Analysis of United States Marine Corps Operations in Support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Report Number: NPS-LM-13-094

Series: Logistics Management

Category: Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)

Report Series: Sponsored Report

Authors: Jared R. Gastrock, Juan J. Iturriaga

Title: Analysis of United States Marine Corps Operations in Support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Published: 2013-11-01

Sponsored By: Acquisition Research Program

Status: Published--Unlimited Distribution

Research Type: Graduate Student

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Keywords: Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, HADR, Marine expeditionary unit, Bangladesh Cyclone Sidr, Operation Sea Angel II, Haiti earthquake 2010, Operation Unified Response, Great East Japan earth


In order to improve the effectiveness of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) response to future international humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) missions, an analysis of the demands created by such disasters as well as the capabilities of the USMC is necessary. This research focuses on the primary response organization within the USMC: the Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) and those resources available to the MEU to conduct HA/DR operations. Recent HA/DR events are examined to determine how common demands were met by the USMC as well as any gaps that may exist that should be addressed to improve future effectiveness.
In this research, we explore the capabilities of the USMC MEU that satisfy demands arising from natural disasters. We follow the humanitarian and military core competencies framework for studying the USMC capabilities to match the supply with the demand from certain past disasters. After compiling and analyzing data from multiple USMC publications, historical records of disasters, and the USMC response to those disasters, we identify those capabilities provided by the USMC that are the most critical and unique with respect to the conduct of HA/DR missions. We collected data for the 2007 cyclone on the southwest coast of Bangladesh, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. We selected these disasters due to their impact and the level of involvement of the USMC in relief operations.