A Sept. 21 article misidentified the commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region, a new military headquarters in Washington responsible for land-based homeland defense. He is Army Maj. Gen. Galen B. Jackman, not Galen B. Jackson. (Published 9/23/04)
A new military headquarters at the District's Fort McNair will work to deter and respond to terrorist activities in the Washington region, bringing area military resources under a unique joint command that will prepare for attacks such as the strike on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region -- which is scheduled to be officially activated at a ceremony tomorrow -- will be largely responsible for land-based homeland defense and providing military support to local police departments and federal agencies in the wake of an attack.
Commanded by Army Maj. Gen. Galen B. Jackson, the joint force will be in charge of about 4,000 soldiers and focus on safeguarding obvious potential targets in the Washington region, such as the White House, the Capitol and the Pentagon. The group also has a headquarters staff of about 60 people working to compile threat data from the FBI and local government agencies.
"Now we don't have to wait for something to happen -- we're proactive, we're planning, we're training, rehearsing to defend the national capital region," said Barbara Owens, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. "It brings a number of resources under one command and unifies the effort."
The new headquarters will pull together the Army military district -- which is best known for its management of Arlington National Cemetery and funeral ceremonies -- the Naval District of Washington and smaller resources within the Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Rear Adm. Jan Gaudio, commandant of the naval district, will be second in command of the joint force, which answers to U.S. Northern Command, based in Colorado.
The joint force will be used to supplement response efforts in the Washington region, Owens said.
"We would assist the first responders," she said. "We would not be the lead, but would be in a support role."
The local headquarters has been operational since last fall and has responded to six events, including the discovery of poisonous ricin powder in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in February.
Thomas J. Lockwood, director of the Office for National Capital Region Coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, said that the department looked forward to working with the command, which would help civilian authorities contact the wide array of military units based around Washington.
"The Department of Homeland Security has been working with the Department of Defense on this project and is excited to see it come to fruition," Lockwood said in a statement. "There is a lot of value added for all entities in the national capital region to have one, direct point of contact for DOD assets and issues."
Staff writer Spencer Hsu contributed to this report.