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#286539 - 09/29/17 10:48 PM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: Pete]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1313
Montanero said ... "There were large numbers of military already engaged in other disasters and operations:
Afghanistan is ramping up
Iraq/Syria is ramping up
North Korea is ramping up
Forces were already in Houston for disaster relief
Forces were already in Florida and the Caribbean for disaster relief
Forces were on standby for Puerto Rico before the hurricane hit

Other responsibilities and missions do not end, and disaster assistance is not a real mission of the US armed forces, it is a capability that is used, but they prepare and resource for missions."

----------------
It's a very good point. It's what I had in mind when I commented that I was not sure "who" in the US military actually covers these humanitarian missions.

I don't really know how they (our military) are covering so many bases at the same time. Almost looks like Mission Impossible. Especially with Afghanistan increasing again, and North Korea looking really serious, it seems like SF troops should be headed in those directions. I would not complain.

Maybe the US military should delegate the Army Corp of Engineers to these civilian disasters, plus whatever Naval units are in the reserves. I don't think we should be tying down our frontline troops, at a time like this.

All we need is one more major military emergency - anywhere in the world - and we are not going to be able to **cover** all of the bases.


Edited by Pete (09/29/17 10:52 PM)

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#286540 - 09/30/17 02:39 AM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: Pete]
Montanero Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1127
Loc: North Carolina
AKSAR, I have not worked these issues for a while and was not aware of the legal change for FEMA. There is always a legal issue to deal with though. The governor of Puerto Rico was ahead of the game and working to organize the relief effort before the hurricane hit.

The involvement of the military is still more difficult than other assets. There are many legal issues, and though streamlined a bit, I am sure are still a pain to navigate and do not happen instantaneously.

And for Pete, those SF troops have been deploying constantly, all over the world, since long before 9/11, and they are stretched thin. The operational tempo for all of the special operations forces has been very high since 9/11, and is only getting worse. It is a "Truth" of special operations that professional SOF must be created and trained BEFORE the emergency, they take time to have really good ones.

Bottom line, the aid Puerto Rico needs is coming, but it is difficult and does not happen over night. Everyone would gladly volunteer to go and help. It is a process, not magic. If people and local governments were better prepared they would not be in such dire circumstances. Maybe the Boy Scout Emergency Preparedness program should be required for all city government and above personnel. The more preparation that is done before the emergency, the less has to be done to resolve the emergency.

Having been involved in some things like this, I can say it is difficult and takes time. No matter how well you planned, there are always difficulties and contingencies.

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#286544 - 09/30/17 04:26 AM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: Pete]
Phaedrus Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 1999
Loc: Great Plains
It's unfortunate that they were the third or fourth (of even fifth?) disaster to come along in a short time span. Certainly it's true that the US doesn't have infinite resources; between our multiple wars and ongoing relief efforts around the globe we're being spread thin. I expect the military will do all they can.
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#286546 - 09/30/17 09:27 AM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: Bingley]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 934
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Bingley
I feel like if we go deeper into this topic, the discussion will be unsuitable for this forum. But I started wondering, how do we know when a (seeming) delay is due to the size of the disaster? What are the administrative decisions/commands that must be given to set the effort in motion? How do the relief organizations (the military, for example) get ready to go and help?

You wont know whether a delay is due the size of the disaster. One could use a common sense approach though. Even in relatively small disasters the emergency response units need some time to assess the situation and decide on a course of action. When the scale is larger the required time for assessing the situation is bound to not satisfy the victims. Youīll probably never hear people affected by a disaster say "I wish they had responded slower".
Now add some difficulties in the logistics, depleted supplies and resources grounded for maintenance and it will slow down the effort even more. The deployable assets are not the only limited resource. Maintenance crews have limited capacity as well.
The amount of media coverage may well be connected to the difficulties to actually reach the area. It may not really reflect the effort that is put into the response.
_________________________
If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

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#286547 - 09/30/17 12:25 PM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: M_a_x]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 814
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Apparently we have begun to send truck drivers to PR to replace the local drivers who can't get to work, so that the supplies can be delivered. I am going to speculate the none of the emergency plans identified the need to move truck drivers into the area.
_________________________
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

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#286548 - 09/30/17 02:07 PM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: bws48]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4591
Loc: SOCAL
I have to be careful so as not go political. One of the earlier comments I heard regarding the Puerto Rico effort was that the locals were competent and could provide a lot of the manpower. Now we're providing truck drivers???

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#286549 - 09/30/17 03:41 PM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: Russ]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1054
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Russ
I have to be careful so as not go political. One of the earlier comments I heard regarding the Puerto Rico effort was that the locals were competent and could provide a lot of the manpower. Now we're providing truck drivers???
It sounds like many drivers are unable to get to the port to work, for the same reasons trucks aren't getting out. Lake of gas, damaged roads, etc. Also, if the driver's families are in dire straits, the drivers may feel they need to stay home and care for their families, protect their homes from looters etc etc. If it were a choice between reporting for work, or protecting your family, what would you do?

Another less obvious issue is that the current situation requires a big surge of trucking. Most of the island has been without supply for over a week now. Presumably Puerto Rico, like the most of the rest of the world, in normal times has goods supplied "just in time". What Russ buys in the store today was probably delivered yesterday or the day before. Now Puerto Rico suddenly has more than a week of supply backlog that must be moved from the ports. Even if every regular driver on the island was available, it might still not be enough for the current surge.

Not to derail the thread, but most people are totally unaware about what "just in time" really means for the stuff they consume. I went to a talk awhile back about planning for an earthquake disaster in Alaska. An emergency manager from Fairbanks said they estimate that at any given time, the stores in Fairbanks have on their shelves and in their storerooms about a one day supply of food for Fairbanks. The stuff Fairbanks will buy tomorrow is in the store today. The stuff for day after tomorrow is in trucks on the way from the port of Anchorage. And the stuff for the day after that is being unloaded in the port now. And the stuff for the day after that is on a ship somewhere between Tacoma and Anchorage. It is a marvelously efficient system when everything is working. But it is also a very fragile system. Something to think about.
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#286550 - 09/30/17 03:48 PM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: Pete]
Montanero Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1127
Loc: North Carolina
All the more reason to prepare in advance, at the personal, family, community and government levels. Never get into the position that you are depending on others to take care of your needs.

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#286551 - 09/30/17 04:17 PM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: Pete]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1313
Not to derail the thread, but most people are totally unaware about what "just in time" really means for the stuff they consume.
---------------

Agree with you on this whole "just in time" idea.
It only works when there are perfect transportation conditions. It is also based on the assumption that everybody in the supply chain does not have a lot of depot storage. It's actually the complete opposite of "preparedness" thinking. I'm not sure how much PR is involved in the Just-In-Time system. But the "Just-In-Time" philosophy undermines the give-and-take that is needed for emergency situations.

BACK TO OUR MAIN POINT - which is exactly what Montanero just said. We really can't be relying on other people for our essential needs. Since the "system" is not stockpiling items ... we have to do it in our own homes.


Edited by Pete (09/30/17 04:19 PM)

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#286552 - 09/30/17 05:53 PM Re: Puerto Rico - Real Large-Scale Emergency [Re: bws48]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 934
Loc: Germany
The plans could have identified the need.
I would speculate that phase 1 is to recruit local truck drivers first. Phase 2 would be to fill the ranks with non-locals. Thatīs whatīs happening now. The same might be required for the vehicles.
Getting the supplies to PR may have had higher priority as the truck drivers canīt haul the cargo if they donīt have any.
_________________________
If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

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