There's a post over at DU that I don't think has been mentioned here yet, but the diaries are flying by, so it's hard to keep up:
On BBC: Northern Command was in position, waiting for Presidential orders posted by drm604. [Link to DU post will open new browser window.]
This was on the episode of BBC World News which played on a local (Philadelphia area) PBS station at 6:00 am this morning. I can't find a stream or transcript online. It's sitting on my TIVO right now marked do not delete but I have no way to put it onto my hard drive and no place to serve it from anyway. If you do have a recording of it, it starts about 9 minutes in. I've done a hand written transcript, the spelling and punctuation are mine. The bolding is also mine to emphasize what I think is the important part. The BBC announcer was interviewing Lieutenant Commander Sean Kelly whom she referred to as Leftenant Commander. This is the entire interview with no missing context.drm604's transcript below:
Announcer: The relief operation is the largest ever conducted in America. It's being coordinated by the US Northern Command in Colorado. Leftenant Commander Sean Kelly explains how the relief effort is being organized.I have no other confirmable link, but you can bet I'll be looking for one. It might be a good idea to check over at the DU thread from time-to-time to see if it's been updated with a video interview or another on-line transcript.
Kelly: US Northern Command is the command that coordinates the military support for our federal and state agencies. They call up and request a capability and we try and provide that capability, whether it's medical resources, search and rescue helicopters, food, water, transportation, communications; that's what we provide.
A: So it sounds like you're providing a bit of everything. I mean, do you know how much you're actually providing?
K: Right now we've got 4,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marine and coast guardsmen supporting this. They've delivered more than 9 million meals, I can't remember how many millions of liters of water.
A: 9 million meals? Do you actually have 9 million meals?
K: It's those "meals ready to eat". The packaged meals that the Army takes out with them out in the field. We have 9 million of 'em ready. I know at least 100,000 went to the Superdome the other night to help the people out there in New Orleans. So they're staged at various places throughout Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana.
A: Now I'm sure you're aware of the criticism that the authorities have been slow to respond to this. When did you get the order to start relied work?
K: NorthCom started planning before the storm even hit. We were ready for the storm when it hit Florida because, as you remember, it crossed the bottom part of Florida, and then we were plaining, you know, once it was pointed towards the Gulf Coast. So what we did was we activated what we call defense coordinating officers to work with the state to say okay, what do you think you'll need, and we set up staging bases that could be started. We had the USS Baton sailing almost behind the hurricane so that after the hurricane made landfall it's search and rescue helicopters would be available almost immediately. So we had things ready. The only caveat is, we have to wait until the President authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can't just act in this fashion, we have to wait for the President to give us permission.
A: Now I gather that your engineers are also involved in pumping some of that flood water out of the areas.
K: Yes, our military personnel are helping to reconstruct the levees which frees up the engineers to start pumping out the waters so that hopefully New Orleans can be high and dry soon enough.
If this is true, this is worse than a slow response.
Update [2005-9-3 12:53:1 by Terre]: Although I have yet to find another on-line link to the interview I did find this from GovExec.com
Most of the eight large video screens that make up the operation center's "wall of knowledge" were tracking the approaching storm and the U.S. government's preparation for what would become one of the worst natural disasters to strike America in modern times.Update [2005-9-3 16:2:13 by Terre]: Thanks to thebes for this article I hadn't seen yet National Guard Delay-AP
Northern Command, the Pentagon's designated force for protecting the homeland and responding to "incidents of national consequence," began deploying forces well before Katrina made landfall. It dispatched military liaison and medical planning teams to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, where they were to coordinate with Federal Emergency Management Agency field offices. As part of the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA is responsible for coordinating the federal response to hurricanes.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard on Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday.Update [2005-9-3 17:20:8 by Terre]: New "basic" timeline by AP A chronology of Hurricane Katrina. This would be a good basic timeline to start with, and then fill in the obvious omissions - like Bush's "guitar" escapade.
Bush had the legal authority to order the National Guard to the disaster area himself, as he did after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks . But the troops four years ago were deployed for national security protection, and presidents of both parties traditionally defer to governors to deploy their own National Guardsmen and request help from other states when it comes to natural disasters.
In addition to Guard help, the federal government could have activated, but did not, a major air support plan under a pre-existing contract with airlines. The program, called Civilian Reserve Air Fleet, lets the government quickly put private cargo and passenger planes into service.
The CRAF provision has been activated twice, once for the Persian Gulf War and again for the Iraq war.