ANALYSIS OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD) SUPPORT IN DOMESTIC DISASTER RELIEF
Davis, Daniel C.
Apte, Aruna U.
Seagren, Chad W.
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Our research analyzed Department of Defense (DoD) involvement in the disaster relief efforts for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. During the 2017 hurricane season, the United States experienced three major hurricanes in rapid succession. These events tested the hurricane responses of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and have left some wondering why the DoD was slow to respond. Through our research, we evaluated the FEMA Mission Assignments (MAs) to U.S. agencies and analyzed how the DoD was employed in Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) operations during these events. Our three hypotheses were as follows: (1) DoD utilization in domestic hurricane relief is less than other agencies; (2) there are common tasks in every hurricane disaster that DoD could focus on to improve response; and (3) pre-positioning has a positive effect on the quality of disaster response. Our findings show that DoD is the most utilized agency for domestic disaster relief efforts, tasked with between 38% to 49% of all mission assignments. FEMA’s utilization of DoD is predominantly in transportation; public works and engineering; logistics management and resource support; search and rescue; and external affairs. The outcomes of Harvey, Irma, and Maria also support the importance of pre-positioning for disaster relief efforts.
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