September 27, 2021

News

News Network

Civilian-Military Interaction in Conflicts: Best Practices and Perceptions (Brown University)

12 min read

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

Project Overview

As the need for humanitarian assistance continues to grow each year, so has the diversity of actors involved in humanitarian response. In addition to the traditional humanitarian actors, such as international non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies, national and international militaries are taking a stronger role in managing humanitarian response activities in many countries. Over the past two decades, as domestic and international militaries have become more engaged in disaster and epidemic response and as the detrimental effects of military campaigns on humanitarian actors in complex emergencies has become more apparent, there has been an increasing push at the international level for the development of guidelines and mechanisms for civilian-military coordination in humanitarian emergencies. Scant evidence-based research has been conducted into the ways that militaries and traditional humanitarian actors coordinate during the many different types of emergencies worldwide, from sudden onset disasters and epidemics to large-scale population displacement. Even less studied and understood are the perceptions held by affected populations regarding both military and humanitarian assistance during emergencies. There is a need for stronger empirical evidence to guide military doctrine and humanitarian guidelines on civilian-military coordination in conflict settings, as well as better dissemination and adoption of best practices to overcome coordination challenges. This research effort by Brown University and funded by PRM will significantly expand and deepen the understanding of civilian-military coordination across different types of humanitarian crises and aid in the development of updated evidence-based guidance for humanitarian and military actors working in close proximity in a diverse range of contexts worldwide. Brown will conduct its research in examples of epidemic response in conflict, climatological disaster in conflict, and population displacement and refugee assistance in conflict. Brown University intends to conduct its research in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, and Jordan and expects to finish its research by the end of August, 2021.

Goals and Objectives

This research effort will significantly expand and deepen the understanding of civilian-military coordination across different types of humanitarian crises and aid in the development of updated evidence-based guidance for humanitarian and military actors working in a diverse range of contexts worldwide. The study will also aim to further develop new tools for evaluating community perceptions of military humanitarian assistance, which in turn would allow for practitioners, academics, and policy makers to effectively assess community perceptions of civilian and military humanitarian assistance in a variety of locations globally.

  • Development of research plan to answer identified research questions
  • Implementation of research study designs in identified locations

Dissemination of research findings to all stakeholders – donors, policymakers and practitioners – for maximum impact in future emergencies.

