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Director of Operations, Readiness and Mobilization
The Center of Military History
The Pentagon
February 5, 2002
1 P R O C E E D I N G S
2 MR. SHIRER: Today is Tuesday, the 5th of
3 February, 2002. I am Frank Shier of the U.S. Army
4 Center, Military History, interviewing MG Pete
5 Chiarelli.
6 Sir, would you please give me your full name and
7 spell your last name, please?
8 MR. CHIARELLI: Okay. Peter William Chiarelli.
9 The last name's spelled C-h-i-a-r-e-1-l-i.
10 MR. SHIRER: And your current duty position, sir
11 is?
12 MG CHIARELLI: I'm the Director of Operations,
13 Readiness and Mobilization, and also I'm the DOMS,
14 Strengthen Military Support.
15 MR. SHIRER: Would you give me a little of your
16 background, sir, prior to your being acquainted?
17 MG CHIARELLI: I commanded at every level through
18 brigade, with a lot of operations experience. I was an
19 operator at the battalion level, a battalion S-3 for
20 two years and brigade S-3 for two years. I worked at
1 Corps G-3 for a year and a half and division G-3 for
2 two years.
3 In addition to that, I was at West Point for four
4 years, was an executive officer to GEN Wes Clark
5 during the Kosovo crisis, and ADC support for First
6 Cavalry Division, prior to be being here at the
7 Department of the Army.
8 MR. SHIRER: Prior to your becoming a general
9 officer, your basic branch was --
11 MR. SHIRER: Armor. Okay. What are your specific
12 responsibilities, sir?
13 MG CHIARELLI: I am in charge of current
14 operations here in the Department of the Army Operation
15 Center, also mobilization, mobilization of reserve
16 component forces, readiness, from the standpoint of
17 readiness reporting, and providing to the Chief of
18 Staff of the Army monthly USR reports, MRR, that
19 explains to him the readiness of the force, that's put
20 together monthly.
1 In addition to that, I'm the director of military
2 support. As the director of military support, I report
3 directly to the Secretary of the Army, who's been given
4 executive agency for support, military support, to
5 civilian authorities.
6 The line of command, or chain of command, goes
7 directly to the SECDEF, to the SEC Army, from the SEC
8 . Army to me in the DOMS, and in that DOMS role, I have
9 tasking authority over the services, to provide support
10 to civilian authorities.
11 MR. SHIRER: What was on your schedule on the
12 morning of 11 September, sir?
13 MG CHIARELLI: You know, I can't really remember.
14 I was down here at 9:00. I know I was supposed to go
15 to a meeting with Kathy Condon. She was down here and
16 we were both going to go.
17 I think in fact it was a DOMS update. The meeting
18 was scheduled to occur at 9:00 in the morning. I was
19 in my office at 9:00 in the morning when I was first
20 alerted to the fact that an aircraft had hit the World
a clean slate before I began that morning round of
1 Trade Center.
2 MR. SHIRER: And then after you heard that, did
3 you check into anything, or did you wait?
4 MG CHIARELLI: It's really kind of funny, not
5 funny, I mean, but when I think back upon it I was
6 getting ready to go to a meeting -- pretty intense on
7 getting through some e-mail, so that I had pretty well
9 meetings.
10 I'd only been in the job for just a little over a
11 month, had planned to do an exercise for the crisis
12 action team, the CAT, which has been stood up since
13 September 11.
14 In some of my pre-brief ings, in learning about the
15 job, it was briefed to me that the Crisis Action Team
16 had not stood up except for an exercise in about ten
17 years in any great role.
18 It really kind of went back to the Desert Storm --
19 not to say that it hadn't been up before. It had been
20 up as early as the millennium, when MG Cody had a
needed to be given a shakedown, a little bit of an exercise.
I had planned to stand up at CAT. I had planned an
exercise that, I had my folks design it for me on the 17th of
September, but I missed it by a couple of days.
I was in the office, clearly working to try to get
through some e-mails, make sure that I had a clean slate
going into the morning's round of meetings, when Kathy, Ms.
Condon, came down, and I believe she was going to escort me
back to an area in the AOC, Army Operations Center, called
the Foxhole. It is a little mini-command and control
operation that the folks in military support run, a little
mini CP, where they have all the links that they need to
federal agencies, such as FEMA and the kind of federal
agencies that we normally support in the event of military
support to civilian authorities.
