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The US Department of Defense and its Role in International Disaster Response Preparedness: A Source of Soft Power?

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Item Summary

Title:The US Department of Defense and its Role in International Disaster Response Preparedness: A Source of Soft Power?
Authors:Kunce-Wagner, Elizabeth
Keywords:Department of Defense
Soft Power
Disaster Response Preparedness
Date Issued:Aug 2015
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2015]
Abstract:A growing number of national militaries, with the United States Department of Defense (US DoD) leading the way, have been taking more proactive roles in foreign disaster response. Involvement in disaster response has been associated with improving a nation’s soft power currency. This has led to a “mission creep” for many militaries with an expansion of military engagement into the traditional roles of other non-military government and civilian emergency response and emergency planning agencies. These include a broad spectrum of security cooperation activities linked to disaster response preparedness (DRP) via associated training and planning exercises. A study of this phenomena through a study of perceptions from key stakeholder of the world’s largest military’s (US DoD) DRP related activities in one of the most disaster affected regions of the world can help answer some critical questions around the changing roles of military organizations in response to the security challenges of the twenty-first century.
The hypothesis of this research is that the US DoD can provide important support to DRP that would support an enabling environment for soft power. This soft power potential is limited by the US Government’s one-dimensional approach to power, which equates inputs with outcomes. To date, US DoD success in DRP has been measured by selfevaluation thus limiting a more thoughtful approach toward DRP. This limited perspective and approach has obscured the tangible successes of this type of engagement with soft power window dressing. To analyze this trend, this research will document the perspectives of professionals working in the field of DRP and examine US DoD activities linked to DRP in the ASEAN region following the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Using feedback (survey, interview) from the key stakeholders in DRP primarily from the US DoD and International Humanitarian and Development Community, this research will help discern the extent to which these activities are perceived as an acceptable approach to DRP, how these efforts can (or) have supported improved disaster response capabilities, and the perceived limits to US DoD effectiveness in these engagements.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Political Science

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