Starting October 1 the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has a new post, the United States of America. They will be the ones on call to deal with natural or man made emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
The Brigade is used to hostile lands, they have been restoring essential services and escorting supply convoys for the past 60 months in Iraq.
Army Times discusses the new mission saying that it will be a permanent one.
“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”
The soldiers will be operating out of Fort Stewart, Georgia. There they will be allowed to go to school, take time to be with their families and train for their homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency in war zone areas.
The soldiers are not scheduled to be sent to either Iraq or Afghanistan until 2010, that gives them 20 months to work with Homeland Security.
Their new mission is bringing to the table a different element, how to subdue without killing.
The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”
Other branches of the armed forces will be working on the NorthCom and DOD mission. The team will be composed of an Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Communications between the services is one of the areas Vogler will be addressing.
“I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”