Pacific Navies focus on Standardizing Humanitarian Relief Playbook at Seventh Fleet Conference

From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

Capt. Russell Hays, senior medical officer aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) answers questions from Surgeon Vice Adm. Shalesh Rohatgi, Indian Navy Director General of Medical Service, during the Fiscal Year 2014 Pacific Navies Medical Senior Leadership Seminar. This seminar presents an opportunity to share, discuss and understand medical capabilities of partner nations, as well as creates an opportunity to enhance military to military cooperation on a medical level. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ben Larscheid

Capt. Russell Hays, senior medical officer aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) answers questions from Surgeon Vice Adm. Shalesh Rohatgi, Indian Navy Director General of Medical Service, during the Fiscal Year 2014 Pacific Navies Medical Senior Leadership Seminar. This seminar presents an opportunity to share, discuss and understand medical capabilities of partner nations, as well as creates an opportunity to enhance military to military cooperation on a medical level.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ben Larscheid

YOKOSUKA, Japan – More than 100 medical experts from nine countries in the Pacific region gathered in Yokosuka, Japan at the annual Pacific Navies Senior Medical Leadership Seminar, Jan. 15-16 to begin development of common Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HA/DR) procedures.

The seminar focused on creating common methods, communication and prioritization of HA/DR efforts with a preventative medicine emphasis.

In both Operations Damayan and Tomodachi, Delegates from numerous countries noted how dozens of organizations and countries wanted to contribute, but their efforts were not coordinated or prioritized as well as they could have been. Creating a common playbook will help get aid, supplies and people where they are needed most.

The seminar began with each of the nations sharing their experiences with past HA/DR efforts, focusing on medical relief and capabilities. Senior medical leaders then participated in a series of “table top” exercises, in which leaders discussed what type of support they could provide in future disaster scenarios and how to best coordinate efforts.

“The table top exercise for this conference is designed to determine what kind of military assets can be provided and how to share information during a real scenario,” said Rear Adm. Fumihiko Hirata, commander, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Hospital Yokosuka.

By the end of the seminar, the expectation from the discussions and open exchange of ideas was to make the Indo-Asia-Pacific nations better prepared to deal with unexpected disasters though improved collaboration.

“I look forward to your feedback so we can continue to ensure this seminar remains relevant and continues to address the multitude of medical challenges you face every day,” said Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.

In addition to discussing a common set of HA/DR standards, this multinational seminar is important to building relationships amongst all allies and partners in 7th Fleet.

“This is a great opportunity to get our allied and partner nations together to talk about important issues pertaining to response to disasters,” said Rear Adm. Colin Chinn, United States Pacific Command surgeon. “We can share experiences and lessons learned as well as build critical relationships as we move forward.”

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