When the red switch rang and it was GEN Burns from
FORSCOM, he is the DCSOPS of FORSCOM. He called and he said,
"Have you seen on CNN that something's run into the World
Trade Center?"
Now, I always have CNN on. I glanced up, looked -- I
had it on mute because I was kind of in a hurry. I can't
concentrate on getting my work done.
I looked up and saw the live reporting taking place,
showing something had, in fact, ran into the World Trade
I said goodbye to GEN Burns and took the t.v. off mute
just about then Kathy walked in. We listened to the initial
I remember some of the initial reports on CNN was it
could have been a plane. No one saw a plane. People thought
it was a rocket, thought it was something that could have
occurred, then the idea was that it was a small plane, and it
was really kind of confusing right around at 9:00 in the
At that time, it became a little bit more clear if I
remember right, that we had a really serious situation at the
World Trade Center, and I called for Kevin Stramara, my chief
of operations, ODO, and he has responsibility for the CAT,
called him in and he came in and I said, "Kevin, we need to
look at standing up at CAT because I believe we've got
ourselves a possibility of a mass casualty."
I've got to go back in time a little bit. One of the
in-briefings that I received, one of the things that we were
working on was a new mass casualty SOP for the Army.
I've got an organization down here called the PCC, and
PCC stands for Personnel Contingency Cell, I think is what it
stands for.
We'll need to check that out.
Basically that's the G-l representation and PERSCOM
representation down here in the Army operations center.
They had been directed, I believe, but you'll have the
check with them, by the chief to put together a new SOP.
About a week prior to that time, Robby Robinson, who was
a key and critical guy who worked with me in the aftermath of
11 September, along with two of us officers, came in to brief
me on their new SOP for mass casualty, in the event that we
had to handle another kind of gander like operation.
As part of that briefing, we decided to integrate a
scenario like that into my first CAT exercise. I .said "Hey,
not only is this a good SOP and a good plan, but at the same
time, to really make this good, what we need to do is
exercise it."
We had made the determination that in my CAT (Crisis
Action Team) exercise that I was going to run, we would go
ahead and use this SOP as a kind of exercise driver.
The real amazing thing of that SOP is that the scenario
was an aircraft crashing into the World Trade Center. That
was the driver and Robinson can give you the background on
MR. SHIRER: What rank is --
MG CHIARELLI: Robby is, I believe, a GS-15.
So, with that in mind, and having gone through that
briefing and sat down and talked to Robby about that and we
had all made a decision that we were going to kill two birds
with one stone.
I needed a driver for my exercise I wanted to run down
here. He had an SOP that he was working. We decided that we
would use a scenario similar to that to drive this exercise.
Of course, on 11 September, the first plane ran into the
World Trade Center. As things started to unravel and it
became clear an aircraft had run into the WTC.
It was unclear at that point whether or not it was a
terrorist action. I mean, deep down inside, everyone
suspected that, but when Kevin came in -- and this is just a
few minutes after -- we stared and looked at the t.v.
I told him, "Kevin, it's time to activate the CAT. Get
it set up."
He turned to walk out and as he turned, I remember,
that's when we saw the second aircraft go into the second
Both of us responded in the same way and that was, "My
God, they got that on tape," and when I talk to people, a lot
of people thought that. They thought that what they were
really seeing at that particular point in time was the first
aircraft crashing in, when in reality we saw that aircraft
come around and circle and crash into the second tower of the
World Trade Center.
Once we realized that that was the case, there was no
doubt -- and I remember looking at Kevin and saying, "Kevin,
who has responsibility for this building?"
He looked at me and said, "Responsibility?" and I said,
"My God, if there are other aircraft up there that have been
highjacked or if there are other aircraft getting ready to do
this, this building has got to be a target."
He said, "I don't know. I will check, but at first I'll
stand up the CAT."
MR. SHIRER: And "this building" means the Pentagon
MG CHIARELLI: This building meaning the Pentagon
We then went out -- no, we didn't go out. At that
moment, I got a call from the Chief of Staff of the Army.
The Chief was TDY, attending a conference in Singapore.
