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Title 10 Domestic Humanitarian Assistance: NEW ORLEANS

By Donahue, Michael C. | Military Review, May/June 2008 | Go to article overview

Title 10 Domestic Humanitarian Assistance: NEW ORLEANS


Donahue, Michael C., Military Review


ON THURSDAY, 1 September 2005, the 2d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, was alerted to deploy to New Orleans to assist in humanitarian relief operations following Hurricane Katrina. Coming out of a year-long deployment in Iraq, the Black Jack Brigade had lost a significant percentage of its officers and enlisted Soldiers to post-deployment reassignments. Consequently, many staff members were new and unfamiliar with the brigade's standardized operating procedures. Moreover, the brigade was undergoing transition to modularity, which involved complete structural reorganization and the realignment of personnel and equipment. Nevertheless, the vanguard element of the brigade-1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry-deployed on 3 September. The remaining brigade elements deployed and closed on the Naval Support Activity, New Orleans, by 6 September 2005.

The brigade operated under the control of the 82d Airborne Division and was assigned the Algiers district of Orleans Parish as its area of responsibility (AOR). Although Algiers had suffered severe wind damage and the loss of essential services, the parish did not experience the flooding that devastated the northern areas of New Orleans.

Operational Construct

In Baghdad, the 1st Cavalry Division had developed a counterinsurgency strategy with five specific logical lines of operation: combat operations, Iraqi security forces, essential services, local governance, and economic recovery. All five were executed concurrently and in the context of a larger information operations program. The same operational construct served as the basis for the Black Jack Brigade's concept for Katrina relief operations, although the construct was modified to fit a semi-permissive, domestic environment and took into account the brigade's constitutional limitations under Title 10 of the U.S. Code. Title 10 prevents active component federal forces from conducting law enforcement operations within the United States unless the president has declared martial law and suspended the Posse Comitatus Act. Neither of these necessary prerequisites occurred; thus, the brigade adjusted its construct accordingly to include

* Support operations.

* Civilian authorities and local governance.

* Essential services.

Again, all lines of operation functioned within the context of an overarching information operations campaign that facilitated the military mission and helped inform civic leaders of the brigade's capabilities. As in Iraq, the desired end state in New Orleans was a stable environment in which the local authorities could reassume control. Only then could the brigade redeploy to Fort Hood to complete modularity transformation.

Envisioned Objectives and End States

To determine what would constitute "mission accomplished" in Algiers, Black Jack had to build consensus not only with higher military headquarters, in this case the 82d Airborne Division, but also with New Orleans officials. Critical in this regard was the brigade commander's professional relationship with city officials such as Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson. The brigade staff conducted daily meetings with Clarkson and Captain David Kirsch, chief of the 4th District New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). These meetings enabled the brigade and civic leaders to determine overall objectives that satisfied both sets of authorities. Those objectives included

* Law and order established with military assistance and, at end state, maintained by civil authorities.

* Primary searches for evacuees completed and, at end state, secondary searches within civil authorities' capability.

* Power restored 100 percent to essential services and 75 percent to the general community.

* Potable water available throughout the district and, at end state, civil authorities capable of certifying water.

* All roads and critical infrastructure clear of major debris.

* Dumps open weekly and collection schedule in place.

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