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U.S. Transportation Command is prepared to support relief efforts for Hurricane Wilma

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS, Oct. 20, 2005) --- The U.S. Transportation Command is prepared to meet Requests for Assistance that may be issued prior to and in the wake of Hurricane Wilma.

Department of Defense assets are employed in support of a Primary Federal Agency (in this case the Federal Emergency Management Agency) when local and state officials request federal assistance, and when DoD assistance is requested by the Primary Federal Agency. The impact of providing such assistance will not adversely affect other military operations.

Planners in USTRANSCOM’s Deployment and Distribution Operations Center are coordinating with U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. USNORTHCOM has the lead within the Department of Defense to facilitate any Requests for Assistance from FEMA.

When USNORTHCOM passes transportation and distribution requirements to USTRANSCOM, planners validate the requirement and determine the best methods to accomplish the tasks – balancing other global requirements against available assets based on priority. The missions are then executed by one of the command’s components. Air Mobility Command, also located at Scott AFB, Ill., conducts airlift support. The Military Sealift Command and the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, both on the East Coast, perform the maritime and surface support. The coordination happens almost simultaneously through communication networks facilitated by liaison officers along each step of the process, and enabled by state-of-the-art information technology systems.

Military transportation and lift assets are readily available to support major humanitarian operations simultaneously without degrading support to ongoing combat operations.

USTRANSCOM continues to deliver U.S. relief to Pakistan following the earthquake that killed tens of thousands there earlier this month. Thus far, more than 40 airlift missions have delivered almost 400 troops and 800 tons of relief cargo and supplies.

In recent weeks, similar relief efforts were provided in the continental U.S. prior to and following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In support of those relief efforts, USTRANSCOM off-loaded 400 airplanes, transported 13,800 people, delivered more than 5,200 tons of relief supplies supplies, and safely evacuated 3,000 patients.

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