Force Composition and Mission
The US federal government should create and maintain, perhaps within a new branch of the military, a special military force, called the US Emergency Response Force, consisting of several thousand people (including military veterans) whose primary functions would be to help maintain peace and civility during any civil emergency by helping out with the planning, coordinating, and carrying out of law enforcement, riot control, and firefighting duties as well as aid and rescue missions for any parts of the United States or even the world if the US decides to send them. Its ultimate mission would be to stabilize the population and allow for the peaceful and orderly transfer of all aspects of control to the local authorities. This force should be designed to directly manage a population of 2 million, but should ideally be designed for easy scaling up, using local resources like police, medical, and other skilled local personnel, so that a population of several million could be effectively managed.
A subset of this Force would consist of a special advance police and riot control team that would be on-site within 24 hours of the decision to deploy and would aid local police in providing security and social stability, while protecting the most valuable or high interest sites located within the disaster area from looting, sabotage or other damage.
Acceptable Reasons for Being Called Into Duty
This Emergency Response Force would be called into active duty and deployed when there has been an emergency or disaster of some sort causing the resource of the local authorities to be stretched too thin or otherwise unable to ensure the peace or well-being of their community. This could be as a result of a major earthquake, hurricane, riot, etc. Both the local authority in which the disaster occurred and the US military would need to agree that deployment is necessary in order for it to occur.
Force Ground Roles
Depending on the scale of the emergency and any previous arrangement agreements, the US Emergency Response Force would either be in total command and control of all operations relating to its functions (large-scale emergencies such as major earthquakes, mass rioting, major terrorist attacks, etc.), or would be working under the command and control of the relevant local law enforcement agencies (for smaller emergencies such as firefighting, local rioting, etc.). However, in all cases, members of the US Emergency Response Force would work closely with local law enforcement personnel (National Guard, police, firefighters, etc.) to successfully accomplish the necessary objectives related to maintaining law and order throughout the population.
Specifically, this Emergency Response Force would be immediately responsible for ensuring that thirst, hunger, diseases, and other medical needs are satisfactorily addressed. Retrieving, identifying, documenting, and burying human corpses would also be functions for this force. This force would ensure a supply of clothing, shelter, and basic sanitary services, if necessary. It would also insure that looting and the commission of other crimes, including price gouging, are kept to an insignificant minimum. Also among its top priorities would be the reestablishment of a functional financial system so that individuals can have access to currency which would be needed to purchase goods and services.
The medium to long-term plans for this Emergency Response Force should be to ensure the satisfactory functioning of a food supply chain to all the population, the sufficient provisions of medical care for all, the provision of police security, and the provision of temporary shelter. Furthermore, if essential infrastructures have been destroyed, the planning for their reconstruction and even the beginning of their rebuilding should be started by this force. This is especially important for sanitation such as sewage disposal and clean water deliveries. These sewage and fresh water lines could even be placed above ground, if necessary, until permanent lines can be installed. Debris removal should be among the highest priorities after a disaster. In areas of extreme poverty where tin roofed houses in shanty towns have been destroyed, it is important to develop some sort of functional (economical) material building supply chain, preferably using local building materials, like their own soil or rocks. The goal would be to incorporate the local population not only in such planning and rebuilding so that by the time the force leaves, the locals can successfully continue the effort, but also to incorporate them, as much as possible, in actually providing the economic goods and services to their own community so that whatever money is spent stays within that community, facilitating its long-term viability.
If such a disaster were to include an accident or terrorist attack in which biological materials are released, this force would be trained and required to work with the local first responders to distribute and administer vaccines to the population. If necessary, maybe orders should be given for everybody to immediately stop all traveling and seek the nearest enclosed shelter or stay inside their vehicles. Highly visible, very durable almost permanent marking, such as a tattoo or other marking on the hand, arm, or other visible place could be used to identify those who have already been vaccinated.
The US Emergency Response Force should be ready to deploy within a very short notice, like 72 hours, in response to any disaster, natural or man-made, including biological, chemical or other terrorist attacks. The ultimate goal would be that within 24 hours of the decision to deploy, the target population would be supplied with all necessary police to secure order and that within 72 hours of the decision to deploy, the targeted population would be supplied with all necessary goods and services to maintain order, health, and peace among the population. Only the United States would be responsible for determining where and when to send such forces to accomplish a mission.
Infrastructures Needed In Reserve Before Missions
Proper preparation for such missions will require that certain equipment is built and ready to put into use immediately. For example, ships, boats, and trucks designed to fulfill narrow or singular purposes like providing showering, toileting, and medical facilities, as well as clean water supplies, need to have been built and kept in reserve and strategically deployed until the need to use them arises. Tanker ships and tanker trucks could either carry clean water or the equipment needed to make clean water from local water supplies, including sea water. Modular ships or barges could be designed to enable their potential linking together to form variable-sized floating cities capable of housing or providing medical care for thousands or maybe tens of thousands of refugees.
To prepare for the possibility of roadways being impassible in disaster areas, such equipment should be designed for rapid helicopter transport and setup. Since transportation services would likely be severely diminished during a civil emergency, strategic storage and distribution centers should be prearranged, especially for vaccines against possible biological weapons. Such locations could include hospitals, schools, post offices, military installation and other government facilities, rented self storage space from commercial vendors, etc.
Of course, it would not be rational or economically feasible to have all the food, clothing, and medicine, for two million people in warehouses just waiting for the infrequent times that they may be needed for disaster relief. Although there should be many supplies sitting in hundreds or thousands of strategic locations around the country so that rapid deployment of the most critical supplies could be insured, the vast majority of the necessary items should be collected on demand from the business population of unaffected areas within the United States.
One way to do this may be to make it a condition of receiving or renewing a business operating license that suddenly (with a minimum of 12 hours notice) and periodically (but not exceeding once a year) the government reserves the right to demand of businesses the free and immediate transfer of up to 5% (by value) of their current inventory of goods. Supermarkets, grocery stores, hospitals, medical supply stores, clothing stores, and all other businesses that the government determines to have goods valuable to the relief effort, would be required to release the supplies immediately. The government would be responsible for collecting them and would be responsible for arranging transportation and for paying all costs involved in getting these supplies to the disaster area.
An additional option could be government owned and run commercial ventures that, during normal times, operate as undistinguished commercial ventures, but during times of civil emergency, they would immediately shut down their business operations and dedicate 100% of their stock of supplies towards relief efforts.
The determination of which political jurisdictions are required to participate in this disaster relief program would be based on the initial projections of need put forward by the US Emergency Response Force overseeing relief operations. A jurisdiction’s requirement to participate would be based mainly on its geographical distance from the area of need. However, obstacles increasing the difficulty of transporting goods, including mountain ranges, wide bodies of water, lack of established transportation routes, etc., would be factored in as well. The government should probably be allowed to demand the immediate release of up to 10% (by value) of a business’ goods (depending on the scale of the disaster), but the government would be required to compensate the business, at current market value, for anything over the mandatory 5% requirement limit, within 12 months, with interest. The government would be responsible for collecting all supplies from the donor business’ locations.
The US Emergency Response Force would also be entitled to ask private sector service providers like transportation companies (including airlines, airfreight, ground freight, Postal Service, etc.) to make immediately available up to 5% of their average transportation capacity (or up to 10% if compensated for everything above the 5% minimum amount) throughout the duration of the emergency, though not to exceed three months. If transportation services are needed beyond three months, private companies should expect to be completely compensated for their services.