He had heard about the first aircraft that had gone in,
he called me, asked me to give him a SITREP [situation
All I could tell him, basically, was what I had seen on
the t.v. I didn't have any time to leave the room to go to
the CAT to check with the INTEL folks. We were really early
in the crisis.
At that moment, as I was talking to
him, I had a couple of folks from my ATIC, the Anti-Terrorism
Intelligence Cell, came in to indicate to me that there were
additional highjackers.
As I was telling the chief we'd had a second aircraft,
they handed me a note that there were additional highjackers,
and if I remember right, in their note or in their -- I don't
know if it was in their note or whispering in my ear -- they
told me one of the aircraft was suspected to be heading for
Washington, B.C.
The chief asked me a question. I indicated to him that
I really had no other information except that there is a
possibility of another aircraft.
Having a lot of operations experience, he immediately
realized that I had a lot to do other than to talk to him in
Singapore, and he said, "Pete, it sounds like you really got
a lot going on back there. You need to do that. I'll call
you later," because now the information was coming in fast
and furious.
General and I, GEN Shinseki and I had a special
relationship because I was his G-3 when he was division
commander, First Cavalry Division, so we worked with each at
least in training situations and similar kind of high stress
I think we knew each other very well. He knew me and he
knew that we had a lot that to do. I indicated to him that
there was other aircraft.
He immediately knew that there was little he could do
from Singapore, that he would call me later, and for that,
I'll be forever appreciative, to have that occur because
there was other things to do.
We then went out on the CAT floor. The leadership of
the Army started to show up and at least started to call
down. I think one of the very first people to get down here
was GEN Kensinger.
GEN Larry R. Ellis was the DCSOPS, the G-3. He had left
his office, I believe, and you need to check with him, when
the first aircraft hit, and when he got word that it was an
aircraft -- possibly it could have been just after the second
aircraft -- to come down here to see what we were doing as
far as standing up the CAP.
Because the DCSOPS of the Army was also TOY. In fact,
he was on leave, if I'm not mistaken. He was on leave in the
Caribbean. I think he was in Jamaica -- GEN Ellis.
MR. SHIRER: LTG Ellis is the DCSOPS.
MG CHIARELLI: Larry Ellis was the DCSOPS.
MR. SHIRER: And the man who came down here was --
MG CHIARELLI: MG Kensinger was the ADCSOPS,, K-e-n-s-i-
n-g-e-r, Philip. He left his office.
I don't know if you know, his office was the one that
received the most damage in the G-3 area. That's where his
secretary and his aid died that morning, but he had left his
He has very little left of anything. All he's got is his
colors from one of the units he commanded. In fact, the only
thing he really has left, after going through the personal
effects, is the emblem of his unit. All the rest of it, flag
and the sign and everything, was burned away. The flag is
quite a touching piece to see, that emblem of an embroidered
unit with everything else burned away. The fire stopped when
it hit the emblem.
But he came downstairs. I went on to the CAT floor,
asked again who could provide any kind of defense for the
It was at that time the INTEL folks came back in' and
told me that they had credible information that one of the
aircraft was headed for B.C. and it was right about then that
we heard the noise and the building had been hit. The third
aircraft impacted, and it impacted on the building.
The effects down here were nothing but a muffled noise,
at first. Additional folks coming downstairs, initial
reports of damage upstairs. Initial reports of a fire took
I was getting additional reports from my INTEL guys,
telling me that we had upwards of a minimum of four aircraft
that were highjacked and a possibility, at one time, as high
as seven.
There was reports of one coming in from Europe that one
was flashing the international distress signal. I think it's
something about the flaps or something that it was doing as
it was coming in.
There was a report of another aircraft out in Los
Angeles and we had one out in the Pacific. I think we were
up as high as seven at one point.
Just about that time, the Vice Chief of Staff of the
Army [GEN John M. Keane], who was a senior man, arrived in
the balcony. You'll have to look at the set-up of the crisis
action team on the CAT floor and how it works. I'll try to
explain the CAT floor. All the workers and everyone who mans
the operational cell of the Title 10 headquarters, is down on
a floor on its own, and one floor above it sits a balcony
that overlooks that floor, and in that balcony are rows of
seats that are glassed in.
The glass is such and the balcony is such that you can
yell as loud as you want down on the CAT floor and they don't
hear a thing you're saying upstairs.
