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Title: Saving lives with fewer discussions. Coordination between military and non-military organisations during disaster relief operations.
Authors: Stevens, J
Issue Date: 14-Jun-2017
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: Over the past two decades, the world has faced more than a thousand disasters. The Centre for Research into the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) reported in 2016 that from 2005 till 2014 an annual average of 367 disasters affected 76 thousand humanitarian losses per year. To save as many lives as possible directly after a disaster, there has to be a very effective disaster relief system and organization with an effective and responsive supply chain. Coordination is the key for effective and efficient supply chains. Tatham and Rietjens (2016) described some of the differences and challenges in coordination between military and non-military relief organizations. Jensen and Hertz (2016) stated that there is (still) a very clear gap in literature on the particular roles of the different organizations during disaster relief operations. With the increasing number of natural disasters, the need for coordination between the military and non-military relief organization increases. Because of the little attention on the coordination between military and non-military relief organizations, there is a lot to win. With improving the coordination, the effective and efficient use of resources and the saving of precious time can save more lives. The research question is: “How can the coordination between the military organization and the non-military relief organization during disaster relief operations be improved?” To answer this research question, three sub questions need to be answered: 1 “What are the critical success factors for coordination?”; 2 “How does the coordination between military and non-military organizations take place during disaster relief operations?”; 3 “What is the role of the military organization within disaster relief operations?”. There are several different critical success factors (csf) for coordination. Some of these csfs apply for the coordination during disaster relief operations and lead to coordination challenges. The analysis of the last two sub questions led to three propositions: • “The focus to overcome the disconnect in mutual understanding has to be at strategic and tactical level”. • “The unfamiliarity with the Oslo Guidelines leads to unnecessary discussions (and delay) between military and non-military relief organizations”. • “The military organization has only a broad provider role and delivers indirect assistance during disaster relief operations in the (immediate) response phase”. To validate these propositions, a single case study is performed. The subject of this case study is the disaster relief operation after hurricane Matthew on Haiti in October 2016. The focus in this case is on the support of the Dutch military organization and their coordination with the non-military relief organizations. The semi-structured interview that is used is based on the validated questionnaire of the report on effectiveness of foreign military assets in natural disaster response of SIPRI (2007). The case study of the disaster relief operation of hurricane Matthew showed that there were no coordination problems between military and non-military relief organizations at operational level. At the tactical and strategic level there were some challenges with the coordination between military and non-military relief organizations, because of organizational and cultural differences and the Oslo Guidelines. To improve the coordination between the military and the non-military relief organizations, there must be paid more attention to get mutual understanding on tactical and strategic level between these organizations. There must also be familiarity and clarity on the Oslo Guidelines and the military organization has to accept that it has no leading but an assistance role during disaster relief operations. Besides that, the difficulty for a clear task and role fulfilment, is that the military organization can have a direct or indirect assistance role. The focus has to be on coordination before the concerning disaster relief operation to clarify the role of the military organizations.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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