A utility-based approach to U.S. Naval Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) tasking
Carmichael, Ryan J.
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Due to naval vessels’ unique sea and air capabilities, the United States government often calls on the Navy to provide immediate humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) to affected populations around the world. However, not all ships possess capabilities that can be adapted to the humanitarian mission, and they therefore should not be tasked with humanitarian missions. To respond quickly, it is not uncommon for combatant commanders to task the closest ships without considering if a more HADR-capable ship is available, if slightly farther away. This type of tasking can easily waste valuable U.S. resources (wartime assets, funding, manpower, and readiness) while providing a suboptimal HADR response package of ships to the affected population. In an environment of constrained resources, it is important that these resources are used as efficiently as possible when responding to disasters around the world. This study builds on prior U.S. Navy HADR research and provides decision makers with a utility-based optimization tool that accounts for and discusses the tradeoffs between vessel capability, proximity, and cost when selecting the optimal mix of sea assets for future HADR tasking.
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