Tactical and Technical
Commanding the Military During Disaster ResponseBy The Cove August 21, 2020
Adaptive Campaigning comprises five mutually reinforcing and interdependent Lines of Operation: Joint Land Combat, Population Protection, Information Actions, Population Support, and Indigenous Capacity Building. Throughout our military careers, our training and exercise regime primarily focuses on the first Line of Operation - Joint Land Combat. But what of some of the 'softer' and arguably more complex types of operations the Australian Army is occasionally called to support, such as disaster response operations.
Most leaders, especially those who have served in our northern regions, would be aware that Defence provides support to the community under two main frameworks:
- Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC); and
- Defence Force Aid to the Civil Authority (DFACA)
Defence Assistance to the Civil Community provides the guidelines under which Defence can assist during major disasters when the resources of the emergency service organisations have been overwhelmed. In recent years the Australian Army has been involved in a number of international disaster relief operations such as Operation Sumatra Assist and Operation Fiji Assist, and domestic operations such as the response effort towards the Queensland floods in 2011 and the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was the costliest natural disaster and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. Significant military forces were committed as part of the response effort producing major coordination challenges. This article by Ryan Burke via Inderscience details how countries like Australia may benefit from the many lessons learned whilst commanding military forces during a disaster response operation. Five key initiatives are proposed for improving the unity of effort during disaster response:
- assigning a dual status commander
- shared situational awareness
- Joint Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration (JRSO&I)
- mission assignments
- Joint Inter-agency planning
Read the article and let us know your thoughts on the following:
- Would you approach leadership in disaster relief operations differently to combat operations?
- What are the unique challenges associated with disaster relief operations domestically and internationally?
- What considerations would you apply when working with joint forces and other Government Agencies or Non-Government Operations?