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NORTHCOM Preps for Rita: Just winding down from its command and control function following Hurricane Katrina, officials at US Northern Command say they are gearing for requests for assistance for Hurricane Rita. NORTHCOM’s Joint Operations Center at Colorado Springs, Colo., is still in 24-hour mode from Katrina. The command already established Homestead ARB, Fla., as its primary  staging area to pre-position food, water, and ice and has pre-positioned heavy and medium lift helicopters at Patrick AFB, Fla.