On Rockaway Beach, the troops have landed
Marines set up a water pump to clear out the basement of an apartment complex in Far Rockaway, New York, Nov. 4, 2012.
November 5th, 2012
03:38 PM ET

On Rockaway Beach, the troops have landed

By Libby Lewis, CNN

(CNN) - Federal troops are now directly involved in Hurricane Sandy operations – along with state National Guardsmen and local police and emergency responders.

The military has long been the backup for local and state responders in major disasters. What’s changed over time is who’s in charge.

For those Marines helping out in Rockaway Beach and Staten Island, the answer is: New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

New York National Guard Brigadier General Michael Swezey works for Cuomo, and he’s one of six people who has a rare power, the power to command both state and federal forces, if necessary, to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

We checked in with Swezey before the Marines arrived in New York to help out:

[1:06] "I actually have federal orders in my hands that will allow me to command federal forces if they’re required to come into New York State."

Working alongside Swezey is a U.S. Air Force colonel based at NORTHCOM, the unified command created on U.S. soil after the 9-11 terrorist attacks to protect the homeland.

The hand in glove coordination has been evolving over the past decade – but it took the calamity of Hurricane Katrina to push it. It took legal changes – and a lot more to bring about, says Col. Kenneth Ring, an Indiana National Guardsman who wrote a strategy paper on the topic when he was at Army War College. One thing that helped a lot Ring says: the way the U.S. manned the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

[4:51] "The last 11 years of war has had the National Guard and the federal forces working very closely together. Those interactions have built that trust and relationship – and that trust has carried back stateside."

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Vera Waitress

    God bless our troops. I am glad they're coming home.

    November 6, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. Whizerd67

    The storm after the storm.

    And so it begins.

    Good luck everyone. We're going to need it.

    ~Blessed Be to all~

    November 6, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. sly

    My goodness, some of these angry young Americans seem rather outdated in their attacks ....

    November 6, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. rad666

    I sure hope this storm does not let Congress fail in sending out checks for billions to foreign nations.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. ronjayaz

    I just dont know how to avoid idiots but then I think if no one challenges them they might think they're right! IB's surfing is that he's suffering from a wet brain. He's been taking in too much water! A more original approach wud be to call it "The O'Bama Litany with the usual response "May U die before the devil knows yor ded."

    November 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NC828

    The troops may have landed in Rockaway Beach but they have been evicted from their Manhattan armory for a Victoria's Secret video.

    November 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. blackbeard79

    Maybe CNN got confused by our North Korean style political system, wherein power transfers between blood relatives (Bush, Cuomo, Kennedy), and they just assumed that one Cuomo is as good as the other....

    November 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Oxnard Montalvo

    Gov. Mario Cuomo?
    Come on, Barbie. Go play with your toys.

    November 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. stephanie

    What I don't understand is WHY were not the military called out sooner? Why did they wait so long, did they not anticipate looting/riots/ people being frustrated when they are cold, hungry, scared??? Yes it may be wrong to steal from one another/ or others may argue that they did so to keep alive; regardless State, City and Federal government should have anticipated this very natural reaction to all these stresses and acted accordingly BEFORE the looting started, and had emergency supplies and information available as much as possible. Simply put they did not anticipate and did not act as fast as some would want. Now witness the result.

    November 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • blackbeard79

      Not hard to figure out. The military couldn't enter unless the local government requested it – which they refused to do until now. Ultimately, it was a dispute over whether the military could arm themselves. Seems like a no-brainer that they should have the capacity to defend themselves, given the desperate circumstances they're entering. Guess Bloomberg was more concerned about appearances than substance.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pat

    Only 24 hours left until we get to start saying I told you so....Gary Johnson for life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    November 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Julie

    New York's governor is Andrew, not Mario Cuomo! Come on, CNN.

    November 5, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Smeagel4T

    President Obama has been doing an EXCELLENT job working to deploy resources as fast as responsibly possible. The difference between the federal response to Sandy versus Katrina could not be more stark. Once AGAIN Romney has been left backtracking on his positions so fast voters have no idea where to find him.

    November 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michael

    Boy -the blogger ibsurfing I think got whacked one too many times with his own surfboard and to some pretty good blows to his head. Either that or he got a weggie today so bad it made his brain explode!

    November 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mittens4Prez

      What did surf genious say that isnt true?

      November 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • whatmeagaing

        What did he post that was untrue? All of IB's post was pure falsehood. Let's just start with one thing...abandonded NYC and New Jersey?? How so? He was praised in his response by Republican Christie. What more was he supposed to do? Stand at the water's edge and stop the waves?? Let's talk about "gutting medicare". What has Obama to gut medicare?? Nothing...Medicare is the same as when Obama entered office. Romney and the rest of the Republicans want to eliminate it completely. It would take too long to refute all of your posts and not worth my time as it is all garbage.

        November 6, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Mrhuman

        Please feel free to speak your mind but do us all a favor and do some legitimate research. I find it apalling that some people will quote left/right leaning news media without doing some fact checking. As a 26 year Republican and an informed veteran I'm casting my vote for President Obama.

        November 6, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. ibsurfing

    Obama abandoned New Jersey. Obama abandoned New York, Obama abandoned Staten Island, Obama abandoned Benghazi. Obama abandoned Malalla. Obama sent back the bust of Churchill. Obama is gutting Medicare. Obama has invested billions in failed businesses (Solyndra, for example). Obama seeks to undermine the US standard of living in reparation to those he believes we have exploited. Obama has sent American tax payer money to support business in other countries (Chile and others) at the expense of American workers and energy independence. Obama has abandoned American energy independence. Obama has abandoned America because he doesn't believe in America as anything other than a recipient of the largess of colonialism. Obama doesn't recognize reality, that jobs mean money, to establish a middle class means that business large and small need support, and that this creates jobs everywhere in the US, he supports business everywhere else. Obama doesn't understand economics and doesn't understand international policy, or worse if he does he understands it as a way to undermine America. Obama understands community organizing which are largely the politics of racism that have nothing to do with any but the insanity of urban micropolitics. Obama is not a POTUS, he is a disgrace promising Russia more latitude when he is re-elected. Obama is a not a vote for the future, but a vote for leveling of Americans with the rest of the world. In the end, Romney is right–47% will vote for Obama because they are beholden to the government, what the 47% doesn't realize is that, the poorest people in America are rich by any other country's criteria, and that the 53% are sick to death of carrying you. Obama's policies will ultimately leave them worse off–because the rest of us, as we are all brought down by him, no longer have interest in carrying the 47%. 47% of this country are parasites on the rest of us in one way or another. How long is that tolerable?

    November 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck Bertolino

      And tomorrow you are a LOSER!!!!

      November 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      You have no grasp on reality. Turn off Fox News.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben Ghazi

      Get a grip. Your head will explode. You couldn't be a so called surfer. I am from So. Cal. and every surfer I know could give a s**t about politics. Waves are more important

      November 6, 2012 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. toktu

    Could you have included what their duties are while on the island? please?

    November 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  16. James

    Good article but the current Governor is Andrew Cuomo NOT Mario

    November 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stef

      that is hilarious!! Go figure .. getting paid for such nonsense!

      November 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      Mario is Andrew's dad, Mario was the 52nd Governor of New York and served from 1983–1994. Check your facts before you post them CNN.

      November 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chip Grabow

      Good catch. Thanks for pointing this out.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |