6, 2005,
[ ]
38 “Military Lacked Critical Gear In responding to Katrina,” Newhouse.Com, Sept. 13,

2005; “Behind Poor Katrina Response, A Long Chain of Weak Links,” Wall Street Journal,

Sept. 6, 2005, p. 1.

by the National Guard leadership, which continued to defend the importance of
maintaining its combat capabilities.39 This argument by the Guard has received
substantial support from DOD’s evidenced need to use substantial numbers of
National Guard troops in Iraq.
Regardless of whether civil support remains a responsibility divided between
active duty and National Guard forces, it is likely that questions of personnel levels
and equipping for both elements of the armed services will be addressed. It will then
be necessary to determine what level of investment will be required to meet civil
support expectations. Though the study of Katrina relief operations may have an
effect on QDR recommendations, it will be necessary to examine to what extent the
demands of such an extraordinary catastrophic event should be used as baseline
The extent of the resources needed to deal with the consequences of Hurricane
Katrina, on top of the requirements for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,
raises the question of what resources would be available in the event of another
almost simultaneous catastrophic event. Though some have suggested that a disaster
like Katrina increases potential vulnerability to opportunistic terrorist attack, the
approach of Hurricane Ophelia along the eastern seaboard shortly after Katrina’s
strike also demonstrates the potential for sequential natural disasters. It could be
useful to examine what resources were marshalled in response to the threat of
Hurricane Ophelia, and how these efforts were affected by on-going operations on
the Gulf Coast.

39 “Katrina Likely to Fuel Debate Over Guard’s Combat, Homeland Defense Roles,” Inside
Defense, Sept. 9, 2005.