By Adam Levine
The U.S. military is preparing to help with response to Hurricane Sandy and working to protect its own equipment.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was "monitoring" the storm from the Pentagon on Monday, according to a tweet from his press secretary George Little.
Over the weekend, Panetta appointed "dual status" commanders, according to the Department of Defense website. The commanders are authorized to command both federal and state National Guard forces.
"This special authority enables them to effectively integrate the defense support operations and capabilities that Governors request. The Secretary is prepared to quickly agree to similar requests from other States," according to a press release about the decision.
The decision was made by Panetta at the request of governor from Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Over the weekend, the National Guard had approximately 1,500 forces on active duty in New York, Massachussets, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut and Maryland. The troops are assisting local first responders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency with route clearance, search and rescue, equipment and supplies delivery and evacuations.
U.S. Northern Command has put helicopters, planes, and rescue teams on alert to be ready to deploy as needed.
In addition to aiding in response, the military has been moving aircraft and ships to avoid damage during the storm. Bases in New York, New Jersey and Delaware have all moved aircraft, according to the Department of Defense. The Navy has also moved vessels including the USS Wasp, USS Taylor USNS Kanawa, USNS Medgar Evers and the USS Ross.