Humanitarian, military leadership talk HADR training coordination
June 16, 2017
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – Senior leaders from U.S. Pacific Command and international humanitarian organizations gathered on Ford Island June 16 as the culmination event of a four-day civil-military training and education coordination engagement.
Hosted by Director Joseph Martin, Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM), the senior leader roundtable paired commanders and planners from U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Marine Forces Pacific with humanitarian stakeholders from the Asia-Pacific region. The purpose of the roundtable was to discuss improving the effectiveness and synchronization of civil-military coordination in humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) military training and exercise events.
“The value of getting this group of professionals together is immense,” said Martin during his opening remarks. “It provides an unmatched opportunity to connect the humanitarians that provide aid during real-world disasters with the military planners to make HADR training as realistic as possible. The outcome is beneficial to both sides – service members are prepared for and understand how they support the humanitarian landscape during a disaster, and coordination practices and relationships are in place when lives depend on it.”
The group of civil-military experts conducted two additional tasks during the week that led up to the roundtable: the Civil-Military Coordination Consultation of the 2018 Sphere Handbook revision, and a curriculum review of the CFE-DM Humanitarian Assistance Response Training (HART) course.
The Sphere Project provides the international humanitarian community and non-humanitarian responders with common values and principles, and universal minimum standards to improve the quality of humanitarian action and accountability. The Project first released the Sphere Handbook in 2000, with revised drafts released in 2004 and 2011.
“After carefully reviewing relevant civil-military relations and coordination input to the first draft of the revision, we quickly developed consensus that as currently written, it insufficiently addresses the complexities, coordination mechanisms, and principles required for a Handbook user navigating civil-military coordination in the field,” said Craig Jaques, a global health advisor to CFE-DM and lead organizer of the consultation. “Once this consensus was reached, we took an alternative approach leading us to collectively envisioning a concise, distinct chapter or annex to the Sphere Handbook that can better inform Handbook users. This will ultimately lead to a stronger, better coordinated response for the beneficiary populations, especially in complex emergencies and natural disaster responses where foreign military assets have been requested.”
While topic-specific consultations have been conducted around the globe, this was a key meeting focused on civil-military coordination during humanitarian crises.
The curriculum review of the CFE-DM HART course, which provides U.S. military personnel with instruction on the humanitarian landscape and coordination mechanisms during disaster response, was conducted through two sessions. The first session discussed overlaps, gaps, methodology and delivery strategies between HART, Joint Humanitarian Operations Course (JHOC), and Civil-Military Coordination (CMCoord) Course.
“CFE-DM works continuously with (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) and (U.S. Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance) to ensure the HART course is complementary to the JHOC and CMCoord courses,” said Adrian Duaine, program lead of the HART course. “This comparative review allowed the three organizations to address potential gaps in the instruction and better meet regional demands for training.
“The second session moved toward discussions on thematic areas like civil-military structures,” added Duaine. “This dialog provided information and ideas on refining HART so it maximizes its relevancy and value in preparing U.S. forces for foreign humanitarian assistance operations.”
Additionally, regional organizations such as the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) also participated in the curriculum discussion.
“I came here to understand what CFE-DM, UNOCHA and OFDA are doing in terms of training because (the AHA Centre) would like to develop similar training courses for ASEAN militaries,” said Arnel Capili, director of operations for the AHA Centre based in Jakarta, Indonesia. “The training is already developed and it’s working, so we want to learn from your experiences and successes to help us craft our own instruction. I was able to understand those things by coming to this event.”
The event included representatives from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, U.S. Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, World Food Programme, U.S. Naval War College, ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre), and Singapore's Regional HADR Coordination Center (RHCC) and Ministry of Defence.