GRAND COTEAU, La. (KLFY) – Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré served in the military for 37 years. He led the U.S. Department of Defense response to Hurricane Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Today, he is a business consultant, public speaker, author and CNN contributor.
As a CNN contributor, he was allowed to observe the federal response to Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
“We saw that we could have had a better response to Hurricane Harvey,” says Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré.
“We waited on the governor to ask for federal troops,” adds Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré.
The general was in at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau on Friday promoting his new book, “Don’t Get Stuck on Stupid.”
Through his time in the military and providing relief during the 2005 storms, Honoré has learned the importance of federal assistance getting to the areas in need in a timely manner. He proposes that the military be the absolute first responders when major hurricanes hit the U.S. mainland or any U.S. territory. In his plan, it could be the 82nd Airborne Division, or the 101st Airborne Division, followed by 15-20 ships, 100 helicopters, and a brigade of soldiers.
He has pitched his plan to Congress, exclusively with Senator John McCain in hopes that in the next natural disaster, troops could be on the ground a few hours after the storm has passed, assessing the damage, saving lives, and helping people in distress.
He makes clear that this task force would supplement, not replace, the various State National Guards and other traditional first responders.
He saw first hand how a strong and quick federal presence paid off during Hurricane Irma.
“During Hurricane Irma, we did it textbook style,” says Lt. Gen.Russel L. Honoré .
“The National Guard fully deployed, the federal troops came out with an aircraft carrier with about 10 ships, we had thousands of trucks from the 18th airborne corps as well as a ready barricade ready to go in Florida,” adds Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré.
In his new book, he details his plan for a faster federal disaster response, while also covering many other topics such as soaring healthcare costs, high incarceration rates, the value of water, building in flood zones, and the strength of U.S. democracy.