Who We Are

The Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) is a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) organization comprised of nearly 30 subject matter experts that provide academic research, civil-military coordination training, and operational insights to support decision making before, during, and after crises. The Center is designed to bridge understanding between humanitarians, civilian, and military responders. CFE-DM partners with a diverse group of governmental and nongovernmental actors, as well as academic institutions to increase collaborations and capabilities in humanitarian assistance and disaster response. While maintaining a global mandate, the Indo-Pacific region is our priority of effort and collaboration is the cornerstone of our operational practice. The Center is a direct reporting unit to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and is located on Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.


The Joint Force, allies, and partners are fully prepared to conduct and support foreign humanitarian assistance.


CFE-DM builds crisis response capacity in U.S. and partner militaries, enhances coordination and collaboration with civilian and foreign partners, and strengthens those relationships to save lives and alleviate human suffering before, during, and after humanitarian crises.

CFE-DM was established by U.S. Congress in 1994 as part of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye's vision. The Senator had witnessed the effects of Hurricane Iniki that struck the Hawaiian Islands in 1992, and felt the civil-military coordination in the response could have been more effective. He set about to establish the CFE-DM to help bridge understanding between civil and military responders, and to provide a DoD platform for building DMHA awareness and expertise in U.S. forces, and with partner nations in the Asia-Pacific.

The CFE-DM Program Plan FY 22-26

The Program Plan outlines the major tasks, priorities, and objectives of the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) as it reaches its twenty-fifth anniversary and beyond. This plan guides the Center's activities in alignment with strategic priorities, as outlined by the Director. The priorities and activities outlined here support strategic guidance and guidance from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command , Department of Defense, and title 10 United States Code section 182 (10 U.S.C. § 182), and encapsulates the Director's plan for the Center's programs over the next five years and provides a foundation for future staff guidance.


The Center operates under the authorities granted, and recommendations made by, 10 U.S.C. §182, USINDOPACOM Instructions, USINDOPACOM/CFE-DM Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), USINDOPACOM Campaign Plan, the annual USINDOPACOM Campaign Order, and DoD guidance:

  • 10 u.s.c. § 182
  • USINDOPACOM Theater Campaign Plan: Objectives 2-7 and 3-3, Lines of Effort 8 and 9.
  • USINDOPACOM Theater Campaign Order: Section 10
  • USINDOPACOM Joint Training Plan: Mission Essential Tasks 4.2.4, 5.4.4, and 8.2.
  • National Defense Strategy: NDS-3 "Sustaining Joint Force military advantages, both globally and in key regions:' NDS-5 "Enabling U.S. Interagency counterparts to advance U.S. influence and interests:' and NDS-14 "Lines of Effort: strengthen Alliances and attract new partners:'
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Guidance Memo: 23 September 2016


According to 10 U.S.C. § 182, the Center was established "to provide and facilitate education, training, and research in civil-military operations, particularly operations which require international disaster management and humanitarian assistance and operations that require coordination between DoD and other agencies." The Center aligns its efforts pursuant to this mandate, and in support of DoD and USINDOPACOM objectives and guidance.

Lines of Effort:

In executing its Mission and Vision, the Center supports DoD and USINDOPACOM objectives through the following lines of effort (LOEs):

  • Advise and Assist: Provide knowledge, expertise, and situational awareness to support decision making before, during, and after crises.
  • Training and Education: Build awareness, understanding, and skills that help DoD, partner militaries, interagency, and international organizations plan for and execute foreign disaster relief (FDR) missions.
  • Applied Research and Information Support: Capture relevant disaster management and humanitarian assistance (DMHA) lessons learned and best practices, inform civil-military decision-makers, network with stakeholders and potential partners, and communicate the Center's value to its stakeholders, enablers, and customers.
  • Plans, Programs and Analysis: Strengthen USINDOPACOM’s working relationship with a range of Indo-Asia-Pacific regional organizations
  • Climate Change Impact: Plan for the emerging impacts of climate change on security in the Indo-Pacific region

CFE-DM Initiatives

Lines of Effort: The Center for Excellence has sharpened its focus to four lines of effort:

Training and Engagements (TE): Training and Engagements is the cornerstone of the Center’s mission. The courses CFE-DM offers are an important form of outreach to military and civilian practioners. Training and Engagements builds awareness, understanding, and skills to help U.S. and foreign military personnel navigate complex issues in DMHA. The Center fills a unique niche in DMHA training, and as a result prepares and equips its training audience to respond more effectively to disasters and humanitarian crisis as part of an international response.

For more information on Training and Engagements, download the CFE-DM Training and Engagements White Paper . The purpose of this paper is to provide a guide for CFE-DM in the development, refinement, and delivery of training and engagements programs and activities.

Applied Research and Information Sharing (ARIS): The ARIS function focuses on building capacity to inform civil-military audiences and decision-makers in DMHA. Products like country-focused disaster management reference handbooks, after action reports, and disaster management country assessments are key CFE-DM contributions to the disaster management community, which provide best practices and lessons learned for advancement in response coordination.

Plans, Programs and Analysis (PPA): In support of USINDOPACOM and OSD, a critical objective for CFE-DM is to improve cross-coordination and reduce duplication of efforts within the disaster management community. Through the Plans and Programs Branch, the Center improves collaboration between the civilian multinational organizations supporting disaster management. The focus of this initiative is to promote the U.S. involvement in civil-military consultations and dialogues between ARF, the EAS, ADMM, ADMM-Plus, ACDM, PIF, and ADSOM and other relevant HADR parties, such as the AHA Centre, UNOCHA, and the RHCC. This is where the Center strives to provide a uniquely competent and constructive role within the civil-military disaster management network.

Climate Change Impacts (CCI): CCI serves as a trusted source of information and knowledge about the impacts of climate change on security in the Indo-Pacific region, and as a focal point for collaboration with allies and partners to address those impacts and enhance regional security.

Enabling Functions: The four Lines of Effort will be enabled by a strong Partnering program, Mission Support, and a highly capable staff postured to provide Advice and Assistance to the commander, components and staffs before, during and after disaster strikes.

Partnering: In 2014-15, CFE-DM took the initial steps to institutionalize its partnerships into a formal program, by which the Center could more effectively identify, coordinate, validate and execute partnerships. CFE-DM’s primary goals for its Partnership Program are to: provide additional opportunities in disaster management to advise and assist, train, engage, and share information; receive financial donations as authorized by Title 10 to further CFE-DM mission objectives; advance understanding of CFE-DM mission and capabilities; and increase mission and cost effectiveness of CFE-DM operations, actions and activities.

Mission Support: CFE-DM will operate under the principle of good governance in all areas: personnel management, budget, and contracting. Transparency in budgeting, finance and contracting ensure accountability to CFE-DM stake holders and customers. The activities are organizationally grouped into the Command Element and Mission Support Branch, both of which are committed to excel in their efficiency and responsiveness to program plan activities.

Advice and Assistance: The pre-crisis or mitigation phase of the disaster management cycle requires constant vigilance, study and dialogue. CFE-DM’s personnel serve as trusted advisors before, during and after the response phase of USINDOPACOM supported operations. In a crisis, the entire organization shifts to a crisis response mode in accordance with our Crisis Standard Operating Procedure, and is postured to deploy forward as requested or required.