The New York City metropolitan area is at great risk from coastal storm disasters due to the flooding effects of storm surge.Sea level rise increases the reach of storm surge and is therefore likely to increase flood damage most notably to Brooklyn, Queens, and the Long Island counties, and to a lesser extent in Westchester.
The Capstone team assessed the current New York National Guard (NYNG) response to coastal storm events. The main gaps in their response are the timeliness of their response and inefficiencies in the resource request system. NYNG units tagged for the Homeland Response Force (HRF) mission set, which entails responding to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosives (CBRN-E) scenario, are currently ‘fenced,’ meaning that they are last to be mobilized during other than CBRN-E missions. In other states such as Texas and Florida, all National Guard units, including the HRF, are available to respond if needed.
Based on the assessment, the team provided four recommendations. First, NYNG adopts an all-hazards approach to disaster response in order to enable quicker response times and provide increased capability. Second, HRF-tagged units should be integrated with Joint Task Force Empire Shield. Third, Further development and retention of language capabilities should be promoted to narrow gaps between the NYNG and populations affected by coastal storms. Lastly, emphasizing planning and preparation for NYC, Long Island, and Westchester is important.