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Thread: ATF and ESF 13

  1. #1
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    ATF and ESF 13

    http://www.guns.com/2017/09/13/atf-leading-federal-emergency-efforts-in-areas-impacted-by-irma/


    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said this week its coordinating a multi-agency emergency response to areas impacted by Hurricane Irma.

    ATF spokesman Joshua Jackson told Guns.com Tuesday the agency leads ESF-13, an emergency response plan of action implemented by the Department of Justice, and has deployed approximately 500 agents to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida, with another 500 on stand-by as needed.
    “The personnel are a makeup of several different federal agencies (ATF, FBI, DEA, USMS, and others) that are agents, subject matter experts, and intelligence specialists,” he said. “ATF’s primary mission in the affected areas is public safety, providing security for FEMA shelters, and supporting urban search and rescues units. ATF and its partners will remain in the affected areas for the interim until things have stabilized.”
    Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, whipped through the Caribbean last week before making two landfalls in the United States over the weekend — once in the lower Florida Keys and again on Marco Island, 18 miles south of Naples. The massive storm packed 130 mile per hour winds, 10 foot storm surges and a rotation of winds more than 400 miles wide. More than 3 million residents lost power across the state, including up to 90 percent of Miami. At least 12 deaths have been blamed on the storm.
    It’s the second major hurricane to batter the southern U.S. in less than a month. Hurricane Harvey stalled over the Texas Gulf coast for five days in August, drenching Houston and surrounding areas in more than four feet of water. The ATF deployed SRT agents to the city to bolster security at federally licensed gun dealers vulnerable to looting.
    Nicole Strong, an ATF spokeswoman, told Guns.com last week six Houston-area dealers were burglarized during the storm, but only four lost inventory for a total of 109 firearms taken — a success compared to the 1,102 guns stolen from more than 30 dealers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago.
    “ATF in Houston worked very hard on the front end of Harvey to minimize FFL losses,” she said. “We did so by sending out media advisories reminding FFL’s to use best practices and to secure their inventory. We also sent out an ‘FFL alert’ with the same message both prior to and during the storm. ATF provided a list of all FFL’s to Houston Police Department and they proactively monitored as best they could, all the FFL’s during the storm. ATF also personally contacted all FFL’s as soon as the storm passed to ensure there were no additional losses.”
    As Irma barreled toward Florida last week, the agency wasted no time warning dealers and owners alike to move their inventory to safer, drier ground.
    “In the storms, we’ll go back to (Hurricane) Harvey, where again, people are taking advantage of the fact that there’s no on in the home,” ATF Special Agent Daryl McCrary told the ABC affiliate in Orlando last week. “They’re going out, sometimes in the midst of the storm, or very soon after the storm, and they’re looting.”
    Jackson said Tuesday its too early to announce whether any dealers lost guns during Irma.
    “At this time, ATF is gathering all the facts to ascertain how many, if any, FFL’s were negatively impacted by Hurricane Irma,” he said. “There is a possibility that some FFL’s were damaged and/or burglarized. After assessing everything, ATF will have some information that is appropriate to share with the media in regards to any losses incurred by FFL’s related to Hurricane Irma.”
    ret.

  2. #2
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    http://www.guns.com/2017/09/22/atf-w...re-stabilized/

    Government agencies entrenched in rescue and recovery efforts in hurricane-impacted areas said Thursday agents will remain in these regions “until things are stabilized.”
    Some 3,200 workers were already on the ground in Puerto Rico Wednesday as Hurricane Maria — the second major storm to pass through the Caribbean this month and the strongest to hit the island in nearly a century — dumped three feet of rain and destroyed the power grid, leaving more than 3.4 million residents in the dark.
    “We have a lot of flooding,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello told CNN Thursday, noting at least a dozen people had died there during the storm, so far. “There was a major disaster here in Puerto Rico.”
    Maria comes two weeks after Hurricane Irma tore a similar path through the Caribbean, killing more than two dozen and leaving the island nation of Barbuda a pile of rubble. A week before Irma, Hurricane Harvey drenched Texas’s gulf coast in more than four feet of rain, causing unprecedented flooding in the Houston area.
    The ATF and federal agencies have deployed approximately 500 workers to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida, with another 500 on stand-by as needed — all part of ESF-13, an emergency response plan of action implemented by the Department of Justice.
    “ATF, leading through ESF-13, continues to coordinate security functions for search and rescue and recovery efforts in all impacted areas affected by Hurricane Irma,” Joshua Jackson, an ATF spokesperson, told Guns.com Thursday. “These same efforts continue now with Hurricane Maria. ATF, and it’s many federal partners, will remain in the impacted areas until things are stabilized.”
    ret.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the links and breaking it down a little more. As a member of ICE/ERO who was on stand-by for both Harvey and Irma I and many of my teammates were wondering how ATF became the lead on this one. I've read the NRF and taken more NIMS classes than I care to remember but don't recall seeing organizational paperwork saying this agency will take the lead on _______; that agency will take the lead on __________; and so on.
    Any insight on how ATF got tasked with being the lead on this? Don't get me wrong I think they continue to do a good job. I was just curious why DHS/ICE were waiting on go / no-go decision from a DOJ agency.
    "There is no second place winner"-- Bill Jordan

