Today's Pacific Command Brief Highlights
Here are some highlights from today's Pacific Command brief: 1. The name of the US effort is Operation Unified Assistance. 2. "Regarding the international military cooperation, currently 11 countries -- Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, New Zealand, France, India, Korea, Pakistan, Singapore and the United Kingdom are contributing as many as 26 fixed wing aircraft, 41 helicopters, and 26 naval vessels." Moreover, "there are about 85 U.S. military aircraft working continual daily operations," along with "20 [US] naval vessels -- 13 U.S. Navy ships; six maritime prepositioning ships and one Coast Guard vessel." 3. Here's the chain of command for the Combined Support Force: Commanded by LtGen Blackman Three subordinate Combined Support Groups: one each in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, commanded by Brigadier General Cowdrey, Brigadier General Gluck and Brigadier General Panther. The article does not specify the command relationships with afloat forces, though we suspect that the Lincoln Battle Group and Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (containing the 15th MEU) are operating as adjacent forces to the Combined Support Force, and still probably under the command of the Pacific Command CINC, Admiral Fargo. 4. Some more insight into the nuts and bolts of the logistics: "In both Sri Lanka and Thailand we have transitioned to a pull vice push situation. This means that in those countries we are responding specifically to requests for supplies and personnel rather than just flowing in those and stockpiling them. We have not transitioned quite to that situation in Indonesia, but I anticipate that coming soon." 5. The situation is dynamic and fluid: "this is very dynamic. Even by the time I finish these remarks, those numbers have changed. Helicopters move in and out of the theater, they go above and below the flight deck, they land. Missions may be one sortie to one place and it may be a four or five our sortie executing multiple lifts. So just keep that in mind when you reference our web site and you see this data. Especially if you see some of the numbers not agreeing with each other." 6. More on the logistics details: "As I kind of mentioned earlier, the initial push was to get people to the field and then to find the places to best act as distributing points. That takes time. Then once those people are in the field and flowed to those points it takes time to set up a coordinating mechanism, and an architecture, if you will, inside that country because the intent once again is to support that host nation's effort. So who's in charge there and who can run it? Once you do that you have to figure out a way by which to receive not only aircraft but supplies, and then a way by which to distribute it. So all of those things combined add time to execute." 7. And more on coordination with NGOs: "The answer is, there is a structure where somebody's in charge. These are coordinators, these one star flag officers I mentioned. They're not necessarily commanders because they don't have command authority, if you will, over other government agencies. Once again, the lead is the host nation. Whoever they designate in each place is the lead element. We bring both our military organization capacity and structure and our other government agency capacity and structure to fall in on that requirement. The NGOs then can coordinate through us. The UN shows up, they coordinate through us and with us, so what we provide is that architecture as I talked about, that structure that people can fall in on and we can connect them to the right people at the right places. Not necessarily direct or control what they're trying to do, just providing them with that information." And that's it from the brief. Returning to Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1-0, "Marine Corps Operations," that we referenced earlier in the week --Here and here -- we've found another tidbit that illuminates the role that the three Brigadier Generals are playing in the respective countries of Indonesia, Thailand, and Sir Lanka:
CIVIL-MILITARY COORDINATION Military Operations Other Than War [MOOTW] are normally joint and multinational operations set in an interagency environment. In many cases, nongovernmental agencies, media concerns, and other nontraditional influences will affect decisionmaking. Coordination with NGOs, international organizations, and interagency operations allows the MAGTF [Marine Air Ground Task Force] to gain greater situational and cultural awareness. A technique to build unity of effort and conduct liaison with nonmilitary organizations is the establishment of a civil-military operations center (CMOC). Members of CMOC may include representatives of adjacent and allied military commands, US government agencies, other countries' forces involved in the operation, and civilian organizations. Civil affairs units should be the core of the CMOC. Through a CMOC, the MAGTF can gain a greater understanding of the roles of civilian organizations and how they influence mission accomplishment. Although formal agreements are not always necessary, such agreements between military and civilian organizations may improve coordination and effectiveness. MOOTW can involve other US non-Department of Defense departments and agencies. Within the US, the Federal Emergency Management Agency normally leads the response to a natural disaster, while the Departments of Justice or Transportation could be expected to lead in a counterterrorist operation. Effective liaison with the lead agency enables the MAGTF to support thepolitical objectives of the operation. Outside the United States, the lead agency will normally be the Department of State, and the US ambassador will coordinate activities through an established country team with representation from all United States departments and agencies in that country. A non-Department of Defense lead agency does not alter the military chain of command.Seems that most or all of this is applicable to the tsunami relief mission, Unified Assistance.