News Network

  • Executive Office for Immigration Review Announces Investiture of 20 New Immigration Judges, Resulting in a 70 Percent Expansion of the Immigration Judge Corps Since 2017
    In Crime News
    The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced the investiture of 20 new immigration judges today, including three new assistant chief immigration judges.  The introduction of this class marks the most recent step in the ongoing development and expansion of the nationwide corps of professional adjudicators who resolve questions regarding the legal status of aliens in the United States and adjudicate claims of relief or protection from removal, such as asylum or withholding of removal.
    [Read More…]
  • U.S. Sanctions International Network Enriching Houthis in Yemen
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken on National Land Use, Land Cover, and Ecosystems Monitoring System (SIMOCUTE) Initiative
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Remarks as Delivered by Attorney General William P. Barr at the Major Cities Chiefs Association Conference
    In Crime News
    I appreciate the invitation to address this group.  I want to start by thanking you, and the men and women you lead, for serving in what I think is the most noble profession in our country – enforcing the law and keeping our communities safe. 
    [Read More…]
  • Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel: Congressional Action Needed to Break Impasse and Develop a Permanent Disposal Solution
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Congress needs to take action to break the impasse over a permanent solution for commercial spent nuclear fuel—used fuel removed from nuclear power reactors—according to experts GAO interviewed. Specifically, most experts said Congress should (1) amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) to authorize the Department of Energy (DOE) to implement a new consent-based process for siting consolidated interim storage and permanent geologic repository facilities, and (2) restructure the Nuclear Waste Fund to ensure reliable and sufficient funding. Experts highlighted concerns about the effect of the continuing impasse on environmental, health, and security risks; efforts to combat climate change; and taxpayer costs. For example, the amount the federal government will have to pay to owners to store spent nuclear fuel at reactor sites will continue to grow annually (see figure). Figure: Department of Energy Total Estimated Costs and Remaining Liabilities for Storing Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF), in Billions of Dollars Note: For more details, see figure 4 in GAO-21-603. The United States currently has an ad hoc system for managing commercial spent nuclear fuel, which can affect future disposal decisions and costs. For example, spent fuel is stored using a variety of different technologies that will have implications for final disposal. Nearly all of the experts we interviewed said an integrated strategy is essential to developing a solution for commercial spent nuclear fuel and potentially reducing programmatic costs. However, DOE cannot fully develop and implement such a strategy without congressional action. In 2015, DOE began efforts to engage the public and develop a draft consent-based siting process, but it has not finalized this process. The draft includes elements that nearly all experts agreed are critical for an effective siting process. Finalizing the draft could help position DOE to implement a consent-based process for consolidated interim storage facilities and/or permanent geologic repositories if Congress amends the NWPA to allow for storage and disposal options other than, or in addition to, the Yucca Mountain repository. Why GAO Did This Study Commercial spent nuclear fuel is extremely dangerous if not managed properly. About 86,000 metric tons of this fuel is stored on-site at 75 operating or shutdown nuclear power plants in 33 states, an amount that grows by about 2,000 metric tons each year. The NWPA, as amended, requires DOE to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and specifies that the only site that may be considered for the permanent disposal of commercial spent nuclear fuel is a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. However, in 2010, DOE terminated its efforts to license a repository at Yucca Mountain, and Congress stopped funding activities related to the site. Since then, policymakers have been at an impasse on how to meet the federal disposal obligation, with significant financial consequences for taxpayers. This report examines actions that experts identified as necessary to develop a solution for spent nuclear fuel disposal. GAO reviewed DOE and other agency documents and interviewed 20 experts and 25 stakeholders from industry, nongovernmental organizations, and tribal and state groups.
    [Read More…]
  • Homeland Security Acquisitions: DHS Has Opportunities to Improve Its Component Acquisition Oversight
    In U.S GAO News
