While most of the declared emergencies require no actions from military forces, sometimes the incident is too widescale for local authorities to deal with it themselves. The only situation when local authorities will call the military is when their local and regional capabilities are exhausted, or the scale of the case is obviously out of their reach (Headquarters Department of the Army, 2019). An example of such is a chemical incident is the derailment of a hazmat train that was transporting tanks filled with chlorine gas.
Such an extreme situation required coordinated action among military forces, specifically the soldiers from the 3rd platoon, 22nd Engineer Clearance Company, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, were called to the site. One of the roles of the Department of Defence is to provide support to local authorities during major domestic incidents (Headquarters Department of the Army, 2019). According to the report, they have executed the search and rescue task, methodically walking through the afflicted area and rescuing casualties. The platoon had shown its readiness for domestic operations and served as a support of civil authorities by increasing their capacity, providing necessary skills, and performing technical missions.
It is crucial to understand that the role of military forces in this situation is not to take charge, but instead, provide necessary tools for the local authorities to minimize the effects of a disaster. The lesson here is that major incidents require rapid and effective cooperation between the Army and civil authorities to “preserve life and minimize suffering,” and stationed forces must be trained accordingly (Case Study Defense Support of Civil Authorities, n.d.). Domestic operations require skills in strategic resource spread instead of tactical knowledge.
Case Study Defense Support of Civil Authorities (n.d.). M451: Decisive Action.
Headquarters Department of the Army. (2019). Defense support of civil authorities. Lulu.com.