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Am Samoa now designated to charter a national ‘Silver Jackets’ team

 Lt.Governor Talauega E.V. Ale, LTC Christopher Pevey, EPA Director Faamao Asalele, DMWR Director Taotasi Archie Soliai, ODAPM Deputy Director Salu Tuigamala, and USACE personnel
Silver Jackets represent many partner agencies working together
Source: Governor’s Office press release

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and National Silver Jackets program have determined that ASG has satisfied all the requirements to charter an American Samoa Silver Jackets Team.

The Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR), Lt. Governor Talauega E.V. Ale has designed Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management (ODAPM) director, Lisa Tuatoo to take the lead in coordination of all the government departments and agencies participating in the program. 

A press release issued by ASG and ODAPM explains that States’ and Territories’ Silver Jackets teams partner up to bring local agencies to learn from one another and work together to reduce risk from mostly floods and other natural hazards.

Silver Jackets teams conduct diverse collaborative efforts and focus as state and territory priorities vary.  By applying their shared knowledge, the teams enhance preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts when such events occur. Resources for team activities are provided through individual programs of each participating agency. 

The intent is not to duplicate existing teams. Through partnerships, teams optimize the multi-agency utilization of federal resources by leveraging state/ local resources, which includes information, talent, and funding, while preventing duplication of effort.

Why the name “Silver Jackets?”  During disaster response, agencies are often identified by their color jacket or shirt.  For example, FEMA wears blue jackets or shirts, and USACE wears red.  Silver Jackets represent many partner agencies working together as one team to tackle mitigation and flooding issues.

Silver Jackets Mission:  Deliver robust engineering solutions, in collaboration with our partners, to secure our Nation, energize our economy, and reduce disaster risk. 

American Samoa is second to the last territory to join all 50 states and territories to become an official Silver Jackets member, thus updating the U.S. National Silver Jackets Map in July 2023. 

“Becoming an official team member of the Silver Jackets is quite an accomplishment for the Lemanu & Talauega administration and at such an opportune time while working on related requirements for the Tualauta and Fagaima drainage projects where repeat flooding issues need to be resolved,” said Director Tuatoo.

Activities range from flood risk management lifecycle and promote shared responsibility. Team activities have included state hazard mitigation plan updates, inundation mapping, tabletop exercises, and development of emergency action plans, risk communication workshops, and coordination of perishable data collection.

Although each state Silver Jackets team is unique, expected agency participants include state agencies with mission areas of hazard mitigation, emergency management, floodplain management, or natural resources conservation. 

The American Samoa Silver Jackets Team’s federal participation includes the FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The local participation consists of the Hazard Mitigation Council, which is chaired by the Lt. Gov. Talauega E. V. Ale, the Governor’s Office, Legislative Branch-Senate, Legislative Branch-House, Secretary of the Office of Samoan Affairs, Department of Commerce, Department of Port Administration, Department of Public Works, Am Samoa EPA, Am Samoa Historic Preservation Office, ASPA, ASTCA, Chamber of Commerce, Am Samoa Homeland Security, DMWR, Governor’s Resilience Office, and ODAPM.