    Four components—Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, and the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office—within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented the process to formally nominate and designate Component Acquisition Executives (CAE). However, four of the five individuals filling the CAE role—three as acting CAE—in the Management Directorate have not been subjected to this process (see figure). The process, described in guidance, entails preparing a nomination package for DHS to vet candidates' qualifications against criteria, and designating the selected individual in writing. Nomination and Designation Status of Department of Homeland Security's Management Directorate Component Acquisition Executives as of April 2020 Note: Non-major acquisitions are those with an expected life-cycle cost of less than $300 million. DHS indicated that the direct reporting relationship of acting CAEs to the DHS Chief Acquisition Officer makes designating CAEs in the Management Directorate through this process unnecessary. Without using the nomination and designation process, DHS officials lack a standard way to gain insight into the background of the acting CAEs and whether any gaps in experience need to be mitigated. For example, the CAE for the Coast Guard was nominated and designated, but the CAE did not have the acquisition experience that guidance suggests for the position. In the nomination documentation, the Coast Guard identified this issue and described the experienced staff that will support the nominated CAE. However, DHS cannot be confident that the acting CAEs in the Management Directorate are taking mitigation steps, because they have not been subject to this process. Until DHS consistently executes the nomination and designation process described in its guidance, the Chief Acquisition Officer cannot be assured that all acquisition programs are receiving oversight by individuals qualified for the CAE position. DHS invests billions of dollars each year in its major acquisition programs—such as systems to help secure the border, increase marine safety, and screen travelers—to help execute its many critical missions. In fiscal year 2020 alone, DHS planned to spend more than $10 billion on major acquisition programs, and ultimately the department plans to invest more than $200 billion over the life cycle of these programs. A critical aspect of DHS's acquisition process is oversight of this portfolio by the CAEs. Most CAEs are senior acquisition officials below the department level, within the components. The CAEs have oversight responsibilities over the components' major and non-major acquisition programs, among other duties. GAO was asked to review DHS's CAE functions. This report assesses the extent to which selected CAEs are nominated and designated to execute oversight responsibilities, among other objectives. GAO selected five DHS components, including the department-level Management Directorate, based, in part, on their number and type of acquisitions. GAO reviewed DHS's acquisition policy, guidance and documentation from the selected DHS components and interviewed CAEs, CAE support staff, and other DHS officials. GAO is making four recommendations, including that DHS execute the CAE nomination and designation process consistently as defined in its guidance. DHS concurred with all four recommendations. For more information, contact Marie A. Mak at (202) 512-4841 or makm@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • NASA’s ASTER Sees Arizona’s Bighorn Fire Burn Scar From Space
    In Space
    From the vantage point [Read More…]
  • Information Technology and Cybersecurity: Significant Attention Is Needed to Address High-Risk Areas
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In its March 2021 high-risk series update, GAO reported that significant attention was needed to improve the federal government's management of information technology (IT) acquisitions and operations, and ensure the nation's cybersecurity. Regarding management of IT, overall progress in addressing this area has remained unchanged. Since 2019, GAO has emphasized that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and covered federal agencies need to continue to fully implement critical requirements of federal IT acquisition reform legislation, known as the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), to better manage tens of billions of dollars in IT investments. For example: OMB continued to demonstrate leadership commitment by issuing guidance to implement FITARA statutory provisions, but sustained leadership and expanded capacity were needed to improve agencies' management of IT. Agencies continued to make progress with reporting FITARA milestones and plans to modernize or replace obsolete IT investments, but significant work remained to complete these efforts. Agencies improved the involvement of their agency Chief Information Officers in the acquisition process, but greater cost savings could be achieved if IT acquisition shortcomings, such as reducing duplicative IT contracts, were addressed. In March 2021, GAO reiterated the need for agencies to address four major cybersecurity challenges facing the nation: (1) establishing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and performing effective oversight, (2) securing federal systems and information, (3) protecting cyber critical infrastructure, and (4) protecting privacy and sensitive data. GAO identified 10 actions for agencies to take to address these challenges. However, since 2019, progress in this area has regressed—GAO's 2021 rating of leadership commitment declined from met to partially met. To help address the leadership vacuum, in January 2021, Congress enacted a statute establishing the Office of the National Cyber Director. Although the director position has not yet been filled, on April 12 the President announced his intended nominee. Overall, the federal government needs to move with a greater sense of urgency to fully address cybersecurity challenges. In particular: Develop and execute a more comprehensive federal strategy for national cybersecurity and global cyberspace. In September 2020, GAO reported that the cyber strategy and implementation plan addressed some, but not all, of the desirable characteristics of national strategies, such as goals and resources needed. Mitigate global supply chain risks. In December 2020, GAO reported that few of the 23 civilian federal agencies it