Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel have an immense responsibility: every day, we safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. It is this important calling that has driven so many to enter the DHS workforce, committing their life’s work to something greater than themselves. And it is my great honor to support DHS employees in the work that they do each day.
So far, over 6,000 DHS employees have gone above and beyond the call of duty, joining the DHS Surge Capacity Force. Members of the DHS Surge Capacity Force are non-emergency DHS personnel from across the Department who sign up to deploy to a disaster in the event that our Nation experiences an event so catastrophic that even the resources of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are overwhelmed.
Since its creation, the DHS Surge Capacity Force has deployed only once. In October 2012, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, DHS activated the Surge Capacity Force, sending more than 1,100 DHS employees to assist FEMA with response and recovery efforts in New York and New Jersey. But we know that we are only one bad day away from needing to activate the DHS Surge Capacity Force again. For that reason, we work each day to recruit more DHS employees to join this important initiative, and train them to be at their best for communities that have been through the worst.
Surge Capacity Force volunteers are permanent and temporary full-time DHS employees who sign up to help FEMA in support of state and local response and recovery efforts. By increasing our ability to “surge”, we as a Department and as a Nation become better prepared for catastrophic disasters of all kinds.
Surge Capacity Force volunteers are driven by the same spirit that brought them into government service in the first place: a desire to help and the knowledge that their work is making a real difference in the lives of others.