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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Coordinating Military Deployments on Roads and Highways:
A Guide for State and Local Agencies

This publication is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.

Introduction and Purpose of the Guide

For the past several years, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has worked closely with the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) Transportation Engineering Agency (TEA) to improve support of military mobilization. The principal objective of this effort is to provide States with adequate coordination procedures to support military deployments while managing civilian traffic during national security emergencies. Successful coordination procedures and plans will ensure that the highway system operates effectively to meet military deployment and traffic emergencies.

Purpose of the Guide

The purpose of the guide is to assist States in developing and/or updating emergency operations plans or Emergency Highway Transportation Regulation (EHTR) Plans, where applicable. This guide provides useful information regarding military deployment concepts, State and local roles and responsibilities, recommended coordination procedures, and a number of special considerations such as communications capabilities, the use of intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies, and an increased awareness of force protection measures. The guide offers generic procedures for States to adopt in whole or in part when revising existing operations plans in preparing for and coordinating requirements during any national security event or emergency situation.

Typical Users of This Guide

This guide is written primarily for officials responsible for the development, coordination, implementation, and maintenance of State transportation emergency operations plans, including emergency response coordinators, traffic operations engineers or planners, and security specialists. The guide also contains information applicable to other functions and activities, such as commercial vehicle permitting, traffic engineering, incident management, ITS planning and operations, and law enforcement. Individuals involved in these processes should be consulted during the development of coordination procedures or plans.

The guide is generic and applicable to any State, but certain States have critical military installations and/or seaports that require a higher degree of coordination between State agencies and military installations. Consequently, the State Department of Transportation Emergency Response Coordinator (or the person responsible for developing procedures or plans) must coordinate with the appropriate military agencies, port organizations, and other State and local agencies, e.g., departments of public safety, offices of emergency management, and the National Guard to determine if current procedures differ from what is contained in this guide and make changes where necessary.

How to Use This Guide

This guide will enable planners and operators to understand the basic facts and procedures associated with military convoy movements, to develop or update State procedures or plans, and to be aware of and address special circumstances or conditions. Development of procedures will require interaction and concurrence with other agencies and organizations. The final approval and dissemination of the coordination procedures or plans will necessarily follow State agency policies.

Organization of This Guide

The main body of the guide describes key agency responsibilities and relationships, essential convoy activities, and recommended coordination procedures to ensure successful updates to existing plans. A section on special considerations and the appendices offer extensive background information and references. This guide is designed to serve as a quick reference document for State and local agencies and to encourage these agencies to use the guide to improve their preparedness for major deployments or national security emergencies.

Chapter 1 provides a general overview of the changing global nature of the military mission and the increased requirement for rapid military deployments. Chapter 2 is an overview of the roles of the six key agencies and organizations that have a significant function or responsibility in military deployments. Chapter 3 offers typical activities and considerations to prepare for and implement a major deployment and convoy movement. Chapter 3 also discusses special situations that may require additional coordination and response efforts, including rerouting a convoy, incident management, equipment failure, and convoy security. Chapter 3 concludes with a series of questions that agencies should use to assess their procedures before the actual convoy movement. The self-assessment questions may not apply to every situation or every State, but they can assist State agencies in asking pertinent questions to refine their plan. Chapter 4 presents a five-step framework for developing or updating procedures or plans. Chapter 5 contains a detailed examination of circumstances that are more challenging and provides potential options for mitigation: current concepts of force protection, telecommunication interoperability issues, current and future technology enhancements, and ITS that could be used during military emergencies or similar events for traffic operations.

The appendices include key terms, acronyms, and references. A detailed section on convoys will give State agencies a better understanding of how the military typically organizes convoys and how convoys operate on the roadway. The appendices also include a matrix listing military installations that are the main sources of equipment, their locations, and the commercial seaports and aerial ports that may be used for deploying forces and equipment.

The contents of this guide were collected from literature reviews, interviews, and a series of multiagency exercises conducted between 2002 and 2004. Each exercise allowed for approximately 35 representatives to explore the full range of military deployment needs in the context of transportation and public safety operations. Representative States included Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Washington.

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