reviewed implemented foundational practices for managing information and communication technology supply chain risks. Enhance the federal response to cyber incidents. In July 2019, GAO reported that most of 16 selected federal agencies had deficiencies in at least one of the activities associated with incident response processes. Why GAO Did This Study The effective management and protection of IT has been a longstanding challenge in the federal government. Each year, the federal government spends more than $100 billion on IT and cyber-related investments; however, many of these investments have failed or performed poorly and often have suffered from ineffective management. Accordingly, GAO added improving the management of IT acquisitions and operations as a high-risk area in February 2015. Information security has been on the high-risk area since 1997. In its March 2021 high-risk update, GAO reported that significant actions were required to address IT acquisitions and operations. Further, GAO noted the urgent need for agencies to take 10 specific actions on four major cybersecurity challenges. GAO was asked to testify on federal agencies' efforts to address the management of IT and cybersecurity. For this testimony, GAO relied primarily on its March 2021 high-risk update and selected prior work across IT and cybersecurity topics.
    [Read More…]
  • CITGO Petroleum Corp. Will Pay Over $19 Million for Injuries to Natural Resources Resulting from its Oil Spill at its Refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana
    In Crime News
    Houston, Texas-based CITGO Petroleum Corporation has agreed to pay $19.69 million to resolve federal and state claims for natural resource damages under the Oil Pollution Act and the Louisiana Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act.
    [Read More…]
  • Foreign Assistance: USAID Needs to Improve Its Strategic Planning to Address Current and Future Workforce Needs
    In U.S GAO News
    The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) oversees U.S. foreign assistance programs in more than 100 countries. In 2003, GAO recommended that USAID develop a comprehensive workforce planning system to better identify its staffing needs and requirements. Key principles for effective strategic workforce planning are important to an agency's ability to carry out its mission. GAO examined (1) changes in USAID's workforce and program funding since 2004, (2) the extent to which it has developed a strategic workforce plan, (3) the efforts it has taken to implement two key human capital initiatives, and (4) the challenges and constraints that affect its workforce planning and management. To conduct the work, GAO analyzed staffing and program funding data; reviewed documentation related to the agency's workforce planning; and interviewed officials in Washington, D.C., and at six overseas missions selected to obtain an appropriate mix of geographic coverage, programs, and workforce size and composition.USAID's workforce declined 2.7 percent from 2004 to 2009. While the decline is primarily due to decreases in the number of U.S. and foreign national personal services contractors, these staff continue to comprise the majority of USAID's workforce. Over the same period USAID's program funding increased 92 percent to $17.9 billion. USAID also faces some workforce gaps and vacancies at the six missions visited by GAO. Mission officials cited recruiting difficulties and the need for staff in priority countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as factors contributing to these vacancies. According to mission officials, it is not uncommon for positions to remain vacant for a lengthy period. During this time staff may assume multiple responsibilities and accept additional workload, which present some challenges in the agency's ability to manage and oversee its activities. For example, workforce gaps and heavy workload may limit mission staff's ability to travel to the field to monitor and evaluate the implementation of projects. USAID's 5-year workforce plan for fiscal years 2009 through 2013 discusses the agency's challenges and the steps it has taken and plans to take to strengthen its workforce. However, the plan lacks several key elements that GAO has identified as critical to strategic workforce planning. For example, the plan generally does not include a major portion of USAID's workforce--U.S. and foreign national personal services contractors. In particular, it is not comprehensive in its analysis of workforce and competency gaps and the staffing levels that the agency requires to meet its program needs and goals. USAID has taken actions to implement two key initiatives specified in its workforce plan--a workforce planning model and expansion of its Foreign Service--but it generally lacks documented plans to help ensure they are implemented successfully. For example, USAID implemented the workforce planning model to project its workforce and budgetary needs, but it has not developed plans for providing all missions comprehensive information about the model and its projections to inform missions of how it will affect their workforce planning. In addition, USAID has not fully met its Foreign Service hiring targets nor developed plans for how it will meet its hiring goals, and it has not planned the required overseas training assignments for all new hires to help ensure that missions have the necessary resources and mentors. USAID faces several challenges in its workforce planning and management. First, USAID lacks a sufficiently reliable and comprehensive system to record the number, location, and occupation of its staff. Second, according to mission officials, operating in an uncertain environment with shifting program priorities and funding can make it difficult to ensure that missions have the staff available with the necessary skills when needed. Third, the processes USAID must use to plan for the placement of its overseas staff require coordination with State; however, USAID has not consistently developed and shared its plans for the numbers and specific locations for these assignments. GAO recommends that USAID take several actions to develop more comprehensive workforce plans and improve its workforce data. USAID concurred with GAO's findings and recommendations.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with United Nations Secretary-General Guterres
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Tonga Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel [Read More…]
  • Today Is the Last Day to Vote for NASA’s 12 Webby Award Nominations
    In Space
    You can cast your [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Federal Tactical Teams: Characteristics, Training, Deployments, and Inventory
    In U.S GAO News
    Within the executive branch, GAO identified 25 federal tactical teams, and the characteristics of these teams varied. The 25 tactical teams were across 18 agencies, such as agencies within the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Energy, and the Interior. The number of reported team members per team ranged from two to 1,099. More than half (16 of 25) of the teams reported that they are composed of team members working for the team on a collateral basis. Most teams (17 of 25) had multiple units across various locations. Photos of Federal Tactical Teams in Action Tactical teams generally followed a similar training process, with initial training, specialty training, and ongoing training requirements. Nearly all teams (24 of 25) reported that new team members complete an initial tactical training course, which ranged from 1 week to 10 months. For example, potential new team members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Hostage Rescue Team complete a 10-month initial training that includes courses on firearms; helicopter operations; and surveillance, among others. Nearly all teams (24 of 25) reported offering specialized training to some team members, such as in sniper operations and breaching. Nearly all teams (24 of 25) also reported having ongoing training requirements, ranging from 40 hours per year to over 400 hours per year. The number and types of deployments varied across the 25 tactical teams for fiscal years 2015 through 2019. The number of reported deployments per tactical team during this time period ranged from 0 to over 5,000. Teams conducted different types of deployments, but some types were common among teams, such as: supporting operations of other law enforcement entities, such as other federal, state, and local law enforcement (16 of 25); providing protection details for high-profile individuals (15 of 25); responding to or providing security at civil disturbances, such as protests (13 of 25); and serving high-risk search and arrest warrants (11 of 25). Four teams reported that they had deployed in response to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and 16 teams reported deployments related to nationwide civil unrest and protests in May and June 2020. Tactical teams reported having various types of firearms, tactical equipment, and tactical vehicles in their inventories. Team members generally have a standard set of firearms (e.g., a pistol, a backup pistol, and a rifle), but some may also have specialized firearms (e.g., a shotgun designed to breach doors). Tactical teams also have a variety of tactical equipment, such as night vision devices to maintain surveillance of suspects or tactical robots that can go into locations to obtain audio and video information when team members cannot safely enter those locations. Tactical teams may also have tactical vehicles, such as manned aircraft (e.g., helicopters) and armored vehicles to patrol locations. The figure below identifies the number of tactical teams that reported having such items in their inventories. Number of Federal Tactical Teams That Reported Having Firearms, Tactical Equipment, and Tactical Vehicles in Their Inventories, as of January 2020 Appendix I of the report provides details on each of the 25 tactical teams, such as each team's mission; staffing; types and frequency of training; and number and types of deployments from fiscal years 2015 through 2019. This is a public version of a sensitive report issued in August 2020. Information deemed to be sensitive by the agencies in this review, such as the quantities of firearms, tactical equipment, and tactical vehicles in team inventories, has been omitted from this report. Many federal agencies employ law enforcement officers to carry out the agency's law enforcement mission and maintain the security of federal property, employees, and the public. Some of these agencies have specialized law enforcement teams—referred to as federal tactical teams in this report—whose members are selected, trained, equipped, and assigned to prevent and resolve critical incidents involving a public safety threat that their agency's traditional law enforcement may not otherwise have the capability to resolve. This report provides information on the (1) federal tactical teams and their characteristics; (2) training team members receive; (3) deployments of such teams from fiscal years 2015 through 2019; and (4) firearms, tactical equipment, and tactical vehicles in team inventories, as of January 2020. To identify federal tactical teams, GAO contacted executive branch agencies with at least 50 federal law enforcement officers. GAO administered a standardized questionnaire and data collection instrument to the identified teams to gather information on team missions, staffing, training, deployments, and inventories. GAO reviewed team documents, such as standard operating procedures, and interviewed agency officials. GAO collected descriptive information on reported deployments as of June 2020 in response to COVID-19 and nationwide civil unrest, which were ongoing during the review. GAO incorporated agency technical comments as appropriate. For more information, contact Gretta L. Goodwin at (202) 512-8777 or goodwing@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Defense Logistics: Preliminary Observations on Equipment Reset Challenges and Issues for the Army and Marine Corps