All communications is done by a hand mike that we have
and that balcony is soundproof. They look straight forward
onto four gigantic screens that are up above all the computer
workstations. You probably want to go out there to take a
look at what that looks like. Where we prepare the briefing
or any kind of the other graphics that we want to show them
at that time.
We had people starting to wander in. We had gone
through a telephonic alert. We have a machine called a
dialogic machine that automatically goes out and calls people
to come on down, but we had done a dialogic test to see how
good our alert rosters were the week before, and made some
corrections. That was kind of the ramp-up for my exercise I
was going to run.
The dialogic of a machine is nothing other than an
automatic machine, a phone machine, that automatically calls
you up and gives you a recorded message, a prerecorded
message, and tells you to report immediately to wherever it
might be, in this instance it was to report to the CAT floor.
The numbers are all preprogrammed in.
You put in the tape, you run it, and it goes out on four
separate lines.
It contacts a lot of people in about, you know, a
fraction of the time it would take an individual to sit down
and dial those numbers individually. It continues to call
you at a number of different numbers until you finally answer
or it runs out of time.
So it will call your telephone number, your cell number,
and your pager number.
People are starting to filter in now on the CAT floor.
Some of my folks had been here for a while. Some of the
civilians were kind of directing people to where they needed
to go, helping them turn on computers, get things cranked up,
start talking to folks.
Calls started to come in from Force Com One, wanting to
know what our status was. I knew the building had been hit.
The vice showed up in the building. He asked for a SITREP
of what I knew.
I was able to tell him basically what had occurred at
the World Trade Center. We were able to tell him that the
building had been, he knew the building had been hit, and
that there were other aircraft in the air.
Around that time we got two additional reports -- I
think at the height of our reporting, we had three
unaccounted for aircraft. We had an explosion on Capitol
Hill that was reported to us. We had an explosion at the
State Department that was reported to us, neither of which
proved to be true.
There were a number of false reports that we got. Then
we got word of the crash of the aircraft in Pennsylvania. I
got word that the Air Force was flexing to put a CAP [Combat
Air Patrol] up, over Washington, B.C.
We even got a report of an explosion outside of the
White House. That was one of the very last reports we got.
And then the Secretary of the Army (Sec Army) [Mr.
Thomas E. White] came down. Things were starting to get real
confusing now because it's one thing to have all these things
occurring but it's another thing to have your CP hit and in
reality, it was like our command post had been hit.
We went through all this and at the same time, the
building had been hit.
The Sec Army came down to the building. We got early
reports of the extent of the fire. We got word that the
Joint Staff was evacuating, and in fact we even got word that
(Interruption to tape.)
MR. SHIER: Resuming the interview.
MG CHIARELLI: At this time, the balcony started to fill
with senior leadership. I think more than would have
normally come down, came down, quite frankly, because a large
portion of the Army section of the building had been
People had been forced out of their space. They were
looking for someplace to go.
I remember LTG John M. Pickler was out of the building.
He was the Director of the Army Staff (DAS) at the time. As
we were trying to account for people and figure out where the
key leadership were, he was one of the early people we were
trying to find out where he was, we were worried that he had
been hurt in the attack.
I remember getting a phone call from him later on in the
day. He said that he was fine and he was with a bunch of
other folks that we were outside the building, trying to
evaluate whether or not to try to get back in the building.
When the Secretary of the Army came down to the
building, we gave him as many reports as we possibly could.
People were intent on watching CNN. We were standing at the
CAT cell, trying to get a feel for exactly where the building
had been hit.
That became clearer and clearer and we realized early on
that we had a problem, that we were going to have to attack
them as soon as we can, and that was the accountability for
the command.
It's one thing to do in a unit, where you have alert
rosters and a predominance of military folks who are used to
being on an alert roster and being accounted for.
It's a totally different thing when you realize that not
only does this building have a lot of military folks, it has
as many, if not more civilian folks that are part of the
Department of the Army staff.
It was a very volatile building with people moving
around. People have meetings, they're in different parts of
the building. It was a very, very daunting task.
It proved to totally occupy my time for the first 36 to
72 hours of the crisis.
At one time we got word that we were going to exercise a
relocation plan of key leaders to a place called Site R. I
had the NCO who ran that program, and I had been briefed on
that, I think about two weeks before I got an hour briefing
on the relocation and continuity of operations plan (COOP).
