So Far, So Good

At least in New Orleans proper, Gustav seems to have let people off light. Keep checking with the Times-Picayune for details. There’s also some decent group-blogging of the storm going on at GustavBloggers.com.

One of my commenters felt I was a little quick overnight to pronounce this particular relief effort a failure. He reads too much into what I was saying. But I was concerned when I read Galrahn’s initial report on the Bataan’s departure for the Gulf Coast because there’s no hurricane response without command and control, and it looked possible the state capital, Baton Rouge, would take a hit. Now, in some places, the state government can be relied on to compensate. But New Orleans’ troubles three years ago were partly the result of failures by the Louisiana state government. The folks who run it have had time to recover, learn and prepare, but having failed once, the feds’ planning has to assume the state might fail again. That means being ready to take over the command and control function. To the extent the Bataan was a key tool for that, and looked likely to arrive late, that’s a problem.

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Gustav: Botched Already?

Galrahn thinks the Navy might be late to the party:

The USS Bataan (LHD 5) deployment is coming a day late, and it is particularly noteworthy the Navy will have difficulty deploying more ships from the east coast if necessary. Hurricane Hanna will soon be influencing the lines of communication at sea off the east coast of Florida, meaning after Monday any other ships will be forced to take the long route through heavy seas around Hanna to help in the Gulf Coast.

Gustav Line

Via Galrahn, the Department of Defense at least is ready for Hurricane Gustav:

The command has activated four defense coordinating elements at the regional FEMA headquarters. The command provides unique DoD capabilities for disaster response. Rowe said three active-duty military installations have been designated as FEMA logistics points: Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.; and the Naval Air Station at Meridian, Miss. 

The 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team in Fort Drum, N.Y., is the quick-reaction force for the homeland. “They are provided with situational awareness and provided with prepare-to-deploy orders if needed,” Rowe said. 

In addition, Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., has given direction to three amphibious ships — the USS Bataan, the USS Nassau and the USS Ponce — to be prepared to sortie if needed. The command also has at its disposal additional communications, engineering, and aviation units.

Unfortunately, it looks like they’ll be needed: