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NEWS | Oct. 17, 2023

U.S. Army North hosts homeland defense seminar at AUSA, focuses on multi-domain operations

By Master Sgt. Seth Barham U.S. Army North Public Affairs

U.S. Army North hosted a Homeland Defense Seminar during the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army on Oct. 10 in Washington D.C. 

The four-member panel went in depth on homeland defense in multi-domain operations and what that might look like in the future. 

“I don’t think the future (of homeland defense) looks anything like the past,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, and the seminar’s keynote speaker. “We’re in a world that’s more challenging than any we’ve seen since the end of the Cold War.” 

Panelists included U.S. Army North Commanding General Lt. Gen. John R. Evans Jr., U.S. Army Cyber Command Commanding General Lt. Gen. Maria B. Barrett, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Integration and Defense Support of Civil Authorities Rebecca Zimmerman, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. Army North Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. James E. Bonner moderated the panel. 

One of the most highlighted topics during the seminar was Defense Support to Civil Authorities. DSCA is support provided by U.S. Federal military forces, and other DOD assets, and, in coordination with the Governors, federally funded National Guard forces in response to requests for assistance from civil authorities for domestic emergencies, law enforcement support, and other domestic activities, or from qualifying entities for special events.  

The importance of providing support to civil authorities shows integrated deterrence to our adversaries. 

“If our adversaries look over the fence and see that we cannot handle disasters in our own homeland, they will not be deterred from testing us,” Evans said. 

Evans reiterated that his job supporting interagency partners is significantly different than commanders leading military operations overseas. 

“The homeland is different; when we go downrange, DOD gets a large mandate and commanders get their (area of responsibility) to lead that mission because it’s largely going to be a military mission in a theater of war,” Evans said. “That is not the case in the homeland; each and every day our teams are working with our interagency partners to make sure we support them as the lead federal agency to set the conditions for a secure homeland.” 

Criswell echoed Evans Jr.’s sentiments during the seminar and referred to the Army and DOD as FEMA’s most trusted partner. 

“Every time we call, you’re always there and we’re calling you more and more, for different things,” said Criswell.  

FEMA’s top administrator also stressed the effects that climate change may have on the future of homeland defense. 

“Environmental changes are creating more opportunity by increasing our vulnerability and giving (adversaries) opportunities to attack us in ways that we haven’t faced in the past,” Criswell said. 

Today’s enemies have abilities that require adaptation of homeland defense capabilities. There is a heightened need for continued interagency cooperation at international, national, and regional levels to maintain resiliency in projecting forces. 

Evans also emphasized the importance of international cooperation towards a common goal. 

 “We’ve got partners and allies too,” Evans said. “When it comes to continental defense, I’m working continuously with Canadian land forces and principally Mexican land forces to make sure when we look at our shared interests are in homeland defense, we are complimenting each other.”