Nearly 30 military planners participate in Humanitarian Assistance Response Training in Conflict Course

CFE-DM Public Affairs
03.31.2022

USARPAC and First Corps soldiers participate in CFE-DM HART-C course

Ford Island, Hawaii – Nearly 30 military planners from United States Army Pacific, United States Army First Corps, and United States Indo-Pacific Command participated in the Humanitarian Assistance Response Training in Conflict course run by the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance March 21-25, 2022. “We want to make sure that we're getting the course to the operational level planners,” said Gregory St. Pierre, an instructor with CFE-DM for the HART-C. “That's who this is primarily designed for." This was the first in person iteration of the HART-C course. HART-C had been through several virtual iterations, with content being amended and adjusted based on student and instructor feedback. Planning for this course started about two years ago at CFE-DM when discussions on how disaster mitigation and response looked differently when it came to conflict versus natural disasters.

“About two years ago, there was a discussion at the center that we should move into the space to start providing training for the Joint Force on how to take into consideration civilian harm mitigation measures in combat, or in complex emergencies,” said St. Pierre.

The five-day course was designed to provide the Joint Force an understanding of how to support and, if necessary, perform humanitarian assistance in times of conflict. The course covered topics such as the humanitarian notification system, civil-military coordination mechanisms, preparing for large-scale civilian displacement, humanitarian conflict analysis, access and security and the consequences of armed conflict and war.

This course emphasizes minimizing and responding to civilian harm by incorporating humanitarian considerations into military planning and conduct of operations while also enabling humanitarian organizations’ access, security, and delivery of assistance throughout all phases of military operations. Without proper attention to humanitarian considerations by military planners and operational leaders in the field, humanitarian needs will quickly escalate, become more challenging to resolve, and ultimately may undermine military objectives.

Army Lt. Col. Patrick Blankenship is the assistant chief of staff of G9 civil affairs at First Corps, a subordinate command of USARPAC. Blankenship is charged with advising the First Corps commander on all aspects of civil considerations that affect First Corps operations. Like many others in this class, this class was specifically fitting for Blankenship in his current position.

“I think General Flynn wanted this course to do a couple of things,” said Blankenship. “To train the USARPAC staff in understanding how to protect civilians and mitigate harm to civilians in the conduct of large-scale combat operations, but also provide a venue for USARPAC staff to integrate with other subordinate organizations like mine, First Corps, so that we train together and we're able to execute as a team when the time comes to really take the to the field and serve as the JTF.”

During the course, the students learn about various case studies involving humanitarian disasters in urban environments brought on by conflict as opposed to natural disasters which are the focus of the long running HART – Disasters course. Throughout the five-day course, the students put their knowledge to the test by creating action plans in response to a simulated conflict-driven humanitarian disaster. Generally, students must then brief a simulated commander on the situation and provide advisement on next steps. In this course, however, students were able to brief the G3 of USARPAC, Brig. Gen. Bartholomees as well as the current Deputy Commanding General of USARPAC, Maj. Gen. Reginald Neal.

Both Bartholomees and Neal and provided the students with feedback on their briefs and commended them on providing a comprehensive assessment of involved organizations.

“Knowing who is in charge and knowing various roles is important in a mission analysis,” said Neal. “Understanding command relationships and understanding lines of effort ahead of an operation is crucial.”

Neal also expressed that HART-C is an extremely relevant course, as we see civilians at the center of conflict again and again, and that civil-military coordination is the right way forward to protect human lives without becoming involved in a conflict.

At this time, CFE-DM intends to teach the course twice a year.

CFE-DMHA Director greets USARPAC Deputy Commander Maj Gen Neal

CFE-DMHA instructor James Kenwolf instructs students during a humanitarian assistance response training in conflict course