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.

Climate Change in the Pacific Islands: Needs and Priorities for U.S. Engagement

July 2023

This report explains the emerging climate security framework in the Pacific Islands and identifies entry points for U.S. climate security collaboration with allies and partners to accelerate climate change adaptation in the region. To bolster Pacific-led responses, the author recommends the U.S. supports two key regional frameworks – the Boe Declaration Action Plan, the region’s lead security strategy; and the Framework for Resilience Development in the Pacific, which promotes an integrated approach to addressing climate change and disaster risk management.

An Emerging Climate Security Framework in the Pacific Islands: Opportunities for U.S. Climate Security Engagement

July 2023

This report explains the emerging climate security framework in the Pacific Islands and identifies entry points for U.S. climate security collaboration with allies and partners to accelerate climate change adaptation in the region. This report draws on key informant interviews with subject matter experts knowledgeable about climate change action in the Pacific Islands. It is also informed by a desk review of U.S. and Pacific Islands climate and security policies, assessments, and programmatic initiatives.

A Resource Guide to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Centers in the Indo-Pacific

May 2022

This Resource Guide by the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) intends to provide the user an introduction to a variety of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Centers located across the Indo-Pacific region. In compiling and preparing this report, CFE-DM sought to provide a broad mapping of centers in the region for general individual and institutional awareness, in an effort to promote cooperative HADR disaster research and institutional collaboration in the region. The overall intent of this document is to serve as a basic reference guide or starting point for the individual researcher or institution seeking to learn more about the different HADR centers located throughout the Indo-Pacific. This guide is considered as a working document and may be updated as new and significant information becomes available.

China’s Multi-pronged Approach to Gain Influence in Oceania Four-Part Series

August 2022

The full scope of China’s ambitions in the Pacific came into focus in late May 2022 when a communique outlining a regional economic and security arrangement with ten Pacific Island Countries (PICs) was leaked to the international media. This follows a controversial bilateral security agreement signed between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Solomon Islands a month earlier. China’s increasing security cooperation with PICs and its implications for regional security has drawn greater U.S. and international attention to Oceania. The five reports in this collection examine China’s growing diplomatic, military, economic, and strategic communication efforts in Oceania as it relates to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) and explains the implications for strategic competition in the region.

CFE-DM Issue Brief - Distress at Sea: Civilian Evacuees, Refugees, Migrants and Seafarers in Conflict

February 2024

This brief explores the issue of the duty to render assistance to civilians in distress at sea, how armed conflict impacts that duty, and the policy and operational choices that states will face in potential Asia- Pacific conflict scenarios. It begins by reviewing the law and policy of the duty render assistance and examines key categories of civilians in distress at sea, including evacuees, refugees and migrants, and merchant seafarers. It then considers risks to these civilians at sea, including challenges to search-and rescue, and ashore, including disembarkation. It concludes with actions for government, military, and humanitarian actors to better prepare for contingencies around civilians in distress-at-sea in armed conflict.

CFE-DM Issue Brief - Humanitarian Corridors and Safe Passage at Sea

February 2024

This issue brief reviews the past practice of humanitarian corridors and safe passage arrangements-at-sea and highlights critical considerations for actors strengthening preparedness for humanitarian action in a large-scale conflict at sea. It begins with an overview of humanitarian corridors and safe passage in the context of naval strategy and international law. It then reviews current and past practice of humanitarian corridors- and safe passage arrangements-at-sea, considering examples from the conflicts in Sri Lanka, Yemen, Ukraine, the Falklands/Malvinas, and piracy in the Gulf of Aden. These case studies represent the most significant maritime safe passage arrangements since the Second World War. They highlight lessons for future maritime combat scenarios, lessons compiled for government, military and humanitarian actors interested in planning and preparing for the use of humanitarian corridors and safe passage arrangements at sea.