The use of DoD medical assets in international humanitarian and disaster relief operations
Gilliland, David E.
Barrett, Frank J.
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The use of U.S. DoD medical assets in International Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operations (IH/DRO) has been extensive in the past and has grown markedly since the end of the Cold War. It is important that DoD personnel understand the complex interagency coordination and political ramifications of their participation in IH/DRO. This thesis examines the history, current planning, interagency coordination, law, DoD doctrine, and budgeting issues affecting the use of DoD medical assets for IH/DRO. To research the current state of IH/DRO execution by the DoD, Federal laws, DoD doctrine, professional journals, and current periodicals were reviewed. Additionally, interviews were conducted with personnel in OSD, USCENTCOM, and the DoD medical community to obtain insight from recent participants in IH/DRO. Research indicated that three levels of control, coordination, and planning exist within the U.S. government to conduct IH/DRO. The strategic level consists of the U.S. Congress, the NCA, USAID, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff: The operational level consists of the Unified Combatant Commands, who conduct contingency planning for their Areas of Responsibility (AOR). Finally, the tactical level consists of the Joint Task Force (JTF) stood up by the Unified Combatant Command to execute the operation. Doctrine to execute these operations is lacking and acknowledged by DoD Doctrine Commands, who are working to address this shortcoming. The current command and coordinating structure documented in this thesis is in a dynamic state of evolution and development as the DoD strives to meet the demands of IH/DRO in a downsizing military.
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