Over the next three years, the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Experts Working Group (EWG) will work toward operationalizing the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Military Ready Group (AMRG) concept, which calls for multilateral deployment of ASEAN militaries in response to natural disasters in Southeast Asia. The Capstone team was asked by the Department of Defense’s Center for Disaster Excellence and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE,) to identify a model of multilateral military deployment to inform the development and implementation of the AMRG. Desk research identified a suitable model for analysis: the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU), overseen by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA.)
The team traveled to Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad to conduct key informant interviews with CDRU and CDEMA staff, and other relevant stakeholders that participate or facilitate CDRU operations. Lessons learned and best practices from multiple CDRU operations were collected. An in-depth analysis of the data culminated in a PowerPoint presentation of key findings to the EWG meeting in Malaysia held to formulate the successful development and implementation of the AMRG. The presentation outlines the structure, operation, coordination, and funding mechanisms of the CDRU.
The presentation highlighted CDRU’s challenges and strengths which informed our recommendations for the EWG’s discussions. Recommendations include securing long term, sustainable funding and genuine political support for AMRG operations, implementing a comprehensive annual training and exercise schedule for AMRG members, investing in personnel readiness procedures, and ensuring a dedicated and reliable means for the speedy transport of personnel and resources during operations.