For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today authorized the temporary activation of up to 900 reserve U.S. Coast Guard service men and women to bolster the more than 500 Coast Guard personnel already serving in Haiti in support of the U.S. government’s response to the devastation caused by the Jan. 12 earthquake.
“Activating our reserve Coast Guard forces will expand our capacity to assist in aid efforts in Haiti,” said Secretary Napolitano. “These brave men and women will join the thousands of U.S. and international personnel already working together on humanitarian and recovery efforts in response to this tragedy.”
The action by Secretary Napolitano today authorizes Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen to order the activation of up to 900 reservists—comprised of units and individual members—of the Selected Reserve and Individual Ready Reserve for a period of up to 180 days to support DHS operational missions and humanitarian assistance efforts in Haiti.
The Coast Guard will utilize more than 100 of the newly-activated reserve personnel—who are expected to arrive within 96 hours of activation—to strengthen port security operations in Port Au Prince. Additional reserve personnel—who are expected to arrive within days of activation—will support U.S. Coast Guard District 7 and Homeland Security Task Force Southeast operations, as well as other priorities as requested to support USAID and the State Department, the lead U.S. federal agencies in the response.
On Jan. 16, President Obama signed an Executive Order authorizing the activation of a number of reserve military personnel to support targeted functions related to the relief and recovery operations in Haiti—including Coast Guard units.
Since Jan. 12, the Coast Guard, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has led DHS actions to support the larger U.S. government assistance effort. Five Coast Guard cutters and numerous air assets in the area are providing port security and air traffic control support, conducting damage assessments, delivering supplies, rescuing people in need of assistance and providing medical and other security support as needed.