DoD Briefing on Ongoing National Guard Katrina Response

(9/3 Deployment Summary for Active and Guard units)

Never mind the fact that the USS Battaan sat for 72 hours off the coast of Louisiana and was mostly idle for lack of orders from the Pentagon. 3 ER rooms, a hundred hospital beds, and the ability to distill 100,000 gallons of fresh water per day, and none of that was used.

And we’re talking about the critical first 72 hours here.

What are you are complaining about, in essence, is the Navy having to coordinate operations through civil government agencies. Seventy-two hours is a very long time and a very short time simultaneously. The utter and total C3 breakdown in the city pretty much guaranteed a delay in being able to begin utilizing resources like the Battaan.

Wow, don’t try and spin this. The federal government was technically “in charge” when it declared it a national disaster. And as we know, FEMA, which is technically in charge of overseeing things, is a shell of its former self, thanks to Shrub.

Oh, but I foget, the spin is blame the locals… yeah, I’m sure the captain will get some blame in this case. Didn’t show initiative or something like that. If Patton were in charge of the Bataan, he would have landed himself on the beach and directed things from Day 1.

The response of a “reality-based community” in the face of, well, reality is to break out the tar and feathers and plaster on labels of “spin” “apologist” which you think seems to absolve you from making asinine ill-informed comments which you then just build on top of. You are flat out wrong with your FEMA comment, and your Patton remark is so ludicrious I don’t even know where to begin.

I’m noticing that you’re not backing up your commments on how wrong he is with lots of specific links.

What were you bashing me for again?

Pre-DHS integration, but still applicable legal and organzational framework. Enjoy reading.

EDIT: added letter from ship officer of HSV supporting the Bataan, dated Saturday morning, original source:

Subject: Hello from Katrina Disaster Relief


We (HSV-2 Swift) are on our way back to Ingleside, Texas right now at 30+ knots (really fast). Yesterday we delivered food and such to USS Bataan. They had sent their food into shore for disaster relief. We are going to Ingleside to pick up several tons of bottled water, parts, equipment and supplies to support the relief effort. We may then move our base of operations to Pensacola which is closer to the scene of action.

We were off the coast of Louisiana with USS Bataan, USNS Arctic, and several coast guard cutters. There are several other ships including

Amphibious Landing Ships with Marines and supplies on their way. As we closed the coast we could see the damage to the numerous oil platforms out here. The tower and superstructures where the crews lived were gone. There is debris everywhere. We’ve seen dead livestock floating in the water along with household appliances. It is evident that this is a very large and widespread disaster. People are going to have to be patient, getting a handle on the how much damage has occurred is going to take time, much less have a comprehensive plan in place.

The crew is very motivated and has been working hard. They spent the last two days loading on the cargo, preparing it for shipment via helicopter and then conducting vertical replenishment (VERTREP) via helicopter to USS Bataan. They were working all day in 100 degree heat (115 indexed) early in the morning until 1100 PM last night. They get to do it again today and every day for the foreseeable future. They are glad to do it to help their own countrymen. They are dismayed by the news of lawlessness. What could possibly posses someone to be a sniper against a hospital?

My job is to make sure they get enough rest, drink enough water, and execute the job smoothly and safely. Their own exuberance could cause more harm than good in some cases. They are very experienced, they were onboard for the Tsunami relief operations and understand how flexible we will have to be to make this work. A lot of moving pieces have to come together and the planning is still settling out.

Things are busy. I will write when I can.



(Phillip Pournelle, Lt Cdr, USN)

Because Northern Command oversees all active-duty military operations inside the United States, it’s also responsible for organizing the relief operations on the Gulf Coast. There are early indications, however, that NorthCom officials aren’t entirely pleased with the orders they’ve received of late from the president.

There’s an interesting BBC World News report (brought to my attention by my friend Darrell) in which NorthCom Lt. Commander Sean Kelly explained the military’s efforts which, in addition to military support, include distribution of medical supplies, search and rescue operations, distributing food and water, and meeting transportation needs.

When the BBC noted the criticism of the government’s slow response, Lt. Commander Kelly explained that NorthCom was ready to go well in advance of Katrina making landfall, but suggested the president didn’t make the right call at the right time.

"Northcom started planning before the storm even hit. We were ready when it hit Florida, because, as you remember, it hit the bottom part of Florida, and then we were planning once it was pointed towards the Gulf Coast.

"So, what we did, we activated what we call 'defense coordinating officers' to work with the states to say, 'OK, what do you think you will need?' And we set up staging bases that could be started.

"We had the USS Bataan sailing almost behind the hurricane so once the hurricane made landfall, its search and rescue helicopters could be available almost immediately So, we had things ready.

"The only caveat is: we have to wait until the president authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can't just act in this fashion; we have to wait for the president to give us permission."

Apparently, that permission could have been given right away, but it wasn’t. Bush was on vacation, sharing some cake with John McCain, and pretending to play some guitar.

This seems like it could be a fairly big deal. There’s been some frustration on the part of military officials about bureaucracy and FEMA’s ineffectiveness, but Kelly’s remarks to the BCC sounded like a fairly direct challenge to the president’s leadership — they wanted to leap into action, but the White House never made the call.

Considering that there are already questions about who was in charge last week, can someone please ask the White House who first gave the order to NorthCom and when?

Update: If you have trouble with the link to the BBC video, here’s a direct link.

Daaaamn. I’m sure the response will be:

“Now is not the time for once again pointing out how much our leader sucks.”

My response is: read the first link I posted in my previous posting.

Considering that there are already questions about who was in charge last week, can someone please ask the White House who first gave the order to NorthCom and when?

Because if you don’t you won’t have any understanding of where NorthCom’s orders come from.

Apparently, that permission could have been given right away, but it wasn’t. Bush was on vacation, sharing some cake with John McCain, and pretending to play some guitar.

Which left him too busy on Saturday, 48 hours before landfall to decla, oh, nevermind this is Midnight Son I’m responding to, why am I bothering?

Lino-type: I’d read more of your links if you weren’t such a Dubya butt licking apologist. I suspect, nay J’ACCUSE! you of being on the White House staff.

“I’d read what you wrote if you agreed with me”.
Midnight Son, ladies and gentlemen.

Anyway, Midnight, you don’t even read the links you post, don’t pretend you’re studiously avoiding Lino’s links because they are evil.

Hmm, I don’t recall asking the clueless for input…


Oh, and there’s something hilarious (to me, at least) about Midnight’s use of “J’Accuse” in a post where he admits he refuses to read potentially exculpatory material.

Not that I’m casting Bush as Dreyfus, but come on Middy, you can’t be trying to make it this easy, right?

I’m not the President, head of FEMA or head of Homeland Security. But, just like them, I’m not accountable to the public.