The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is a well-equipped and well-trained federal agency capable of providing assistance to relief efforts in a domestic disaster. However, the existence of several different levels of civil response, the variety of the agencies that become involved in the response, the regulations governing the DoD’s involvement, and a lack of understanding of the services the DoD can provide during a disaster lead to confusion which hinders the effectiveness of the response efforts. The concern this paper addresses is the lack of understanding by a number of disaster relief professionals of the exact role of the DoD, as well as the boundaries within which it must operate, during a domestic disaster response. This paper addresses this concern by outlining the recently standardized civil response process for small- to large-scale disasters involving local, state, and federal government organizations, as well as explaining the processes for requesting DoD support and the roles DoD organizations can play. Insights and further research opportunities are also presented.
©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston