Branstad arms ING, requests presidential disaster declaration

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Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad, as the commander-in-chief of the Iowa National Guard, today authorized Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr to strengthen current security measures and arm additional personnel at facilities under his purview, at the Adjutant General’s discretion, while he continues to assess security at National Guard facilities and recruiting stations. This action bolsters current security measures, which already include armed personnel at certain military facilities.

“I am pleased the Iowa National Guard, under the exemplary leadership of Major General Timorthy Orr, already had active security measures in place that included armed security at certain facilities prior to the terrorist attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last week,” Branstad said. “These brave men and women go to work every day to protect our state and nation. Today’s action strengthens current security measures and gives Major General Timorthy Orr the authorization to arm additional soldiers, at his discretion, at Iowa National Guard facilities and recruiting stations to protect themselves and others from danger.”

The announcement comes following Branstad’s meeting with Iowa’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., where the Iowa leaders discussed further collaboration to strengthen security measures, including authorizing military servicemen and servicewomen to be armed at military facilities and recruiting stations that are not under the Iowa National Guard’s purview.

On Monday, Branstad announced that he would take the additional step of seeking federal cooperation to address the issue nationally. As the co-chair of the Council of Governors, a group appointed by the president which advises federal officials on matters related to national security and the National Guard, Branstad will seek federal support to review policies on National Guard bases, military instillations and at recruiting stations to ensure our nation’s soldiers are safe and secure. Gov. Branstad will bring this matter up at the Council of Governors meeting today.

Branstad also signed a letter to be delivered to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 19 Iowa counties where significant damage was sustained from damaging winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, hail and thunderstorms from June 20-25. The counties included in this request are: Allamakee, Appanoose, Butler, Clayton, Dallas, Davis, Des Moines, Guthrie, Howard, Jefferson, Lee, Lucas, Marion, Mitchell, Monroe, Warren, Wayne, Winneshiek and Wright.

The governor requested funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program, which is used to rebuild damaged infrastructure that may include roads, bridges, culverts and other public facilities, or to cover costs of emergency work during, and debris removal after, the storms. A joint federal, state and local preliminary damage assessment of the 19 counties found the severe weather caused an estimated $5.1 million worth of damage that could be eligible under the Public Assistance Program.

The governor also requested funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities for the entire state.