Humanitarian Assistance / Disaster Relief (English)


Online Phase Dates: 
May 11, 2021 to May 13, 2021
Application Dates:
Other Files: 

PDF icon Professional Experience Form [English]

PDF icon Professional Experience Form [Spanish]

Language Requirements: 
Course given in English


Much of the Western Hemisphere lies within an area that is prone to natural disasters. The Pacific nations, for example, lie on the "ring of fire," a massive chain of volcanoes and seismic fault lines that circle the Pacific Ocean. The Caribbean and Central American nations are frequently in the path of Atlantic hurricanes. Global climate change can have a variety of environmental impacts from water scarcity, to rising sea levels, to droughts that devastate crops, to forest fires. In response to these natural disasters, every country in the region places Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) as one of its top priorities.

The goal of the HADR seminar is to educate decision-makers from the region who work closely on HADR programs in their country as well as to improve the capacity of US and partner nation forces to respond to humanitarian crises and disasters.

Seminar participants will hear from representatives of regional HADR organizations as well as a number of national representatives who have important HADR responsibilities within their governments. The seminar is not US-focused, but the US program will be examined specifically with regard to the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), which provides HADR aid to partner nations; as well as the US Southern Command, which treats HADR as one of its main lines of effort..

COURSE OVERVIEW (click on the + below to open the individual items)

The HADR seminar supports the Regional Center goal of enhanced security communities which increase security through mutual understanding and collective or collaborative action. Specifically, this seminar is designed to provide opportunities to participants to:

  • Identify measures to improve the nation’s abilities to respond to natural and man-made disasters.
  • Analyze and compare the nature and the scope of different perspectives on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) including response to natural disasters, defense support of civilian authorities, preservation of critical infrastructure, interagency coordination, and continuity of operations for the government.
  • Analyze risks associated with natural and man-made threats in terms of preparation, mitigation of risk, and response.
  • Examine ways to increase regional cooperation to respond to natural and man-made threats throughout the Western Hemisphere.
  • Understand how interagency coordination and whole-of-government efforts optimize a government’s response to humanitarian crises and natural- or manmade disasters.
  • Assess the relevance and identify means for improving defense support to civil authorities.
  • Understand the role and contributions made by international and regional organizations that respond to natural and man-made crises.

The HADR seminar is conducted in an academic, non-attribution environment, 3-day online program that allows participants to analyze and compare different perspectives on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The seminar convenes for approximately 4-5 hours per day using National Defense University's (NDU) distance learning system Blackboard in addition to Zoom for Government to provide online discussions, listen to guest lecturers and practitioners, and participate in working group sessions.

The HADR Seminar in Spanish is intended for audiences from Central and South America, with the content reflecting regional organizations and disasters that are common in the area.

The HADR seminar supports current OSD Regional Center Policy priorities directed by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities (ASD-SPC), including:

  1. Support Defense Institution Building
  2. Facilitate Dialogue and Encourage Defense Cooperation with the United States
  3. Conduct Strategic Outreach

ADMINISTRATIVE DETAILS (click on the + below to open the individual items)

Ideally, participants in the seminar are those who have duties associated with HADR in their country. This may include positions in the national disaster response agency, the civil defense force, search and rescue organizations, and military units specifically tasked to respond to HADR crises. Participants who can speak directly of HADR experience and policy boost the value of the discussion.

Candidates must possess a university degree or, in cases where a candidate does not hold a degree, equivalent practical experience. Military and police personnel must have completed a command and staff course or equivalent. Exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

This seminar is conducted in English. Fluency in English is required for reading theoretical and conceptual materials and for conducting group discussions. Candidates who do not speak English as their native language will be interviewed prior to final selection.

Updated / Actualizado: May 05, 2021