The NCO came down and was down on the CAT floor,
standing next to me. He is unbelievable NCO, one of the
finest I've ever served with.
He understood this plan inside and out, and immediately
started whispering in my ear, when I needed it, the details
of continuity of operations; where buses would be to pick up
people should we have to leave the building, where we would
At one time we got word that there had been a COOP, a
specific stage of the COOP exercise had been ordered, and at
this time, the Secretary of the Army was up with the Vice.
We informed the Secretary that it was time for him to
leave. He communicated he was not leaving. He was staying
in the building.
We knew by the regulation that he had no choice. The
NCO looked at me and said, "Sir, he has no choice at this
time. This has been directed and he must immediately proceed
to leave here. This is bigger than him. This is continuity
of the government of the United States."
I remember looking at him and saying, "Are you sure of
this?" And he said, "Yes, I'm sure. Sir, you need to go up
and tell him he needs to get up and go."
And I remember -- I had been in the job for less than a
month, and having heard just a few minutes ago that there was
a CAP over the building -- I was about to leave my desk, walk
upstairs to the balcony, walk down to the Secretary of the
Army and basically order him out of the building, along with
my NCOs, thinking, "My God, when is somebody going to wake me
up. When is this horrible, horrible dream going to end!"
But it didn't end, as we all know.
I left with the good sergeant and we walked upstairs,
and I will think of his name in a second. I apologize.
We went upstairs and I basically leaned over between the
Vice and the Secretary of the Army, they were sitting next to
each other, and so informed the Secretary that he had no
choice. He was bound to do this. We had gotten word that
this portion of the implementation plan was in effect and
that he must proceed directly to a specified place in the
building where he would get in a helicopter and leave.
He said, "Well, how do I get there?" I said, "The
Sergeant will lead." Sure enough he said, "All right," and
off he goes.
Only to find out later on, like most reports go, this
was the phenomena of the first report -- something I know
very, very well but it was one of those where you couldn't
take a chance, where we had verified the information and were
told yes, we found out that it wasn't required for him to
leave at that particular point in time, because the level of
evacuation did not reach his level, but it was, in reality, a
splitting of some key and critical people in the national
command authority to go to a different site, but it was not a
requirement, and the person who had told us had misspoke over
the phone -- only to find out that we kicked the Secretary of
the Army out of the building to get into a helicopter to fly
to a location, when he in fact really didn't have to.
At that time, I wondered if I still had my job, because
I knew he would not be pleased. When he got back, it was
kind of a joke at the time but at the same time he did come
back, about four hours later -- was not happy that he had to
leave, but totally understood what had occurred -- I think he
had been with the Deputy Secretary of Defense (DEPSECDEF) had
been on the same helicopter that he was on.
At one time we had understood that there were four other
aircraft; we were still tracking one over the Atlantic,
tracking one that we thought was coming from the Los Angeles
Once we got through all those pieces, we kind of settled
down into a mode of trying to determine what had happened in
the building.
At the same time, I was starting to get calls from
Capitol Hill, and the sergeant -- and I think it was
sergeant-of-arms at Capitol Hill, a Major General (Retired),
MP Corps, again, I'll have to get you his name later on. He
had been recently appointed as the Sergeant of Arms, but I'll
have to verify that for you.
Having his connections with the Army and having a whole
bunch of folks up on Capitol Hill in the form of congressmen
and senators who were very, very concerned and did not know
what the hell was going on, thought we knew everything down
He called down and asked us to get somebody who could
brief him and get him a secure phone he could use so he could
talk. His name is Lenhardt, L-e-n-h-a-r-d-t, I believe, but
I'll have to check that spelling, Major General, retired. He
started to call down here repeatedly, asking for assistance,
assistance which we rendered later on in the day.
The Vice directed that what we needed to start doing
immediately was try and get accountability of the command,
and we started the entire process that went on through that
night and into the next day or two.
In addition, we began to try to get LTG Ellis back from
where he was, and GEN Shinseki back from Singapore,. GEN
Shinseki created some problems for us because all U. S. air
space had been shut down.
We knew he was going to have to fly from the west coast
of the United States all the way to Washington, B.C. but we
were able to arrange that without too many problems, and I
went out to pick him up at the airport the next night, along
with some other folks to give him a report on where we were
on the accountability of who we thought we had missing.
