Mission: establish Joint Task Force Katrina and provide command and control of Department of Defense assets in the Joint Operational Area (Louisiana & Mississippi).
- search and rescue, life-saving operations
- provide food and water
- evacuate individuals from New Orleans to the Astrodome in Houston.
- Mississippi: from the Gulf of Mexico to about three miles North, most of the infrastructure is destroyed. North of that line to I-20 in Mississippi, most of the infrastructure is severely damaged. Much larger area than Louisiana with a lot more isolated/dispersed communities.
- New Orleans: primary threat is flooding -- prohibits surface transportation. Isolated communities are surrounded with water up to five to six feet. Many people have been evacuated to the Superdome area, many are on high streets, and a part of the population took refuge in tall buildings.
- Roughly 60,000 people in New Orleans. A large number of them are at the Superdome, but people are still scattered in communities in isolated areas.
- Security is being provided by the New Orleans police and Louisiana National Guard.
- 4,700 National Guard currently in Louisiana; 7,400 by end of day (Thursday); 8,600 by Friday; 12,000 by Saturday.
- 2,700 National Guard currently in Mississippi; 6,000 by end of day (Thursday); 9,500 by Friday; 12,000 by Saturday.
- National Guard units are on the road flowing in to New Orleans and Mississippi.
- Between 3pm Wednesday afternoon and midnight, 600 patients from the Superdome area had been flown to area hospitals for onward movement and care.
- Helicopter capability has been increased -- two battalions from Fort Hood arrived Wednesday. The Coast Guard and Louisiana National Guard are coordinating the effort to synchronize the helicopters and their distribution of patients.
- Significant naval presence. The Bataan is moving to Biloxi to support the operations in Mississippi.
- United States Air Force is providing strategic lift to bring in units, supplies, and equipment. Primary re-supply areas into Mississippi are the Gulfport Airport and Meridian; in Louisiana, it's the Belle Chasse Airport and the New Orleans International Airport.
- Louisiana Governor has marshaled school buses from throughout the state to transport people to the Astrodome. FEMA is providing 500 buses to transport people to Astrodome. Started moving people by bus to Astrodome Wednesday evening. Operation will continue until New Orleans is completely evacuated.
Lieutenant General Russell L. Honoré is also Commander, First U.S. Army.
He previously was Commander, Standing Joint Force Headquarters-Homeland Security, U.S. Northern Command until June 1, 2004.
Other assignments: General Honoré was the Commanding General, 2d Infantry Division, Korea; Vice Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.; Deputy Commanding General/Assistant Commandant, United States Army Infantry Center and School, Fort Benning, Georgia; and the Assistant Division Commander, Maneuver/Support, 1st Calvary Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He has also served as the Brigade Commander, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia; Senior Mechanized Observer/Controller ("Scorpion 07"), National Training Center (25 Rotations); and Commander, 4th Battalion, 16th Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Germany.
General Honoré's awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (four Oak Leaf Clusters), the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal (two Bronze Service Stars), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal (one Bronze Service Star) the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (4), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi), the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. Qualification badges include the Expert Infantry Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Joint Staff Identification Badge.