Vice Adm John D. Alexander speaks at a Defense Support of Civil Authorities Senior Leadership Seminar in Los Angeles. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Natan Carpenter)

LOS ANGELES - Military and civilian leaders gathered during Los Angeles Fleet Week (LAFW) for a Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) seminar, Aug. 29.

DSCA is a process that allows U.S. military personnel and assets to assist in missions that are normally performed by civil authorities and is frequently employed in response to natural disasters.

“The world is changing very fast; the magnitude of disasters and the frequency of disasters is increasing exponentially,” said Aram Sahakian, general manager for the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department. “The partnerships and plans made here today no doubt will enable us to better respond and to better recover, and to protect our citizens in the city of Los Angeles.”

Seminars like this enable military and civilian leaders to engage with one other and to facilitate their ability to work together efficiently and effectively in response to a crisis.

“The most important thing in disaster relief management is the relationships that we have and coming together for these senior leadership seminars builds those relationships,” said Vice Adm. John D. Alexander, commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet. “For us to respond, we need to be ready, we need to be able to talk to one another and get ourselves organized.”

The seminar includes presentations on lessons learned from recent disaster responses, an overview of applicable laws and regulations and a panel discussion to show a snapshot of what happens at each level when resources are requested. Breakout sessions also allow more specific conversations on topic like debris clearance, medical and patient movement, port assessment and prioritization, and fuel logistics.

Many of the seminar participants will have the opportunity to engage with the public during LAFW to showcase their departments and encourage support and cooperation from them as well.