Department of Defense Support to Foreign Disaster Relief

Handbook for Responding Forces 30 June 2021

This handbook serves as a quick reference guide for U.S. military members participating in a Foreign Disaster Relief (FDR) mission in permissive environments, in a country that still has a functioning government. It is not intended for use in complex situations; however, some information may have utility for DoD support in such instances. Additionally, this handbook will be useful for DoD support to international chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear response (ICBRN-R), also referred to as technological disasters. Throughout this book you will see examples of U.S. DoD foreign disaster operations starting with Cyclone Marian (Bangladesh) in 1991 and concluding with the Nepal earthquake in 2015. These examples offer a review of the operations and illustrate the evolving U.S. and international systems for disaster response. While the most valuable capabilities the DoD brings to FDR are largely the same, i.e., logistics, sealift and airlift (fixed-wing and rotary), material and cargo handling, engineer assessments and repairs, support with airports and seaports, search and rescue support, and medical, the international response framework and U.S. government process have evolved significantly over the past two decades.The primary audience for this handbook is operational level commands such as a Joint Task Force (JTF) and supporting tactical level organizations tasked to plan and execute FDR missions. Additionally, it may be useful for strategic level Geographic Combatant Commands or other U.S. government agencies, international organizations, intergovernmental organizations (IGO), or nongovernmental organizations (NGO) who interface with DoD.