Expeditionary Forces Train For Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief

By Lt. Cmdr. John Lucas
Executive Officer, Expeditionary Training Group

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 10, 2014)Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Reyna Castle records a patient's vitals during a casualty drill as part of a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response training during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Johans Chavarro/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 10, 2014)Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Reyna Castle records a patient’s vitals during a casualty drill as part of a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response training during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Johans Chavarro/Released)

Expeditionary Training Group (ETG) is Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s (NECC) executive training agent for all expeditionary forces within the Navy Expeditionary Combat Enterprise (NECE). Since 2008, ETG and NECC have used the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise as the backdrop to naval expeditionary events constructed to assess the performance and capabilities of expeditionary staffs prior to deployment. These exercises (conducted on the fringe of the larger RIMPAC event) emphasized both the maritime security and disaster response capabilities of NECC forces.

During RIMPAC 2012, joint and coalition observers alike were intrigued by the profound successes and lessons learned that resulted from the ETG-sponsored Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) event. Due to the high level of international interest regarding HA/DR events around the globe, many nations were eager to participate in the more robust HA/DR scenario presented as part of RIMPAC 2014. As part of a concentrated effort to bring U.S. Navy Expeditionary and HA/DR expertise to the forefront, RIMPAC 2014 marks the first time NECC forces have been fully integrated into the larger exercise.

Commander, Third Fleet (C3F) requested NECC support in the design and execution of the HA/DR event for RIMPAC 2014 and ETG was assigned as HA/DR exercise lead. Going in, designers highlighted three primary objectives for the HA/DR event: testing a proof of concept for a multi-lateral approach to humanitarian assistance in a permissive environment; focusing on the importance of the civil-military relationship in a HA/DR operation; and demonstrating the value of expeditionary forces in the maritime domain while concurrently assessing expeditionary unit performance and providing certification recommendations to NECC for units set to deploy.

Always looking to the future of the Navy Expeditionary Forces, ETG is collecting lessons learned and observations from RIMPAC 2014 and looking forward to designing and executing an even more robust, enhanced, and integrated event for RIMPAC 2016.