Fort Meade, Maryland, –
The 2018 hurricane season brought a one-two punch from Hurricanes Florence and Michael in a three-week span. Various active-duty, reserve and National Guard forces were pressed into action, and the Joint Combat Camera Center coordinated the flow of visual information.
Combat Camera planners Matt Thomas and Steve Faulisi stayed busy throughout September and into October as forces moved into position to provide post-storm assistance.
Thomas and Faulisi worked with U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), based in Colorado Springs, to ensure all visual information from storm recovery efforts was getting to one place within DVIDS for public viewing and distribution.
While other departments and agencies also set up DVIDS feature pages, content was cross-tagged to appear on the NORTHCOM feature page as well.
However, Thomas said, getting all Public Affairs, Combat Camera and other visual information personnel to know the required tags was a challenge.
Among other things, the JCCC also provided daily customized reports on the feature page to USNORTHCOM, ensured all stakeholders were regularly briefed on visual information efforts, and coordinated with other federal and state agencies.
Thomas noted the JCCC’s efforts in this year’s storms was greatly aided by the lessons learned from Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017. For example, Requests For Forces (RFFs) were in place well ahead of this year’s hurricane season.
“From the Joint Combat Camera Center’s perspective, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) VI support to civil authorities during Hurricane Florence was very effective and organized; particularly deployment and control of PA, VI and COMCAM personnel. Throughout the storm response, the DoD’s
level of communication was timely and robust. Military services such as the Air Force were responsive and remained engaged,” Thomas said in an email.
JCCC Deputy Director Heather Norris observed that quality content is still a challenge, and that units should be very selective in what is uploaded.
The JCCC is conducting an after-action review for both storms, and they will provide recommendations for further improvements to quick-response visual information preparations.