The last thing we need after a natural disaster is a preventable delay in delivering humanitarian assistance due to, of all things, an uninformed border control point!
However, help is on the way. Together with the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, or OFDA, in the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, we’re providing the Joint Humanitarian Operations Course, or JHOC, to countries that need a plan for when disaster strikes.
This training has been provided to Israel on several occasions and just this past October, we offered the course to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah for the first time ever. The result: everyone worked together to ensure humanitarian assistance can be delivered through the Israel-PA border checkpoints in time to save lives.
This event was so significant that the director of OFDA, Mr. Jeremy Konyndyk, during his recent visit to USEUCOM wanted to talk about how we can expand the JHOC training and tell us this training has already resulted in improved U.S. civil-military cooperation for disaster response around the world. We could expand the reach of this training to new customers as well as to higher levels of leadership. The OFDA-USEUCOM team is ready to do its part.
It’s worth noting that Mr. Konyndyk said the JHOC was one of the reasons the response in the Philippines was effective so quickly after the disastrous typhoon struck a few months ago.
He said without the strong collaboration between OFDA and the U.S. military, the whole international humanitarian response in the Philippines would have been much slower in gaining momentum and the Philippine authorities themselves would have been less capable in managing the relief effort.
In fact, the efforts the Philippine government took in advance of the typhoon made a huge difference and were directly attributable to the JHOC curriculum, OFDA’s role, and U.S. Pacific Command’s support. This is a great validation of the course’s and other investments that OFDA and the Department of Defense have made in recent years to build stronger platforms for working together!
Fortunately we have an on-site disaster assistance representative, Mr. Dana Chivers, who is an expert in humanitarian operations. Thanks to this partnership with his office, our joint humanitarian response was better than it could ever have been without it when forest fires swept over Mt. Carmel, Israel, in 2010.
This is important work. And it’s relevant. When was the last time we engaged in kinetic operations without having to also deal with the associated humanitarian catastrophe? The JHOC provides so many useful tactics, techniques and procedures and we’re ready to come to you to share this wisdom. Write me. I’ll make it happen.