Military Foreign Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (FHA/FDR) Evolution: Lessons Learned for Civilian Emergency Management Response and Recovery Operations

August 2015 (VOL. 33, NO. 2)

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The military and civilian models for emergency management differ significantly in both structure and execution. In order to appreciate the differences, similarities, and potential value of each approach, it is important to first frame these systems through a common lens of the emergency management cycle, mission areas, and system, as practiced in the United States. This analysis deliberately does not focus on the use of military in support of domestic emergency management operations within the United States. Instead, case studies were carefully chosen to highlight the military contribution to international disaster response through foreign humanitarian assistance (FHA) and foreign disaster relief (FDR) military mission. Ultimately the strengths and weaknesses of these military emergency support operations were assessed and lessons learned extracted. These lessons learned were then aligned with the civilian model and recommendations made suggesting the adoption of military techniques to civilian emergency management actions in response to catastrophic disasters.