Posted: 10/19/2008 6:46:06 PM EST
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|Army Taps Brigade for Homeland Defense|
For the first time, the U.S. Army has designated an active-duty unit stationed at home to serve as a federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, which has spent 35 of the past 60 months in Iraq, began its new assignment on Oct. 1.
It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home, the Army Times reports. “In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.
“But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts.”
Soldiers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team will be stationed and trained at Fort Stewart, Ga. When its 12-month mission is completed, another yet unnamed active-duty brigade is expected to take over the mission, which will be a permanent one, according to the Army Times.
The unit could be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control, or to deal with the chaos following an earthquake or a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack.
“I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Col. Roger Cloutier, the brigade’s commander.
“We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home.”