Our initial count, as we started to work our way through
that, started somewhere in the vicinity of over 200 folks. I
believe by the time I went on to change into BDUs about 3:00
in the morning, we had that number down to about 36 folks,
but then the number grew back up again.
It grew back up the next day as one of the civilian
agencies, that we thought had been rolled up under another
agency, and we got some bad reporting from an almost total
civilian agency that told us that they had some additional
people, so that drove our final number.
I tell you that now because that created some angst. We
thought we were down around 30 and I believe we ended up on
the vicinity of about 80 folks in total.
God, I thought I'd never forget that number exactly, but
I have over the last five months.
One of the things that we attempted to try and
immediately establish was a call-in line. As confusing as
everything was, we wanted to get a feel for people who had
not shown up back home in hopes that that would help us to
determine who was missing, if in fact we got some bogus
reports, so we had something else that we could bounce off.
My concern was a call-in line would also give us an
opportunity to bounce statistics or thoughts that people had
about people being missing against our list, to try to
justify, so that we could get it down to the exact number.
We were working really, really hard to establish that, to set
up the 10 lines and do that, initially down here, and then we
wanted to move it out to PERSCOM -- a 1-800 number -- got it
set up at 10:0011:00 on the night of September llth. We
started receiving calls from folks who felt that they had
loved ones or friends that were missing.
We started to justify and to work all those.
I remember there was one young man who was down here
working for like three days straight, a sergeant who didn't
go home, and I can't remember his name -- but the sergeant
major might be able to help you.
Then we got a tip that he was missing. His family
called in and said he was missing, only to find out that he
was literally down here and had been down here for 72 hours.
His only sin was that he failed to call home, which we
chewed him out for, but at the same time it was kind of
He was only down here working his tail off and making
sure things got down, and never called home.
I also remember in the middle of events, my son called
in on a line down here, wanted to know if I was okay. I'm
answering the phone on the CAT floor -- "GEN Chiarelli" -- to
find out it was my son who said, "Dad, are you okay?" because
I too had forgotten to call home, at about the eight hour
But accounting for people and those things -- that was
basically what we were doing the first day.
MR. SHIRER: Once you got past the first day, what did
you move into in the way of either current operations or the
DOMs civil support?
MG CHIARELLI: That's a good one and I kind of need to
go back on that.
One of the very first things that I was very interested
in, from the DOM side, was whether or not this was going to
be consequence management or crisis management.
I think that maybe Kathy Condon explained to you there's
a difference between the two, and normally, after the fact
when you have a horrific event like this, this goes into
crisis management, and the responsibilities for military
support shift on over to the Joint Staff, and the Joint staff
takes on the responsibility for providing support to lead
federal agencies in that role, in crisis management.
It's something that they worked out before I got here.
She can give you more of the background about it.
MR. SHIRER: She discussed that.
MG CHIARELLI: All I knew was that the first initial cut
was, the cut that I thought it would be is crisis management,
DOMs you're out of it, joint staff will handle it.
One of the very first things on the very first morning
is I got a call from MG William E. Ward, the J-31, Kip Ward,
W-a-r-d, a major general working on the Joint Staff, in
fact, it wasn't from MG Ward. The very first call I got was
from an individual -- he indicated MG John A. Van Alstyne,
who was working over in the Family Health Center with David
Chu -- and again, you'll have to get exactly the title of
that place that MG Van Alstyne was working, but he was
working a lot of survivor assistance family issues -- called
to let somebody know that the Joint Staff was just becoming
inundated with DOMs requests and they really didn't know how
to handle them. It was causing all kinds of problems for
I think rather than me call MG Ward it was me hearing
that and calling MG Ward and say, "Hey, Sir. I understand
you guys are new at this. You don't do it very often".
I was lucky enough to have gone through the fire-
fighting in my first month here. We had dispatched folks to
go fight fires, in the western United States, and in that
process I had kind of gotten an intro into DOMS and how DOMS
worked, how we cut orders, how we got people supporting
federal agencies.
We'd also gone through a massive planning exercise for
them. I don't know if you remember or not, but the World
Bank was set to meet in Washington, D.C.
If I'm not mistaken, it was the weekend of the 28th or
29th of September and it was one of the big things I had
worked on my first month was planning for that.