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    They volunteered.
    ESFLEA
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimSpoor View Post
    Thanks for the links and breaking it down a little more. As a member of ICE/ERO who was on stand-by for both Harvey and Irma I and many of my teammates were wondering how ATF became the lead on this one. I've read the NRF and taken more NIMS classes than I care to remember but don't recall seeing organizational paperwork saying this agency will take the lead on _______; that agency will take the lead on __________; and so on.
    Any insight on how ATF got tasked with being the lead on this? Don't get me wrong I think they continue to do a good job. I was just curious why DHS/ICE were waiting on go / no-go decision from a DOJ agency.
    when you get the answer please send it my way also...


  6. #6
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    Apparently, FEMA put all this together and 13 is just one of the ESF sections. ESF 13 is on the web at https://www.fema.gov/media-library-d...160705_508.pdf,

    The general structure of ESF is at https://www.fema.gov/media-library-d...tion_2008_.pdf
    Last edited by ATF SAC; 09-26-2017 at 12:06.
    ret.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimSpoor View Post
    Thanks for the links and breaking it down a little more. As a member of ICE/ERO who was on stand-by for both Harvey and Irma I and many of my teammates were wondering how ATF became the lead on this one. I've read the NRF and taken more NIMS classes than I care to remember but don't recall seeing organizational paperwork saying this agency will take the lead on _______; that agency will take the lead on __________; and so on.
    Any insight on how ATF got tasked with being the lead on this? Don't get me wrong I think they continue to do a good job. I was just curious why DHS/ICE were waiting on go / no-go decision from a DOJ agency.
    Long history on this dating back to Katrina, when ICE and specifically FPS was designated as the lead for ESF-13. On paper it made sense, but in reality FPS did not have the resources to handle that role and was thrown into it at the last minute. Following the after action review, and someone taking the time to look at the full ESF-13 responsibilities (which go well beyond security support), the decision was made to shift it to DOJ. ATF ended up as the lead with some support from other DOJ agencies in staffing the regional liaison officers at FEMA.

    Important role but also a thankless one, like most of emergency management. ATF isn't "in charge" of the LE response, they are the coordinator for FEMA in identifying available resources, getting the funding approved, and other steps that go into EM response to a national disaster. What you have is a whole lot of resources from various law enforcement agencies (not just federal), and a whole lot of requests for support from the impacted areas, including security for locations and responders, covering for police departments, responding to incidents, etc. ESF-13 handles matching one with the other, and getting FEMA to fund the request, all while dealing with the other ESF desks and overlapping/competing demands on a major incident. It's about as fun as it sounds.
    Last edited by nsedet; 09-26-2017 at 19:03.

  8. #8
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    It is as bad as we can imagine. Goods are backed up in distribution because of threats of hijacking. Folks are operating out of and living out of Fed office spaces including DEA and HIDTA. Communications are intermittent at the very best. Folks are lining up to buy food and you can wait in line from 5-12 hours to get $20 worth of gas, if there is any left when you get to the pump. About 40% of the Island are without water and it will be months before electricity is back. A driver of a fuel truck was murdered and the truck hijacked. 3 police officers are dead. Fighting at fuel and food locations is common and people are trying to flee the island because of the violence. The word from the VI is not better.

    In addition to the ESF 13 commitment of all agencies, teams are coming in specifically to support their agency folks. I'm not sure any of us have a full accounting and probably individuals stationed there have not had a chance to fully assess their loss.

    This is a great time to find your agency's associations and support foundations or good charities and pitch in. For the ATF folks around here take a look at the ATF Association Foundation (https://www.atfafoundation.org/) which is fundraising to help our folks.
    ret.

  9. #9
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    I have been on my agency's response team since 2004, was at Katrina, Harvey, and just returned form Irma. I'm on standby for PR and Nate, but I'm at the bottom of the list and others who have not yet been deployed are going right now.

    I seriously question the "whys" behind some of the decision-making that goes on. In fairness, I don't know whether or not it's ATF, specifically, who is making them.

