The SAW RCO program mission is to prepare for and provide timely, consistent, and efficient execution of response and recovery operations required as a result of natural and man-made disasters, national emergencies, and military contingencies to save lives, protect property and the environment, and to meet basic human needs. Upon direction by South Atlantic Division, SAW will provide support to other Divisions/Districts in response to disasters in other areas.
PL 84-99 authorizes the Chief of Engineers, acting for the Secretary of the Army, to undertake activities including disaster preparedness, advance measures, emergency operations (flood response and post-flood recovery), rehabilitation of flood control works threatened or destroyed by flood, protection or repair of federally authorized shore protective works threatened or damaged by coastal storm, and provisions of emergency water due to drought or contaminated source, ER 500-1-1 provides a detailed discussion of this authority.
PL 93-288, (Stafford Act) constitutes the statutory authority for most Federal response activities, especially as they pertain to FEMA and FEMA programs. In accordance with this legislation, FEMA may direct USACE to utilize its available personnel, supplies, facilities, or other resources to provide assistance in the event of a major disaster or emergency declaration. The Department of Defense has designated USACE as the planning and operating agent for Emergency Support Function #3, Public Works and Engineering, under FEMA’s National Response Framework (NRF). FEMA’s NRF provides guidance for the Nation’s all-hazards response, identifies key response principles, roles, and structures that organize national response. It describes how communities, States, the Federal Government and private-sector and nongovernmental partners apply these principles for a coordinated, effective national response.