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Ige Forms Dual-Status Command to Streamline Response to Kīlauea Eruption

May 16, 2018, 11:41 AM HST · Updated May 16, 11:42 AM
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Activity at Halema‘uma‘u crater increased on Tuesday morning to include the nearly continuous emission of ash with intermittent stronger pulses that form occasional higher plumes 1-2 kilometers (3,000 to 6,000 feet) above the ground. This photo shows the ash plume at about 9 a.m. HST on May 15, 2018. Tradewinds this morning are blowing the ash generally to the southwest toward the Ka`u Desert. The dark area to the right of the ash column rising from the Overlook crater is ash falling from the ash cloud to the ground. PC: US Geological Survey

Gov. David Y. Ige today announced the formation of a Dual-Status Command, Joint Task Force 50 in response to the Kīlauea lava flow on Hawai‘i Island.

Gov. Ige’s formal request to appoint Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara was submitted on Tuesday, May 15 and approved by Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis earlier today. 

The formation of this JTF establishes a clear chain of command to maintain operational unity between state and federal efforts and increase efficiency. For example, Gen. Hara now has the authority to command both the National Guard and active military forces to plan for and be ready to execute those plans should roadways in Puna be lost to lava and a mass air evacuation is necessary.

“I thank Secretary Mattis for his quick approval. This joint military task force will provide the necessary state and federal resources to Mayor Kim and his Civil Defense team. Together, we are committed to supporting the residents of Hawaiʻi Island in their time of need,” said Gov. Ige.

Hara is the Deputy Adjutant General and Commander of the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard. He will oversee a joint Hawaiʻi National Guard and active duty military joint task force. Based on the current threat the JTF may be required for Search and Rescue, Incident Awareness and Assessment, Debris Clearance, Security, and Emergency Evacuation. 

A 22 personnel JTF advance team was deployed to the Keaukaha Military Reservation in Hilo, on Monday, May 14 and began planning for potential missions. Pre-staging the advance team will enable faster response to requests for military support made by Hawaiʻi County.

Background information about the Dual Status Commander authority

The Dual Status Commander is a legally authorized military officer who assumes simultaneous but mutually exclusive command authority over both National Guard forces and Title 10 federal military forces. While state and federal military forces maintain separate and distinct chains of command, the Dual

Status Commander leads all military forces and directs their response efforts.

For more information about Dual Status Commander authority, click here.

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