NEWS | Dec. 16, 2019

Humanitarian Assistance Response Training in Singapore

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Veloicaza Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific 

SINGAPORE - The U.S. Navy's Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73 hosted a Humanitarian Assistance Response Training (HART) course with partner nation military at their headquarters in Singapore, Dec. 4-5.

The two-day HART course, designed by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, prepares U.S. military commanders and their staff to respond more effectively during civilian-led humanitarian assistance and foreign disaster response missions.

"The experiences of the armed forces and civilians in this course are shared with each other and we learn a lot about different perspectives- it helps the whole class," said Jenny Caruso, HART program manager. "We share resources, make connections, and build friendships to rely on."

More than a dozen U.S., Singaporean and Canadian military members participated in the training, which involved sharing their perspectives, applying the military planning and decision-making process during case studies, and role-playing exercises.

The program draws from several resources, including U.S. Department of Defense joint doctrine, guidance from the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, and generally accepted international norms on humanitarian assistance and civil-military coordination.

Civilian and military subject matter experts presented lectures on a variety of topics such as foreign military assets, affected populations and protection considerations, response logistics, U.S. foreign humanitarian assistance architecture, international response communities, and many more.

"One of the keys to a disaster response effort is ensuring it's not just the militaries participating, or even the coalition militaries - it's an international humanitarian community - the U.N., non-governmental organizations, and the Red Cross," said Caruso. "We bring in guest instructors to help illuminate that key point from their perspectives."

Guest instructors such as Nate Nathanson, senior military coordinating officer for the United Nations World Food Program, highlighted their own experiences in humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.

"Bringing in subject matter experts adds more reality to the program as opposed to presenting standard briefs," said Nathanson. "They hear from actual people that have participated in these events and I think its value added to the program."

Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander, Logistics Groups Western Pacific/Task Force 73, who oversees Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance disaster response mission in the region, praised the course for preparing participants to better respond in a crisis.

"Disasters do not recognize boundaries," said Tynch. " It's not a question of if, but when disaster will strike -- so it is valuable to train with our friends, partners and allies during periods of calm. We are strongest when we work together - and that's what this challenge requires."

Located in Singapore since 1991, COMLOG WESTPAC is the U.S. 7th Fleet's provider of combat-ready logistics, operating government-owned and contracted ships to keep units throughout 7th Fleet armed, fueled and fed. Additionally, Task Force 73 is 7th Fleet's executive agent for Pacific Partnership, and theater security cooperation for South and Southeast Asia