Abstract: Typically, the public’s view of the military’s mission is that of national defense and security, but there is a large set of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) operations that are an important part of the national security strategy. This involvement in international engagements is complex and varies as domestic and international needs change. Although HA/DR operations have been part of the military mission for decades, these missions have become more high profile and a core priority for the various services, especially the Navy over the past 10 years. Increasingly, the Department of Defense policy has highlighted the role of humanitarian and stability operations in light of the traditional military missions due to expressed need from host nations and the US’s evolving national strategies. Therefore, it is important to understand the scope and activities of these unique operations and how these HA/DR activities can affect (positively or negatively) the global view of the United States. My discussion will focus on recent, high profile HA/DR missions, including examples of recent missions in which I participated. In addition, I will talk about highlights and issues associated with these operations.
About the Speaker: Lauren Bell is the Director of Disaster Preparedness Programs at Gryphon Scientific and has over 10 years experience with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief research. She received her Masters of Environmental Engineering and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, focusing on national security and environmental policy. As an Associate at Gryphon, she leads projects ranging from assessing catastrophic event preparedness planning to planning and evaluating humanitarian assistance missions. Prior to working at Gryphon, Lauren was a Research Analyst at the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) where she deployed with and conducted analyses of several international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. In addition, she has been involved in both domestic and international pandemic influenza health exercises and preparedness planning.
Lauren also served as a subject matter expert to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the US Navy, and US Africa Command on issues such as pandemic preparedness, exercise planning, and disaster relief.