Defense Support of Civil Authorities for Mortuary Affairs


U.S. Northern Command

  • Eric D. Martin, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Joint Mortuary Affairs Officer, NORAD-USNORTHCOM J4
  • 5 pages
  • July 6, 2007

•Military Mortuary Affairs – Roles, Missions, Forces
•How and when to request support

•NORAD – A Bi-National Command (US, Canada)
•Aerospace Warning and Control
•NORTHCOM – A Combatant Command
•Homeland Defense
•Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA)

In DoD, mortuary affairs is a logistics function. The primary responsible officer within USNORTHCOM is the Joint Mortuary Affairs Officer (JMAO) assigned to the Director of Logistics

• Under the National Response Plan, fatality management falls under ESF 8, Public Health and Medical Services. The Department of Health and Human Services is the primary responsible federal agency

•Combatant Commands
•Recover the dead
•Transport to a main collection point
•Make and maintain records (custody, personal effects, tentative ID)
•Coordinate transport to Dover AFB
•Casualty reporting of assigned personnel to Services and DOD
•Services (Army, Navy, USMC, USAF) with their installations
•Casualty Notification
•Family Assistance
•Grief counseling
•Dover Port Mortuary / Armed Forces Medical Examiner and the

Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
•Forensic expertise (autopsy, definitive ID)
•Preparation for burial
•Transfer to family/funeral home

– 54th Company (MA) USA, Ft Lee Va.-203
– 111th Company (MA) USA, Ft Lee VA. – 203
– 311th Company (MA) USAR, PR-203
– 246th Company (MA) USAR, PR-176
– Personnel Recovery & Processing Co USMC -140
– 512th Squadron (MA) USAF, Dover AFB-63
– Other Air Force Service Support Squadrons
– Joint POW and MIA Accounting Command HI-400
– Armed Forces Medical Examiners Office 4-7
– Armed Forces Institute of Pathology 9-11
– Dover Port Mortuary 8-10 (Expandable via Contracts)


Federal Non-DOD Tasks
•Deploy DMORT teams
•Employ Morgue Units
•Decon 50 / day
Contract Refer Storage
•Contract recovery labor
•Operate Temp Storage
•DNA sampling

DOD Tasks
•Search and Recover Dead
•Operate Collection Points
•Decon 50 / day
•Reinforce DMORT Teams
•Conduct Temp Interment
•DNA typing and sampling

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