    In U.S GAO News
    The United States is engaged in an unconventional war, not a war against military forces of one country, but an irregular war against terrorist cells with global networks. Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom are sustained military operations, which are taking a toll on the condition and readiness of military equipment that, in some cases, is more than 20 years old. The Army and Marine Corps will likely incur large expenditures in the future to reset (repair or replace) a significant amount of equipment when hostilities cease. The Army has requested about $13 billion in its fiscal year 2006 supplemental budget request for equipment reset. Today's testimony addresses (1) the environment, pace of operations, and operational requirements in Southwest Asia, and their affects on the Army's and Marine Corps's equipping and maintenance strategies; (2) equipment maintenance consequences created by these equipping and maintenance strategies; and (3) challenges affecting the timing and cost of Army and Marine Corps equipment reset. GAO's observations are based on equipment-related GAO reports issued in fiscal years 2004 through 2006, as well as ongoing related work.In response to the harsh operating environments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the unanticipated and prolonged length and pace of sustained operations, the Army and Marine Corps have developed and implemented several initiatives to equip its forces and maintain the extensive amounts of equipment in theater. Environmental factors such as heat, sand, and dust have taken their toll on sensitive components. In addition, operating equipment at a pace well in excess of peacetime operations is generating a large operational maintenance and replacement requirement that must be addressed when units return to their home stations. To meet ongoing operational requirements, the Army and Marine Corps have developed pools of equipment in theater to expedite the replacement of equipment damaged during operations and directed that equipment necessary for OIF and OEF operations remain in theater. In response, the Army and Marine Corps have developed several initiatives to increase the maintenance capacity in theater to be able to provide near-depot level repair capabilities. Although the Army and Marine Corps are reporting high rates of equipment readiness and have developed and implemented plans to increase the maintenance capabilities in theater, these actions have a wide range of consequences. Many of the equipment items used in Southwest Asia are not receiving depot-level repair because equipment items are being retained in theater or at home units and the Army has scaled back on the scope of work performed at the depots. As a result, the condition of equipment items in theater will likely continue to worsen and the equipment items will likely require more extensive repair or replacement when they eventually return to home stations. The Army and Marine Corps will face a number of ongoing and long-term challenges that will affect the timing and cost of equipment reset, such as Army and Marine Corps transformation initiatives, reset of prepositioned equipment, efforts to replace equipment left overseas from the active, National Guard, and Reserve units, as well as the potential transfer of U.S. military equipment and the potential for continuing logistical support to Iraqi Security Forces. Also, both the Marine Corps and Army will have to better align their funding requests with the related program strategies to sustain, modernize, or replace existing legacy equipment systems. Finally, both services will have to make difficult choices and trade-offs when it comes to their many competing equipment programs. While the services are working to refine overall requirements, the total requirements and costs are unclear and raise a number of questions as to how the services will afford them. Until the services are able to firm up these requirements and cost estimates, neither the Secretary of Defense nor the Congress will be in a sound position to weigh the trade offs and risks.
    [Read More…]
  • Remarks at the 7th Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue
    In Climate - Environment - Conservation
    John Kerry, Special [Read More…]
  • Return to Election Negotiations
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Readout of Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta’s Call with European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager
    In Crime News
    U.S. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta this morning spoke with European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager. In their inaugural conversation, the two leaders discussed the Justice Department and European Commission’s mutual interest in promoting competition in a fair, global marketplace and building stronger transatlantic cooperation on justice issues and antitrust enforcement.
    [Read More…]
  • Mauritius Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Exercise increased [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.