Helping the East Coast recover from Hurricane Irene will test the military’s new plan to avoid the chaos that plagued the response to Hurricane Katrina.
The Defense Department says National Guard officers have been appointed as “dual-status commanders” to direct both active-duty and Guard troops helping civilian officials in New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island.
Normally, active-duty and Guard troops report up separate chains of command to the president on one side and the state’s governor on the other.
That division was blamed for some of the delays, duplications and gaps after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005.
The U.S. Northern Command, headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, began training high-level Guard officers last year to command both types of troops and quickly get help where it’s needed.