DENVER — Friday, July 6, 2012 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today praised the military for its support fighting the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires and asked U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta to end Dual Status Command authority.
That authority provided a unity of command for both National Guard and Active Duty forces responding to the two Colorado wildfires, which are now under control.
“We commend the effort from Department of Defense forces across the response spectrum,” Hickenlooper wrote in a letter to Panetta. “While loss of life and damage to property in Colorado were catastrophic, the presence of military forces in the state has been a vital component to preventing further destruction and restoring order in Colorado Springs. We want to extend our gratitude to General Jacoby, United States Northern Command, and the federal forces from our partner DoD installations for their rapid response and critical support during Colorado’s time of need.”
The Colorado National Guard and federal forces have established a strong partnership that will contribute to future success should response requirements emerge during the remainder of the wildfire season.
“This was the first time a Dual Status Commander has been established for a wildfire incident,” said Col. Peter Byrne, the Dual Status Commander of Joint Task Force Centennial. “I am honored to have been of service to both my state and nation, and to have been able to command such professional and skilled service members. This was a great honor and privilege.”
The state will re-establish Dual Status Command Authority under Joint Task Force Centennial again should the need arise.
“Based on recent accomplishments, our local and state leaders have great trust and confidence in the combined military team,” the governor’s letter said. “We will continue to use federal military units and personnel to assist in our recovery efforts.”