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Cablegate: Us Military Options in Support of Usaid/Ofda In

VZCZCXRO1422
OO RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #1814/01 3241730
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201730Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU IMMEDIATE 9341
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5581
INFO RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 0375
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK IMMEDIATE 8237
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 0272
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA IMMEDIATE 0982
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 0558
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE
RUEKDIA/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 001814

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DCHA/OFDA FOR ROBERT THAYER
AID/W FOR AA MARK WARD AND ANE ANNE DIX
DEPT PASS TO SCA/EX
DEPT PASS TO SCA/PB
DCHA/FPP FOR MATTHEW NIMS AND PAUL NOVICK
ROME FOR FODAG
BANGKOK FOR RDM/A TOM DOLAN, BOB BARTON
KATHMANDU FOR USAID OFDA BILL BERGER AND SUE MCINTYRE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID SOCI PINR PREL BG
SUBJECT: US MILITARY OPTIONS IN SUPPORT OF USAID/OFDA IN
CYCLONE SIDR AFTERMATH

REF: A. A) DHAKA 1808
B. B) DHAKA 1808
C. C) DHAKA 1797
D. D) STATE 157623
E. E) DHAKA 1796
F. AND PREV.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Members of the Humanitarian Assistance
Survey Team, Defense Attach, Office of Defense Cooperation
chief, USAID/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance
(USAID/OFDA) and EMBOFF participated in briefings with host
Armed Forces Division on 19 NOV, and the same group (less
USAID/OFDA) overflew affected areas on 20 NOV in a host
nation Army helicopter (detailed report septel). Initial
impressions from the overflight were that major
infrastructure (roads, bridges, power poles and lines,)
survived largely intact, but major losses were seen in crops
and in homes. Key issues repeated at all briefings, and
borne out by first hand observation, are that the immediate
needs are: potable water (both production and distribution),
medical/public health support (focusing on preventing
diseases in the storm's aftermath), shelter, clothing, and
food (both in distribution of existing stockpiles and in
replenishing stockpiles for their existing planned
consumption by March 2008). The Armed Forces Division
briefers did not forecast a large need for a military US
response, saying host nation military capacity was generally
adequate for the tasks. Field grade officers in Barisal,
however, indicated that there is a need for tailored US
support in the identified areas. END SUMMARY.

US MILITARY RESOURCES PRESENT IN BANGLADESH

2. (SBU) USARPAC MEDICAL TEAM. Already in place in
Bangladesh, this team had just completed their successful
medical readiness training exercise in conjunction with the
host country military in Comilla when Cyclone SIDR struck.
The team has remained in place, is now staged in Dhaka, and
has been placed under the temporary control of the
Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (HAST). The team's
leader and the HAST medical officer met with host military
medical personnel and participated in the assessment of
potential deployment of medical teams in conjunction with
host military and/or civilian medical teams and their
logistics requirements.

3. (SBU) HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE SURVEY TEAM (HAST). A
forward party of 23 Marines and sailors detached from III
Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) arrived in Bangladesh 19 NOV
to initiate planning in support of USAID/OFDA. The HAST is
the forward planning element for the 3d Marine Expeditionary
Brigade (MEB), which will lead the US military support
effort, should it be requested. USS Kearsarge is currently
steaming towards Bangladesh with an estimated arrival date of
22 NOV, as is USS Essex with an estimated arrival date of 27
NOV, and USS Tarawa expected on 4 DEC. Essex is primarily
configured for Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief
(HA/DR) operations and is intended to be the primary support
ship, if needed. The HAST has initially identified logistics
and lift capacity (both sea and air), medical support, and
freshwater production as the principal areas where the III
MEF's capabilities and host nation needs overlap.

4. (SBU) OFFICE OF DEFENSE COOPERATION. Host nation military
and Post are in agreement that the already scheduled
bilateral military exercise "BENGAL FLASH", as currently
scripted, is not suited to the post-cyclone situation. Host
nation military proposes to conduct joint HA/DR projects
instead during the same time period of early December as
originally scheduled for BENGAL FLASH. Specifically, 11
Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) would conduct joint

DHAKA 00001814 002 OF 002


operations in support of HA/DR, mobile DENTCAP/MEDCAPS
(perhaps using small military vessels as platforms),
infrastructure projects (coordinated minor civil engineering
and construction projects), and surveying/mapping of water
ways. Lift capacity might be used to delivering relief
materials is those operations are still ongoing at that time.
These concepts would be coordinated with USAID, both OFDA
and Mission, activities.

5. (SBU) PACOM AUGMENTATION TEAM. The team recently added an
active duty US Army Civil Affairs Officer to coordinate Civil
Affairs operations on a long term basis. US Army Civil
Affairs teams in support of Pacific Command (PACOM) have the
ability to conduct assessment operations for longer term
developmental projects supporting USAID mission objectives.
Military Civic Action (MCA) programs can be planned and
implemented by to serve as a link between HA/DR and ongoing
Theater Security Cooperation programs. A specific example
for Bangladesh would be the building of additional
multipurpose shelters that serve as both a school and natural
disaster shelter facility at the local or village level,
funded by DOD. Additionally, US Army Civil Affairs has the
ability to focus its civil affairs operations by mapping the
desired areas to affect as directed and in close coordination
with the country team. The PACOM augmentation team also has
an information support team sub-element. This team can
support ongoing HA/DR operations by designing and producing
media products that improve the effectiveness of those
operations, informing the public consistent with the
Mission's public diplomacy goals.

COMMON US MILITARY GOALS

6. (SBU) CLOSE COORDINATION. The US military elements present
in Bangladesh have made it clear that they are acting in
support of USAID/OFDA, which is the lead agency for the USG
response. All segments of the military resources are in
close coordination and are aware of the need to de-conflict
efforts and avoid duplicating efforts both internally and
with the larger host nation and international response.

7. (SBU) POSITIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS. Close coordination with
public affairs is also a mission requirement. Some factors
in ensuring this are including host nation military officers
and/or civilian officials in all relief material delivery.
This also serves the dual purpose of ensuring a local guide
and translator is present.

8. (SBU) MINIMAL FOOTPRINT. Of primary importance in any
disaster scenario is to minimize any additional strain on the
host nation's affected resources. The HAST's contingency
planning at this stage, for example, is assuming that
helicopters would return to the ship or to existing host
nation military facilities for refueling instead of setting
up a forward refueling point with US Marines and sailors
actually on the ground.

9. (SBU) WAY FORWARD. Possible areas where various US
military capabilities overlap with apparent host nation needs
have been identified, and the US military presence is
prepared to move in support of USAID/OFDA if US military
support to the humanitarian operation is determined to be
appropriate. The final phase of the HAST's assessment
mission will be when BGen Bailey, 3d MEB Commander, meets
with host nation Chief of Army Staff, General Moeen, on 22
NOV to determine to what extent, if any, US military support
will be requested. If such a request is made, the HAST would
remain to coordinate the response.
Pasi

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