|10PORTAUPRINCE126||2010-02-05 20:10:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Port Au Prince|
1. (U) Summary. The scale and scope of the current crisis in
Haiti has created opportunities to utilize the unique capacities of
the U.S. Military to support relief efforts. The USAID Disaster
Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) serves as the focal point for
receiving formal civilian requests for U.S. military assistance to
facilitate humanitarian response efforts in Haiti. The USAID/DART
then validates, prioritizes, and directs requests, referred to as
mission taskings, to U.S. military counterparts to implement.
Application of, and adherence to, the established system is
critical for effective coordination and implementation with other
humanitarian actors on the ground. End Summary
2. (U) Of the 70 to 80 disasters declared by U.S. Ambassadors on
average each year, only a small portion involve the U.S. Military
and then only under specific conditions. The Department of Defense
(DOD) is not an instrument of first resort in responding to
humanitarian crises. U.S. military support of U.S. Government
(USG) civilian-led humanitarian assistance must be: 1) at the
specific request of USAID through the Office of U.S. Foreign
Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) or the U.S. State Department
(State), and 2) vetted by USAID and State to ensure that it is
appropriate. The only exception to this policy is when a Combatant
Commander exercises his authority to use U.S. military resources to
save life and limb within the first 72 hours after a disaster.
When DOD support is required, a system exists to appropriately
direct U.S. military assistance and facilitate civilian-military
3. (U) In an international disaster situation when host nation and
international civilian capacities are not sufficient or unavailable
due to the magnitude of the event, USAID/OFDA serves as the focal
point for channeling civilian requests for U.S. military assistance
to facilitate humanitarian response efforts. In the context of the
Haiti response, USAID/OFDA is represented by the USAID/DART.
Within the USG, USAID offers the comparative advantage of its field
presence and its pool of skilled, experienced humanitarian
assistance and development professionals. USAID/OFDA is the office
within USAID responsible for facilitating and coordinating USG
emergency assistance overseas. USAID/OFDA provides humanitarian
assistance to save lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the
social and economic impact of humanitarian emergencies worldwide.
USAID/OFDA has a dedicated team that coordinates and liaises
between USAID/OFDA and the U.S. Military during humanitarian
assistance and disaster relief operations to realize USAID/OFDA's
mandate and harmonize USG efforts. Full-time USAID/OFDA Advisors
are also posted at the relevant U.S. Military Combatant Commands.
4. (U) Requests for U.S. military assistance originate from a
variety of sources, including other internal USG agencies, U.N.
organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other
donors. In adherence to internationally recognized practice for
employing foreign military assets in disaster response, the U.S.
system requires requests to be channeled through the USAID/DART for
validation, prioritization, and tasking to the military. Requests
are validated based on humanitarian principles and, when the U.N.
is present, in concert with U.N. and humanitarian
community-identified priorities established through the
international humanitarian coordination mechanism of the
sector-specific cluster system.
5. (U) Once the USAID/DART formally communicates the mission
tasking, the U.S military responding headquarters analyzes the
mission tasking and either requests additional information, rejects
the request, or staffs and sources the request. The USAID/DART,
serving as the liaison between the U.S. Military and civilian
partners, then communicates the information to the civilian
organization. This process can be rapidly expedited within hours
TYPES OF REQUESTS
6. (U) In post-earthquake Haiti, security , transport, and
engineering structural assessments represent the significant
majority of requests for U.S. military assistance, accounting for
25 percent, 22 percent, and 16 percent of total requests,
respectively, to date. Requests include the deployment of military
forces to provide security for specific locations or activities,
such as relief commodity and food assistance distributions;
heavy-lift capacity and transport for commodities, including via
truck, aircraft, or shipping vessels; and the use of engineering
specialists to assess structural damage of buildings and
UTILIZING THE SYSTEM
7. (SBU) USAID/DART staff highlight concern regarding incidences
of civilian requests being transmitted directly to the U.S.
Military, outside of the established system in place. The
mechanism exists to ensure that requests are reviewed and
prioritized to advance appropriate tasking for support and to
facilitate effect coordination and communication between civilian
and military institutions. USAID/DART staff emphasize the need for
all actors to work within the established system. USAID/DART staff
have informed the Joint Task Force-Haiti (JTF/H) of the process and
continue to work with the JTF/H on developing guidance to direct
ad-hoc civilian and NGO requests to the established system.
8. (U) The newly established Joint Operations Tasking Center
(JOTC) represents a response to the need for enhanced coordination
in facilitating the provision of military assistance from the broad
range of military forces present in Haiti, including the U.N.
Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the U.S. Military, and
other international military forces, to NGOs operating in Haiti.
The JOTC, composed of representatives from the U.N. Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), MINUSTAH, other
international militaries, and the USAID/DART is intended to serve
as a centralized coordinating body for the use of military assets
for logistics support, security assistance, and technical
assistance. The JOTC does not determine priorities for the
humanitarian community but links humanitarian support requests to
military resources. Overall priorities are shaped and defined
through the humanitarian community cluster system and must be
validated by sectoral leads prior to JOTC consideration.
9. (U) Requests for U.S. Military assistance generated through the
JOTC still require USAID/DART clearance. The USAID/DART continues
to serve the critical function of the focal point for advancing
requests through established channels and mechanism to the U.S.
Military. Application and adherence to the established system is
essential for effective coordination and implementation.