An Offer to Host a Regional HADR Coordination Centre (RHCC)
The Asia-Pacific is one of the most natural disaster-prone regions in the world, as it lies within the "Pacific Ring of Fire". Over the last decade, there has been growing recognition that foreign militaries can play a useful role and provide valuable assistance to countries affected by major natural disasters. At the same time, this assistance needs to be well-coordinated and targeted, to avoid adding to the logistical burdens and demands on the disaster-affected country. It is therefore important to promote a stronger military-to-military coordination and response, so as to minimise gaps and duplication of efforts in the disaster relief operations.
At the ASEAN-US Defence Ministers' Informal Meeting in 4 April 2014 in Hawaii, Singapore's Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen thus offered to establish a RHCC at Singapore's Changi Command and Control (C2) Centre. This was supported by the other Defence Ministers, who emphasised the need for militaries to work more closely together to strengthen the region's HADR capabilities, and agreed that such a regional HADR coordination centre would allow military forces to respond speedily and effectively to a disaster situation. (Click here for source.)
Inauguration of Changi RHCC on 12 Sep 2014
The Changi RHCC was launched on 12 September 2014, by Singapore's then-Second Minister for Defence Mr Chan Chun Sing, who announced the RHCC's commencement of operations and unveiled its logo. This inauguration took place on the side-lines of the post-conference reception for the Singapore-US Regional Conference on "Building Civil-Military Capacity for Disaster Relief Operations", which was jointly organised by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the US Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM). In his closing address, Mr Chan explained that Singapore had offered to host the Changi RHCC as recent disasters demonstrated the need to build real regional capability and capacity in HADR, and also the importance of improving the coordination of foreign military assistance during a disaster response. (Click here for source.)
Mission of Changi RHCC
The Changi RHCC seeks to facilitate military-to-military coordination in HADR, supporting the military of a disaster affected state in coordinating assistance provided by foreign militaries. It aims to provide an open, inclusive and flexible platform that allows both regional and extra-regional militaries to work together and effectively cooperate in a multinational disaster response effort.
In so doing, Changi RHCC supports and complements the efforts of existing HADR mechanisms such as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management Centre (AHA Centre), which focus on supporting a disaster affected state's national disaster management authorities in coordinating the overall relief effort.
The Changi RHCC's value proposition lies in the following three areas:
One, it can provide partner militaries with a comprehensive situation picture through the OPERA Computer Information System (CIS), to facilitate decision-making and minimise duplication and gaps. This situation picture will fuse together information on the assessed needs, specific requests for assistance, status of pledges/deployments and key military logistics (e.g. points of entry or availability of airfields/sea ports).
Two, the RHCC's network of International Liaison Officers (ILOs) and operational centre linkages with partner militaries can enhance information sharing and operational coordination for a multinational military response.
Three, with the consent of the Affected State, the Changi RHCC can deploy a forward coordination unit into theatre within the first 48 hours of a disaster to support coordination efforts by the Affected State's military on the ground.