NAVCENT Facilitates Humanitarian Operations Workshop

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Roland A. Franklin, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs | June 02, 2021

MANAMA, Bahrain – More than 40 multi-national military and civilian leaders from Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. attended the Humanitarian Operations Workshop (HOW), hosted by the Bahrain Ministry of Interior, and facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in Manama, Bahrain, May 25-26.

Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) delivered opening remarks to U.S. and partner-nation representatives.

“Humanitarian disasters don’t happen on a schedule. They don't offer fair warning, and they strike the vulnerable with particular cruelty,” said Cooper. “Yet we also know that the response to disasters brings out the best in humanity. It unites an array of people; international organizations; governments and militaries from around the world to support a common goal — to provide aid for those desperately in need.”

Cooper emphasized the importance of international cooperation, particularly during humanitarian disasters.

“This workshop is intended to offer you the tools to do your work more efficiently and plan more effectively,” said Cooper.  “Strong coordination of disaster response and humanitarian assistance saves time, effort and resources. And even more importantly, it saves lives.”

The HOW was held over two days and included interactive presentations, case-study methodology and group exercises where participants discussed how they would handle a specific disaster situation and who they would contact for different aspects of the situation.

“Through this event we have developed greater understanding of each other's humanitarian and medical capabilities, built the knowledge base of this community of interest, and have a roadmap to an even stronger foundation for regional partnership and engagement,” said Albert Gembara, the USAID humanitarian assistance advisor for NAVCENT.

Gembara added that the workshop offered participants an opportunity to share dialogue on the unique capabilities each nation can contribute while providing disaster relief.

USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) created the HOW in 2017 to establish a formal learning environment for select U.S. military leaders and planners to discuss how the Department of Defense, Department of State and USAID work collaboratively during humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

The workshop highlights how humanitarian agencies relate to the U.S. military's mission and its role and responsibilities when supporting foreign humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, specifically as provided for under Department of Defense Directive 5100.46.

The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.