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Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Humanitarian assistance and disaster response are core DoD capabilities, but they are always conducted in a supporting role to assist other U.S. Government agencies. DoD has the assets and experience to deploy necessary relief personnel and resources to all corners of the globe at a moment’s notice—there is no actor better prepared to respond in times of crisis. 

We have seen the positive impact of DoD’s efforts on the broader U.S. Government response to international disasters in a number of cases: 

  • In Operation Tomodochi, after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011—U.S. forces were instrumental in delivering food, water, blankets, clothing, and medical supplies to support Japanese civilian and military partners.
  • During Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Service Members were on the ground working with the Philippine military to provide essential medical treatment and supplies.
  • During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Service Members were involved in constructing treatment centers and providing logistical support to stem the spread of infection.
  • In the aftermath of the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake, U.S. military personnel were instrumental in supporting relief efforts with transportation and medical treatment, and where previous training exercises with the Nepalese military significant improved their capacity to respond to the crisis. 

These engagements have provided invaluable hands-on experience for service members that helps improve our future contributions to disaster relief efforts. They demonstrate time and again the value of our partnership-building activities, as partner nations have improved their disaster response capabilities after joining U.S. military in training exercises.

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Air Force surgeons help treat Las Vegas shooting victims

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Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Compton (left) and Air Force Maj. Chales Chesnut, 99th Medical Group general surgeons, pose for a portrait in the Mike O’Callaghan Military Medical Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The surgeons were two members of the team that took in trauma patients at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada during the Las Vegas shooting Oct. 1, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum)

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Navy deploys USNS Comfort to support Puerto Rico disaster relief

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Approximately 750 doctors, nurses, corpsmen and support personnel from across the Navy embarked aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort in support of the U.S. military response to the hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. (U.S. Navy file photo)

USNS Comfort deploys more than 750 Sailors to support this specific mission as defined by the Department of Defense

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Air Force launches aerial spray mission against mosquitoes

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Air Force Reserve Tech. Sgt. Ken Hesser, a crew chief with the 910th Maintenance Group, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, marshals a C-130H Hercules aircraft as the aircrew taxis the plane for takeoff on the flightline of the Kelly Field Annex. Hesser is among more than 90 Reserve Citizen Airmen supporting the 910th’s mosquito control aerial spray operations over areas of eastern Texas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. The 910th Airlift Wing operates the Department of Defense’s only aerial spray capability to control pest insect populations, eliminate undesired and invasive vegetation and disperse oil spills in large bodies of water. Due to large amounts of standing, polluted water, the numbers of pest insects are increasing significantly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr.)

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Immunization Recommendations for Disaster Response Operations

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This information paper provides immunization recommendations and resources for Department of Defense (DoD) personnel supporting disaster response operations, both in CONUS and OCONUS.

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Medical logistics team boosts surgical versatility of New Horizons 2016

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DoD Instruction 6010.22: National Disaster Medical System (NDMS)

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Elevating care: Cope North 16 expeditionary medical teams treat, evac injured

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Marines, Sailors train for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief missions

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DoD Instruction 6000.16: Military Health Support for Stability Operations

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Foreign Humanitarian Assistance Joint Publication 3-07.6

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