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.

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.