The purpose of the 4-day training course is to prepare the US joint force for supporting, and when necessary, conducting humanitarian assistance before, during, and after combat operations. Beyond delivery of humanitarian assistance, the course will survey the protection of civilian dimensions of a conflict and the reasons why these need to be fully incorporated as military planning considerations at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.
Recent conflicts in contexts such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that humanitarian assistance has been central to great power competition and information operations where states compete to control the narrative. The U.S. Department of Defense is increasingly focused on hybrid warfare and large scale combat operations against near-peer competitors where the role of humanitarian actors and resulting needs of affected populations are expected to be a complex dimension of the operating environment.
Any future conflict in the Asia-Pacific region has the potential to result in large scale displacement of civilian populations and in worst case scenarios, humanitarian crises not witnessed since World War II. A 2019 RAND study on US military planning considerations for contingencies on the Korean Peninsula cited the massive humanitarian crisis which would result on both sides of the border between North and South. In environments such as this, the politicization of humanitarian assistance can become a significant obstacle to addressing dire humanitarian needs and stabilizing crises.
The ‘Humanitarian Assistance in Conflict’ course emphasizes enabling humanitarian actor’s access, security, and delivery of assistance throughout all phases of military operations. It also focuses heavily on civilian harm mitigation by incorporating humanitarian considerations into military planning and conduct of operations. Without proper attention to humanitarian considerations by military planners and JTF leaders, humanitarian needs will quickly escalate, become more challenging to resolve, and ultimately may undermine military objectives.
Target audience: 04-06, E7-E9, DoD civilians who in their professional duties are involved in considering the protection of civilian dimensions of a conflict at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.
Major topics to be covered include:
- Humanitarian Challenges and Consequences in armed conflict & war
- Humanitarian notification system
- The Humanitarian Community
- Civil-military coordination mechanisms
- Humanitarian conflict analysis
- Preparing for large scale civilian displacement
- Humanitarian access and security
- Case studies on recent major urban operations
- Protection of civilians
- Future scenario analysis of potential contingencies