Seven hundred National Guard members from the Northeast and Caribbean will be in central New York this week for disaster preparedness training. They will train for certification as a regional disaster response force capable of assisting responders following a chemical, biological, nuclear or high-explosive incident, according to the Associated Press.
They are part of the National Guard Homeland Response Force (HRF) controlled by the Department of Defense. There are currently ten HRF units hosted by one state in each FEMA region, according to the Pentagon.
In February, it was reported that FEMA plans to move National Guard troops from one FEMA district to another during natural disasters and other emergencies. FEMA administrator Craig Fugate made the announcement after Obama signed Presidential Policy Directive 8 on March 30, 2011.
“PPD-8 reflects the Obama Administration’s belief that the whole community – including all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and individual citizens – plays a key role in preparedness efforts,” the National Guard website reported.
PPD-8 allows FEMA to “facilitate an integrated, all-of-nation/whole community, capabilities-based approach to preparedness” that involves “federal partners, state, local and tribal leaders, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, faith based and community organizations ─ and most importantly the general public” in the effort, according to the FEMA website.