We were expecting demonstrators, kind of like had
occurred in Seattle, possibly, or in Italy, after Seattle --
and were really worried about that, and the District, the
Department -- everybody was going through a lot of planning
exercises to try to determine how we were going to respond to
that, whether or not the military should position troops up
here, so I had had all of that experience, and the ability to
go through that, and I felt pretty comfortable with how that
process worked.
And Kathy was just a fantastic assistant, she helped in
that whole process. She stayed with me the entire time for
seven or eight days down here. She didn't leave down here,
except to go home and get a couple hours of sleep, seven days
a week.
I felt so good about that relationship and what we did,
as it played itself out, but more about that later.
But when that decision was made, it took DOMS out of the
We heard that the Joint Staff was having problems. I
picked up the red switch that morning, the morning of the
12th. I called MG Ward, "Hey, I understand you're having
problems. I'll be more than happy to send some of my guys
who are used to cutting these orders and working through this
with your guys, if they can be of help."
He said, yeah, he'd like that. I think it was about two
or three hours later, that we got the word that the Joint
Staff didn't want to do this anymore. It was too much for
them to handle with everything else they had going on. They
wanted to throw it back to us.
The Secretary of Defense, SECDEF, I think, signed a
piece of paper that said that "DOMS, you have it again."
What is kind of amazing about this whole thing was that
we were going through a process at that time, during the
first month that I was here, about wanting to take DOMS away
from the Army, wanting to take the DOMS out of the Army.
People were saying that the system didn't work well.
We've been doing it for 40 years. We felt that the Army's
been doing this for 40 years, but when we moved more to
jointness and everything, the idea that the civil service
would be doing this is that the Army Major General working
with the Secretary of the Army would be the one who had joint
tasking authority, to do a task for forces that maybe the
chairman didn't know about and so on and so forth.
Even though requests have to go through the EXEC SEC who
works for the SECDEF and then down to Sec Army. They don't
come directly to the Sec Army.
We're been fighting this kind of guerrilla warfare to
try and keep DOMS down here and thought for a while that we
were going to lose it. In fact, I think the decision had
been made and it tanked, just before September llth.
We begin a process to turn DOMS over to the Joint Staff
and Army would get out of that business down here, only to go
through this and have it occur -- that first it was taken
away from us, on September llth, and then given back to us on
September 12th, because the Joint Staff couldn't handle it.
There was, you know, a natural feeling of "Well, we told
you guys," you know, and we began processing requests for
military support and did it very, very efficiently and very,
very well.
A lot of that goes for the great people back in what we
call Office of Military Support, but a lot of credit for that
goes to Kathy Condon, Assistant Secretary of the Army for
Military Support. She just did a super job. I mean, a real
team effort, and I know it's exactly what the Secretary of
the Army is trying to get to in reorganization, where you
don't have the civilian side and the military side.
We had an integrated staff who were working on both
ends, and she realized that at this particular point in time
with everything going on, that I had more than enough that I
could handle from an operations standpoint, because the
initial requirements for DOMS was pretty.
She knew I had a lot to do in the operations side and it
just wasn't to support the civilian authorities. There was
real world operations going on here that I would have to get
involved in.
She basically ran that operation, I mean the military
support side. We were in tandem as I worked, put my focus on
the operations side.
I'11 be forever thankful to her for the way she handled
that whole piece and did it, kind of led me through it. She
has the experience. It worked exactly the way it's supposed
to work.
The civilian is here, and here's the group of people who
understand how this thing has morphed through time, helping
the military guy who rolls in for a shorter period of time.
He's basically new to the job, and she took a big load off of
my back and assisted me in a critical area, but I didn't have
to worry about it. I wasn't totally out of it, but I didn't
have to worry about it because she helped me out through the
whole process.
MR. SHIRER: Did she keep you fully involved on what was
going on?
MR. SHIRER: I'm going to take a pause so I can switch
the tape.
(End side A.)
MR. SHIER: Resuming on side two.
MG CHIARELLI: So Kathy was just outstanding assistance,
she ran DOMS. What we both found amazing as we got into this
-- I'm going to jump ahead a little bit and kind of recap the
whole DOMS piece.
