Domestic Operations: The Right Force at the Right Time
The Adjutant General's (TAG) vision statement is: "America's premier state military comprised of mission-ready professionals fully engaged with our communities, and relevant through the 21st century." The TAG's vision statement contains two key words: "relevant" and "ready." The Texas Military Department (TMD) organizational mission statement offers a short definition of relevant and ready: "Provide the right force at the right time."
The Domestic Operations Task Force (DOMOPS) is uniquely structured and equipped to influence and shape the composition, size, mission command structure and timing of response efforts to help citizens and residents of Texas. Since the DOMOPS Task Force was created in 2012, this optimized force structure for state missions has been repeatedly validated. During Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) responses to Tropical Storm Bill, West Fertilizer Plant explosion, Memorial Day floods and Operation Strong Safety/Secure Texas, we identified, sourced and deployed the most relevant, ready and available forces. During times of need, we help our fellow citizens and residents by providing unique military capabilities that would not otherwise be available if we were not truly relevant and ready.
The All Hazards Plan (CONPLAN 3500) identifies the most likely and most dangerous incidents that TMD may be ordered to support while operating in an enhanced Joint, Inter-agency, Intergovernmental and Multinational (JIIM) environment. The All Hazards Plan contains 10 branch plans designed to integrate into a unified command plan and support the Texas Emergency Management Plan and Texas Homeland Security Strategic Plan, both of which are based on the principles and guidelines of the National Response Framework (NRF) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). By nesting the All Hazards Plan within Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) emergency management plans, we ensure any/all TMD support is structured, planned and measured to provide our interagency partners with appropriate resources at the time of need.
Expectation management plays a key role in providing relevant and ready forces. We help shape interagency partner expectations in a number of ways. The first step is to clearly identify and communicate available resources and those not available due to competing requirements (mobilizations/deployments, force structure changes/modifications, new equipment fielding, unit METL training/exercises, etc.). During DSCA operations, each component is responsible for specific Mission Ready Packages (MRP). In this manner, TMD leverages each component's unique capabilities and breaks down mission support to the smallest element required to meet local, state and federal domestic requirements. Our commitment to TDEM is that we will muster MRPs and attain an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) within 24 hours of an approved mission request. Additionally, we will commence operations at an incident site within 48 hours of notification.
We market our collective response capabilities and capacity to TDEM, other states, National Guard Bureau (NGB) and Department of Defense (DOD) inter-agency partners with the TMD MRP Catalogue. Any gaps or seams in capabilities or capacity are identified and filled through the Governors' Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC, T32) or the FEMA Mission Assignment (MA, T10) process. Unlike Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), during DSCA operations, TMD is never the lead agency. We are always in support of an interagency partner. Our ability and flexibility to task organize as required by event helps ensure we are DSCA relevant and not "late to need."
COL Andrew J. Rochstein
Chief, Joint Staff & Domestic Operations Task Force
Texas Military Department