The 42nd Pacific Armies Management Symposium (PAMS) was recently held in Hanoi, Vietnam, August 20-23. 2018, with the theme: “Cooperation among Indo-Pacific Land forces in Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response (HA/DR).”
There were three plenaries: Land forces initial response to HA/DR; Multilateral cooperation; and Enhancing roles in regional cooperation for HA/DR. Dr. Benjamin Ryan, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS), presented in plenary three where there was a focus on addressing keys issues land forces need to consider in order to enhance capabilities to effectively respond to future HA/DR events.
Dr. Ryan focused his discussion on what roles land forces could have in helping achieve resilience and cooperation. This included outlining the international humanitarian architecture (cluster system), describing resilience concepts and proposing land forces modify the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities for HA/DR planning activities. Modification of the scorecard by land forces would reflect alignment with the civilian sector approach to measuring resilience, enable dialogue with all sectors at local and national levels (helping build trust) and allow systematic prioritization of resilience strategies.
Dr. Ryan suggested the capacities to identify disaster vulnerabilities and help mitigate the risks identified through a scorecard approach already exist within land forces across the region (for example, engineering units). Also, application of a scorecard approach to measuring and achieve resilience would help communities, nations and the region better resist, absorb, adapt to, transform and recover from the effects of a disaster in a timely and efficient manner. Finally, he advised that this type of approach would enhance capabilities of land forces to effectively prepare for and respond to future HA/DR events at local, provincial, national and regional levels.
PAMS is a U.S. Army Pacific initiated seminar aimed at facilitating and enhancing interactions across the region. Participation has grown from nine nations at the first PAMS in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1977, to over 30 nations. The forum provides an opportunity to enhance understanding of regional challenges and concerns, exchange perspectives in a professional and cooperative setting and participate in cultural and networking activities. This was the first time the event had been held in Vietnam.