As readers have noted, the Diva and others have lamented the ability of the U.S. to effectively response to major disasters in other countries. It is interesting to note that a proposal for changing the response was made by Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, while participating in the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas in Bolivia recently. In an article titled Gates backs crisis cells to aid Latin America in disasters, Terradaily, Nov. 23, only a broad outline of the concept is provided.
Defense ministers from across the Americas on Monday mulled the creation of crisis cells that would spring into action in a natural disaster, an idea US Defense Secretary Robert Gates described as “promising.” The proposal was discussed at the ninth Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas in Bolivia’s largest city Santa Cruz. Gates told representatives from some 30 countries that the proposal followed “honest assessments of what worked and what didn’t in Haiti” in the aftermath of that country’s catastrophic earthquake, which killed 250,000 people. The proposal involves creating a series of Military Assistance Collaboration Cells, or MACCs, that would share information and technology.
I managed to find a copy of Gate’s speech given at the Conference, the text of which can be found here. But t does not provide much more detail. If anyone has any more details about this, I would appreciate your letting me know. The concept is very interesting — sort of a variation of the concept of Recovery Swat Teams that have been talked about for many years in the U.S.
Thanks to Bill Cumming for calling the press release to my attention.