DOD Readies for More Hurricane Support

The National Guard Bureau announced yesterday that up to 50,000 Guard personnel can be called up, if necessary, to help civil responders deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav (now a tropical depression that, as of midday Sept. 2, was over parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas) and the potential landfall of Tropical Storm Hanna brewing in the Caribbean. Air Force Maj. Gen. William Etter, NGB’s director of domestic operations, said Defense Secretary Robert Gates authorized the call-up on Aug. 31 for a period ending Sept. 15. Already there are more than 14,000 Air and Army National Guard members deployed to the Gulf Coast in roles such as providing security and evacuating residents, Etter said, noting that the NGB is “poised to flex this number as required.” As of yesterday, Hanna was near the Bahamas and heading potentially for Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. (Includes AFPS report by Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke)