CFE-DM marks first HART course in Miami

December 15, 2017

MIAMI – A unique course in disaster response began Tuesday, December 12, as the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance brought their Humanitarian Assistance Response Training (HART) course to U.S. Southern Command for the first time.

Fifty-five service members, many of them with disaster response deployments under their belt, spent four days working through scenario exercises with experts from the civilian, military and humanitarian response communities.

“During a crisis or a disaster we are expected to perform immediately to save lives,” said Lisa Samson, Assistant Deputy Director, Exercises and Coalition Affairs, at U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), who initially requested the course. “Hurricanes Maria and Irma reminded us that we always need to be prepared to rapidly aggregate forces to help partner nations prepare, respond and recover from a disaster.

The HART course was valuable in preparing the headquarters staff to coordinate and collaborate more effectively with civilian counterparts during a disaster response mission.”

The course prepares military commanders and their staffs to respond more effectively during civilian-led humanitarian assistance and foreign disaster response missions by utilizing case studies – including the 2010 Haiti earthquake – small group practical applications, and a role-playing culmination exercise.

CFE-DM developed the course and teaches it approximately a dozen times a year in the Asia-Pacific region, according to CFE-DM Director Joseph Martin. “Disasters are increasing, and as a result demand for the course is increasing,” he added. “We are looking to expand our team and training to support additional Unified Combatant Commands throughout the Department of Defense.”

Using existing plans and procedures of SOUTHCOM, participants developed a joint task force concept of operations for a major disaster in a fictional South American nation. The concept included a staff estimate, mission analysis, course of action development, logistics plan, strategic communication messaging, and transition plan.

Course instructors included subject matter experts from U.S. Pacific Command, World Food Programme, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, International Federation of Red Cross, and the United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Adrian Duaine, a disaster management and humanitarian assistance advisor for the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, discusses discusses complex emergencies that may require U.S. military assistance during the Humanitarian Assistance Training Response (HART) course at U.S. Southern Command Dec. 14, 2017. 

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