    For example, I'm still trying to figure out why other agencies were out doing search and rescue at Harvey and why we sat on our hands, our boats parked in a row and not being used. Same with Irma, where we were pretty much the only self-sufficient team down there - outfitted with camping gear, food and water for a week or more, and boats of all sizes (and the training and experience to use them), and with every agent having a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Yet they sent two different IG teams to the Keys for SAR duties.

    I think there's also an issue with the way the powers that be respond to requests from the impacted localities. When we are activated and receive orders, we get a copy of the request which is supposed to detail what the local area needs. For Harvey, the request asked for 2500 LEO's, but only for "medium priority." There was no explanation on the request as to what those LEO's would be doing. Perhaps that's why we did nothing for 5 days. We watched other teams arrive, stay in hotels, demobilize, and then go home. After 5 days it was our turn to do the same.

    At Katrina, local PD's were devastated, many guys were living on a cruise ship because their homes had been destroyed, and many officers were not even accounted for or able to work until much later. Houston PD seemed to have no such issues. In fact - and I am not begrudging them this - but when you have time to have a full-honors funeral for one of your guys who drowned, complete with a motorcade, during the ESF-13 response, maybe it's time to rethink why you thought you needed 2500 LEO's to man your local hotels. Again, the guy certainly deserved it and the agency has a right to honor their fallen, but the timing clearly showed that they didn't really need the assets that were on hand.

    In fairness to the city, if I had been the guy filling out that request, I probably would have provided a high estimate on what we thought we needed. Of course, I would have had an actual plan for all of that help and would have included what I could. But more importantly, though, who in the G read that vague request and said "OK, here you go..." without any further scrutiny? I know that I and each member of my 25-person team left Houston with nothing but frustration, disgust and an almost $1400 hotel bill (not including travel and per diem), so I think there is a problem with the way assets get deployed.

    I don't know what the alternative is. Knowing the G, implementing any "process" by which proposed asset usage is scrutinized before being sent would take time that a lot of folks on the ground may not have.
    "I don't share your greed...the only card I need...is the Ace of Spades, the Ace of Spades..."

  10. #10
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    Krellum, forgive me if I'm okay with you being on the reinforcement side of one of these for a change. What you describe is under ESF 9, which is coordinated by FEMA under DHS. I can make a point through my connects, but maybe somebody else could help make a more direct point that with all these people in need we don't need to be wasting anything.
    ret.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATF SAC View Post
    Krellum, forgive me if I'm okay with you being on the reinforcement side of one of these for a change. What you describe is under ESF 9, which is coordinated by FEMA under DHS. I can make a point through my connects, but maybe somebody else could help make a more direct point that with all these people in need we don't need to be wasting anything.
    From personal experience, it's very difficult to project requirements with a large scale disaster response, especially for ESF-13 because of the wide range of agencies offering resources (local, state, federal, full service, tactical, etc) and the varied scope of needs covering everything from traditional police operations to fuel truck security to SAR. FEMA (including ATF in that) has to make a best-guess estimate based on requests from different EM agencies at the State level, which in turn is doing the same thing based on what they are getting from local and regional agencies. Tough to do and everyone wants to err on the side of worst case scenario, although sometimes that defies imagination. The end result is you get your boots on the ground, process the requests that come in from everywhere, and try to align one with the other while looking at spreadsheets, emails, and dry erase boards to figure out the capacities of teams you've probably never dealt with directly. You also have to deal with individual agency issues, and some are better than others at approving missions and communicating with their people on the ground.

    This process is tough even at the regional level, and significantly more so for a national event where you have responders from all over the country, public perception and political factors that shouldn't but can influence what requests get made, and other issues, all of which add up to a system that is frustrating at times but works well most of the time because of those redundancies.

  12. #12
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    I suspect that a lot of these agencies WANTED to be a part of a high profile incident like this. I suspect there were lots of senior folks suggesting "you should request this much..." to leaders in the impacted areas, and that's what drove the actual request more than a detailed needs assessment. The need seems to be different in PR where fed agents have been deputized and are out doing things like guarding fuel sites from looters, etc.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrishGrunt View Post
    The need seems to be different in PR where fed agents have been deputized and are out doing things like guarding fuel sites from looters, etc.
    That's pretty typical. It happened during Katrina and is not uncommon in large scale disasters even within CONUS.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsedet View Post
    That's pretty typical. It happened during Katrina and is not uncommon in large scale disasters even within CONUS.
    Yep, that's exactly what we did during Katrina.

    Jack, I should have specified that I'm talking about ESF-13 supporting ESF-9 during SAR missions.
    "I don't share your greed...the only card I need...is the Ace of Spades, the Ace of Spades..."

  15. #15
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    Okay, then I can at least bring to attention. Thanks
    ret.


 

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