PDC assists with RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime exercise

August 1, 2022

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), in partnership with the United States government and twenty-six other national militaries, international organizations, and interagency partners, provided technical assistance and expertise during the world’s largest international maritime exercise known as Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

Held at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Oahu throughout the month of July, PDC assisted with the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) portion of the exercise. Support included scenario development and realistic simulation of a Category 4 hurricane using the Center’s DisasterAWARE platform.

A University of Hawai’i applied science and research center, PDC helped simulate large-scale impacts to fictitious islands in the Pacific Ocean—requiring coordination of foreign military aid and relief from international nongovernmental organizations.

“PDC’s response expertise and DisasterAWARE system were an integral part of the exercise—supporting a coordinated approach to preparedness, response, and recovery,” said PDC’s Director of Global Operations Dr. Erin Hughey. According to Hughey, DisasterAWARE provides real-time situational awareness and a common operating picture with built-in modeling, collaboration tools, and real-time analytics to support effective decision-making.

This year’s RIMPAC exercise involved 26 nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, 170 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel. The HA/DR portion of the exercise included the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Republic of the Korea Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Australian Navy, and the Chilean Navy.

Additionally, the exercise received support from subject matter experts from the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Center for Excellence in Disaster Management (CFE-DM), and Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre (CHANGI RHCC)

“The RIMPAC 2022 iteration was the first iteration to materialize in a post-COVID world. Having PDC’s Senior Disaster Services Analyst Kalei Miller present to support the realism of the exercise by demonstrating PDC’s capabilities and expertise, in-person and remotely, was a tremendous value add throughout the entire exercise planning cycle in ensuring the success of the exercise,” said Shawn Sippin, Humanitarian Assistance Advisor to the Military Civil-Military Operations Division for USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). Sippin described how PDC’s contributions afforded the training audience an opportunity to get hands-on experience integrating cutting edge DRR technology into their internal planning processes using the DisasterAware system throughout the HA/DR portion of RIMPAC.

“Partnerships between USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and PDC in exercises such as RIMPAC demonstrate potential for the strategic use of PDC’s resources in both future steady state DRR activities and ongoing emergency humanitarian responses for USAID throughout the globe. I look forward to future opportunities to collaborate with the PDC team in the future.”

RIMPAC exercises occur biennially on even years from Honolulu, Hawaii and have been taking place since 1971. They are designed to sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to the safety of sea lanes and security across the world’s interconnected oceans.

“This is how we find the areas where our national objectives overlap, where we can practice the procedures that will help to enable our interchangeability–the nexus of national will and interoperability,” said RIMPAC 2022 Commander, Vice Admiral Michael Boyle.

PDC anticipates continued participation in future RIMPAC exercises and plans to integrate lessons learned from this year’s activity into its long-term training and development program. According to PDC, these developments provide ongoing benefit to more than 70 partner nations, and tens of thousands of disaster management practitioners using its free DisasterAWARE platform globally.


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