link to Home Page

icon Y2K Bug

Panic in the Year Zero
Service will provide assistance to FEMA
By Jon E. Dougherty, 1999

Americans were surprised during the past week to learn the National Guard and the US Army are making plans to provide "assistance" to civilian authorities in the event of a systemic meltdown of basic services as a result of Y2K-induced problems. Many may be equally surprised to learn that the US Naval Reserve will also be expected to provide assistance in the event of a domestic national emergency. Those provisions, which provide for military assistance to civilian authorities during national emergencies, are outlined in USC Title 42, Chapter 68 (Public Health and Welfare) and apply universally to the armed forces at the president's discretion. Like the National Guard and elements of the Army, however, the Naval Reserve will have key designated liaison officers working in conjunction with various Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel in affected regions of the country.

Specifically they are called "Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers" (NEPLO), and they were developed under a "Naval Reserve program designed to provide active duty commanders who serve as Regional Planning Agents (RPA) with trained personnel to assist the RPA in providing support to civilian authorities," according to Navy literature. ... The Navy -- as well as all other military branches associated with providing disaster assistance to civilian authority -- has been granted its liaison powers under the Robert T. Stafford Act. That act stipulates, in subsection 5221 of Title 42, Chapter 68, that "it is the intent of the Congress, by this chapter, to provide an orderly and continuing means of assistance by the Federal Government to State and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to alleviate the suffering and damage which result from "disasters."