MAY 25, 2022 – “The Indo-Pacific region is the most disaster prone region in the world,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Blankenship, G9 Director of Civil Affairs with I Corps. “It’s not a matter of if it’s going to happen but when.”
Although natural disasters are to be expected, they still leave a lasting effect on the communities impacted. Military as well as civilian-led organizations travel to these affected areas to provide temporary relief to the people who live there.
To teach military members to be able to effectively deploy to these places and make a lasting impact on the communities, the Center for Excellence, Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) hosted a course for commanders and their staff to attend called the Humanitarian Assistance Response Training (HART) Disasters course.
“The HART-Disasters course prepares United States military commanders and their staff to respond more effectively during civilian-led humanitarian assistance and foreign disaster response missions,” as stated on the HART-Disasters information sheet.
This two and a half day course featured practical exercises, role playing exercises, and case studies that helped the lecturers explain real-life scenarios they may encounter. It also helps the participants understand what the different units’ roles and jobs are within their own organization
“It helps them understand what they need to know before they have to react so that when we do have to react we can do it much faster, more informed and more effectively,” Blankenship stated.
The instructors in this class came from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, the CFE-DM headquarters, and have been going around the world teaching this important information to military personnel.
The instructors in this class covered integrating with foreign entities during humanitarian assistance operations, how to interact with the people in the affected communities, how to assist in natural disasters, and more. Many of the military’s humanitarian missions have been joint operations with other military and civilian agencies.
This course helps build the framework for future missions because the command teams will know where and how to integrate into an already existing mission.
Jenny Caruso, the HART Course Program Manager with the CFE-DM, wants students to get a better understanding that this is a different mission than they are used to. Through this course, she’s giving people resources that they can use and implement within their units if they happen to go on humanitarian missions.
Blankenship said that, “Any of the people in this class could be the tip of the spear for I Corps, U.S. Army Pacific, and United States Indo-Pacific Command when a disaster strikes forward in theater.”
Story by Spc. Karleshia Gater