What was really kind of amazing was just how prepared
New York City was. I just learned a tremendous lesson that
it kind of resides down here in DOMS, and maybe the rest of
the building doesn't understand is that we are the third
resource that the public comes to for assistance.
The first resource is always the first responders who
are the police and firemen. How they responded to what
The second is the governor has his national guard, his
militia that he can call out.
We saw what happened in New York. A lot of people are
confused today that all the soldiers they saw on the streets
in New York were Title 10 active duty forces. There were
very few. If you saw one on t.v. you're probably the only
person who saw one.
In reality they were all Title 32 -- New York and
surrounding states. I think they got some assistance from
New Jersey and some other states that they have contacts
And the third resource, when neither one of those can do
it, is to come to the federal government to a relief federal
agency, and in this instance it was FEMA, who provided us
with RFA, requests for assistance. They sent RFAs up through
the EXECSEC [Executive Secretary] that we would either
approve or not approve. The real amazing thing to kind of
sum up that was the ability of New York and New York City to
handle that with really very little federal assistance.
That's sometimes lost on people -- I think as we get
into the whole debates about homeland security right now --
that we feel a need to be there with the active duty guy
assisting everyone -- and I try to school people to say that,
you know, New York's a perfect example.
There's many states that are very, very capable of
handling this. God, when you think about the limited number
of people from federal assistance, in the form of military
support, that went to the state of New York, given what
occurred to them, is really kind of fantastic. Unbelievable
that they were as prepared as they were. They were
tremendously prepared.
So that whole DOMS piece was very illustrative and very
helpful for me in understanding how all this works.
MR. SHXRER: Is the DOMS portion still ongoing?
MG CHIARELLI: Still ongoing, albeit we do not have that
much more that's going out for Noble Eagle and DOMS. It's
mostly in the chemical and biological monitoring area, but we
ended up with a total of, in the vicinity of 70 to 80
requests for assistance, ranging across all services.
We provided support in the Army, in many areas, robotics
and some other things we assisted with.
The Navy provided the Comfort, the hospital ship that
went up there and stayed at a pier there. It provided a
respite, kind of a floating hotel for first responders,
firefighters, policemen who were working the incident site to
come down, take a shower, clean up, get a fresh meal and
maybe a couple hours of sleep for a period of time.
But all the services provided, almost equally, the bits
and pieces that were necessary and helpful to the state.
The state government did not have the military
assistance for it.
MR. SHIRER: Here at the AOC you start on 24-hour
operations with your crisis action team and are continuing on
MG CHIARELLI: We have been on 24-7 since the llth of
September. A different group of people now. We can talk
about that at a later time, but at that time everybody who
reacted down to the CAT were all active duty folks who had
other jobs from other locations, who came down here and
manned their stations.
We organized a rotation so we could go 24-7. For the
first 35 days, we had the same people on CAT shifts, that
went about 13 and 1/2 hour days apiece, with switch-over
briefs, for 35 days straight, without a relief. They were
working 14 hours.
MR. SHIRER: What is your evaluation after the real-life
execution of where you thought you were?
MG CHIARELLI: We had all kinds of problems that I wish
I had had the opportunity to work out. From messaging
problems, making sure that our messaging system worked to
standard SOPs and how you did things.
I'm tremendously impressed with the ability of the
organization to quickly learn and stand itself up, but there
was definitely some cobwebs. We made some mistakes. None of
them were critical. None of them cost anybody lives or even
injury, but we made some mistakes in those early days kind of
getting up, getting the ball rolling.
We still make mistakes today. You're constantly
learning in this business.
One of the very first things we had to tackle, once we
got past accountability for the command, once you got past
the initial onslaught of requests for federal assistance that
occurred, was force protection.
A fear that something else was going to happen
someplace, and what we could do to provide forces to support
home stations, it was that force protection, initially at
military locations but then it started to grow.
MR. SHIRER: Why don't we stop here.
MR. SHIRER: Where shall we start next time?
MG CHIARELLI: If we take up on that role of force
protections, start there.
MG CHIARELLI: That would be a good one, to kind of show
how that whole piece builds.
MR. SHIRER: Okay, sir, I thank you very much for your
time and this concludes the first session with MG Chiarelli.
MG CHIARELLI: Thank you, sir.
MR. SHIRER: Thank you.
(The interview was concluded.)
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