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NEWS | Aug. 26, 2022

U.S. Soldiers and allies certify in interagency humanitarian aid and disaster response

By Spc. Devin Klecan Victory Corps

U.S. Army V Corps civil affairs general staff section hosted the Joint Humanitarian Operations Course (JHOC), a formal, comprehensive U.S. Government (USG) system’s course led by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, Aug. 22-24, 2022.

According to its website, USAID developed JHOC at the request of the Department of Defense (DOD) to discuss the relationship and cooperation between USAID and its partners, like the DOD; intended for enhanced interagency integration. The two-day course utilized interactive presentations, participant discussion groups and case study methodology for the civil affairs attendees assigned to U.S. Army Europe and Africa, V Corps, and other NATO Allies and regional security partners.

The JHOC audience typically includes DOD civilians, officers and noncommissioned officers in operations, logistics, communications, medical, planning and civil affairs.
V Corps Civil Affairs Planning Team Noncommissioned Officer in Charge Master Sgt. Colin Veltman, part of the 418th Civil Affairs Battalion, Belton, Missouri, oversaw the course implementation and now understands the importance of the class just as the U.S. responds to the major humanitarian crisis from current events in eastern Europe.

“Especially for the younger generation of [civil affairs Soldiers], that can be a pretty daunting task to think about,” Veltman shared. “But with the knowledge that this class provides, you know there are entities out there that can help you in providing the basic needs dealing with [disaster responses-humanitarian assistance] … it’s not just the U.S.A., but they cover all of the other organizations in the class as well, what their roles are and what they can provide; it’s always good knowledge to have, especially for your leaders.”

In the event of a humanitarian crisis or response to a disaster within the V Corps area of operation, course graduates now understand that the U.S. response is an intricate web of interagency, multinational and nongovernment agencies that would most likely require logistical support, an area of expertise for the corps.

“In the event of a humanitarian crisis that would impact the European theater, whether it’s natural or manmade, USAID would serve as the lead federal agency in support of the U.S. government,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Han, director of civil-military operations for V Corps. “Therefore, it is important for the U.S. Army, V Corps, and partners to be coordinated and in sync to stay optimized for the U.S. ability to assist.”

According to the course handbook, BHA expert staff monitor global hazards, provide guidance, and prioritize programs in multiple sectors: food and agricultural assistance, health, economic recovery, nutrition, protection, sanitation and more.