Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers
and Defense Coordinating Element Visit Kauai
By JTF-HD Public Affairs
KAUAI, Hawaii – Members of the Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers (NEPLO) and the Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) from Oahu visited the Island of Kauai recently to tour the the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Barking Sands.
PMRF is a U.S. Naval facility and airport located northwest of the central business district of Kekaha. It is the world's largest instrumented, multi-dimensional testing and training missile range. Nestled in relative isolation, ideal year-round tropical climate and an encroachment-free environment, it remains the only range in the world where submarines, surface ships, aircraft and space vehicles can operate and be tracked simultaneously.
"We had a fantastic visit," said Army Col. Curtis King, Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX, Pacific Area Office. "I was very impressed with their operations and maintenance facilities and their ‘hit-to-kill’ technology of their anti-ballistic missile system," added King.
Ten DCOs are appointed by and work for the Department of Defense (DoD) and are assigned to each FEMA region. When requested and approved, the DCO serves as the DoD's single point of contact at the Joint Field Office (JFO). Often, requests for Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) originates at the JFO and are coordinated and processed through the DCO.
"We are all part of the Defense Coordinating Element (DCE)," said Mr. Paul Takata, DSCA Plan Analyst, Defense Coordinating Element. "Our unit consists of a support staff and military liaison officers to facilitate coordination and support to activated Emergency Support Functions (ESFs)," he added.
Following a windshield tour of the PMRF facility the visitors from Oahu were able to sit on some roundtable discussions on such topics as training, exercises, capabilities, gaps and shortfalls, and lessons learned from Hurricane Iniki and various tsunami alerts/warnings. An ensuing DSCA brief and base support installation brief was followed by an aerial assessment of the PMRF and a short helicopter ride around the facility.
In addition to Col. King and Mr. Takta, other guests included Navy Capt. Rob Espinosa, NEPLO State Civil Defense; Navy Capt. Dave Valente, NEPLO DCE; Navy Capt. Jun Prudencio, NEPLO FEMA; and Mr. Stan Keolanui, DSCA Operations Analyst, DCE. The DCE works in conjunction with Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) during potential natural or man-made disaster situations.
Headquartered at Fort Shafer, Hawaii, JTF-HD’s mission is to execute domestic Land Domain operations, in close coordination, with civil authorities, to defeat terrorist threats to the U.S. Homeland (defined as the U.S. States and Territories, Possessions, Commonwealths; and Compact Nations in the Pacific), and when requested/validated, to conduct civil support [Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) or Foreign Humanitarian Assistance (FHA)] operations for all hazards including responding to, and recovering from, natural or man-made disasters across the Pacific.