The Charleston church shooting

The Charleston Church Shooting

The Charleston church shooting occurred in June 2015 at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. An assassin known as Dylann Roof massacred nine people at the prayer meeting, including the state senator and the senior pastor. Following the attack, authorities apprehended the assailant, who admitted to carrying out the shooting in order to incite a race war (Haney, 2016).

Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DCSA)

Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DCSA) is the procedure by which US military people and assets assist civil authorities in their missions. Domestic activities, special events, law enforcement support, and response to man-made and natural disasters are all examples of missions. Supporting civil authorities cannot affect the ability of the military to carry out its core mission. Moreover, it is important to note that the military always plays a supporting role and not the leading role. Federal agencies are allowed to ask Department of Defense for assistance on behalf of a state need like the South Carolina church shooting incidence. The military personnel conducting support are required to obey the military chain of command. The agency that asked for the support is required to reimburse all the support provided by the military (Haynes, 2014).

Ways to Leverage existing Mitigation Strategies in Preventing and Responding to Threats

A catastrophic event could result in significant countrywide impacts for a prolonged period. An event such as the South Carolina church shooting could exceed resources available at the state and private-sector authorities and eventually interrupts the government operations to the extent that the national security is threatened. Such factors will drive the urgency for national or federal assistance. However, the Defense Support of Civil authorities can use several ways in mitigating and responding to threats (Schwabel, 2007).

Prioritizing capabilities, supporting assets, and functions in dealing with threats

The DSCA should prioritize capabilities, supporting assets, and functions in dealing with threats. The Department of Defense (DOD), needs to refine its methods of prioritizing capabilities and assets to ensure continuity of mission performance. The critical assets in responding and preventing threats include supporting infrastructure, information systems, and defense facilities. These priorities will inform the risk mitigation and assessment efforts, and resources in risk management programs (Panetta, 2013). For instance, if the DSCA had an appropriate information system, it would have responded to the incident in time.

Developing and implementing an integrated and comprehensive risk management framework

The DSCA should develop and implement an integrated and comprehensive risk management framework. A common criterion for risk analysis and assessment is required in mitigation efforts. Risk evaluations associated with performance of DSCA require consistent and accepted criteria for linking, collecting and analyzing vulnerability from tactical to strategic levels. Therefore, the risk information should be managed in a way that supports the response and prevention of threats (Panetta, 2013). Dylann Roof was earlier taken to jail because of a drug charge, an integrated and comprehensive risk management framework would have helped in sentencing the suspect, and this would not have resulted in the church shooting.

Using risk-informed decision making in optimizing mitigation strategies

The DSCA should use risk-informed decision making in optimizing mitigation strategies. DSCA needs a mission assurance advocacy framework that units individuals responsible for responding and preventing threats. Decision-makers across DOD from senior officials to installation commanders must make risk-informed and integrated decisions concerning resource prioritization and threats prevention. Risk-informed decision making will help in preventing threats since individuals suspected to be terrorists will not be allowed to walk freely. For instance, the FBI should not have set Dylann Roof free after charging him with a felony drug church.

Partnering with other relevant institutions to reduce and respond to threats

The DSCA needs to partner with other relevant institutions to reduce and respond to threats. The DSCA can partner with private sectors and government organizations to share risk mitigation efforts, vulnerability information, and threats. Engagement with external organizations will help to reduce threats and develop resiliency to human assets (Haynes, 2014). For instance, if the church council and the DSCA had a partnership, the information about the shooting would have reached the DSCA in advance, and this would have prevented the attack.

Applying unity efforts to manage incidents at the lowest level possible

The Defense Support of Civil authorities can apply unity efforts to manage incidents at the lowest level possible. The federal support is offered in response to a request from the state officials to the federal coordinating officer (FCO). The Department of Defense (DOD) coordinates with the FCO in responding to threats and providing support in case of a domestic incident. A smooth coordination effort can help in responding promptly to the attack incidents hence protecting homeland security (Buchalter, 2007). In the case of the South Carolina shooting, if the coordination between the FCO and DOD were smooth enough, many people would have been rescued.

Improving emergency functions support

The Defense Support of Civil authorities should improve its emergency functions support. During the South Carolina church shooting, the state and local governments were severely compromised. The federal government should always be prepared to cover the gaps in homeland security to ensure continuity of private and public sector operations (Carattini, 2013). The shooting disrupted the key resources in South Carolina such as the healthcare system and transportation. This is because the victims of the shootings were rushed to health centers in the area leading to an increased number of patients in the emergency departments. This interrupted the operations of healthcare in the region. Therefore, both the federal and state governments should improve their emergency support functions in responding to such terror attacks.


Buchalter, A. R. (2007). Military Support to Civil Authorities: The Role of the Department of Defense in Support of Homeland Defense. In Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. http://www. loc. gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/CNGR Milit-Support-Civil-Authorities. pdf. Accessed (Vol. 12).

Carattini, M. (2013). An Examination of USNORTHCOM’s Ability to Respond to Domestic Catastrophes in Support of Civil Authorities. Army Command and General Staff Coll Fort Leavenworth Ks School Of Advanced Military Studies.

Haynes, J. T. (2014). North Carolina emergency manager perspectives of Defense Support to Civil Authorities. Capella University.

Haney, A. (2016). How God is Using the Murder of Nine People to Bring Racial Reconciliation to All People. The Kabod, 2(2), 3.

Panetta, L. E. (2013). Strategy for Homeland Defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities. Department of Defense, Washington.

Schwabel, J. E. (2007). Command, control, coordination, and cooperation during defense support to civil authority operations. ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA.

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