■ Sheltering, food, fresh water and medical needs are
the first wave of aid.
■ Coordination and collaboration is more the rule
than command and control.
■ It always takes longer than planners think or expect.
■ Utilities restoration and roadwork repairs are critical
to speed transition from relief to recovery operations.
■ Security and safety concerns exist for both those
serving and being aided.
■ Media and VIPs come early and need special handling.
And some things are not …
■ Geography and demography will dictate the nature
of the operation and how it can be conducted.
■ Distressed nations’ capability and desire for outside
aid and assistance.
■ Numbers of casualties and displaced persons.
■ Metrics for assessing needs or success.
■ How the end will be determined or come about.
■ Likelihood of terrorism, instability or other lawless
■ Personalities and experiences of nongovernment
organizations and the legion of other crisis responders.
■ How quickly media and VIPs lose their interest in
■ Everyone needs to be intimately familiar with both
the rules of engagement and the rules for the use of force.
More can be said about each of these common threads
and differences, but the main point is that all who serve
at sea and from the sea need to keep these in the forefront
of our minds when confronting the irregular challenges
of our world.
And our forces must be ready — trained, manned and
equipped — to execute in this environment as much as,
or even more so, than we are for the execution of major
combat operations. ■
“A Point of View” is a Seapower forum wherein experts and
analysts express their views on a variety of thought-provoking
topics. Publication is at the editor’s discretion. The views expressed here are the author’s and not necessarily those of the
U.S. Navy, Defense Department or the Navy League of the