ADP 3-28 clarifies similarities and differences between defense support of civil authorities (DSCA) and other elements of decisive action. DSCA and stability operations are similar in many ways. Both revolve around helping partners on the ground within areas of operations. Both require Army forces to provide essential services and work together with civil authorities. However, homeland operational environments differ from those overseas in terms of law, military chain of command, use of force, and inter-organizational coordination among unified action partners. This ADP helps Army leaders understand how operations in the homeland differ from operations by forces deployed forward in other theaters. It illustrates how domestic operational areas are theaters of operations with special requirements. Moreover, this ADP recognizes that DSCA is a joint mission that supports the national homeland security enterprise. The Department of Defense conducts DSCA under civilian control, based on U.S. law and national policy, and in cooperation with numerous civilian partners. National policy, in this context, often uses the word joint to include all cooperating partners, as in a joint field office led by civil authorities.
This manual is composed of several volumes, each containing its own purpose. In accordance with the authority in DoD Directives (DoDDs) 5111.13 and 3025.18 the manual assigns responsibilities and establishes procedures for Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) and identifies authorities for DoD Components to provide support of civil authorities and non-DoD entities. For DoD support described in this manual that is not under the oversight of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security (ASD(HD&GS)), this manual identifies the offices of responsibility and oversight.
Our history is replete with examples where both Guard and Active forces were employed to respond to our Nation’s disasters. In the recent era, the defining disaster was Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 hurricane that forced the breach of levies and the subsequent massive flooding of New Orleans. It rapidly overwhelmed the capabilities of Louisiana that saw the C, NGB send upwards of 50,000 Guardsmen from other States and the President send in the 82nd Airborne Division. There have been other similar incidents in our lifetime: Hurricane Andrew (1992) where President Bush sent 2,000 to 5,000 Troops from Ft Bragg, Hurricane Hugo (1989) where over 3,000 Service members were sent in support, and the 1988 Yellowstone Fires where approximately 1,000 active duty Soldiers and Marines provided direct fire line support as part of JTF Yellowstone. These show that there are those potential catastrophic disasters (New Madrid Seismic Zone, Cascadia Subduction Zone, Cyber Attack, or even an Improvised Nuclear Detonation) that can hit the United States where the President will not hesitate to call upon Federal Forces.