Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, commander of Navy Region Southwest, delivers opening remarks during the annual Los Angeles Fleet Week Defense Support of Civil Authorities workshop. (U.S. Navy)

SAN PEDRO, Calif. - U.S. 3rd Fleet, Navy Region Southwest, local agencies and government officials gathered for the annual Los Angeles Fleet Week Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) workshop and senior leadership seminar, Aug. 27-28.

DSCA allows U.S. military personnel and assets to assist local governments with missions normally performed by civil authorities in response to natural disasters.

“DSCA workshops are excellent opportunities to have a conversation that can be held at all levels, before an actual disaster happens,” said Robbie Spears, emergency management coordinator for the City of Los Angeles and DSCA workshop coordinator. “A big part of it is relationship building. We come from different agencies with different points of view, and this workshop allows us to facilitate a conversation where we can translate different organizational needs or capabilities, whether it be at a city, state, federal or military level, and figure out how we can best work together.”

The workshop began with remarks from Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, Commander, Navy Region Southwest. Bolivar explained that workshops like this enable military and civilian leaders to hypothesize and plan for possible scenarios, highlight agency needs, capabilities and assets, and to engage with each other in a productive environment where they can discuss how to effectively work together to respond to a crisis.

“The force multiplying synergy that we have with our local governments and agencies is definitely key to responding to crisis,” said, Bolivar. “The relationships that we build at events like this one allows us to work together to recover from disasters, both inside and outside of our fence lines. I have been blessed and grateful for those partnerships with outside agencies and the teamwork that always evolves.”

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 workshop and seminar participants will have the opportunity to engage with the public during Los Angeles Fleet Week to showcase their departments and encourage support and cooperation from them as well.