The Crisis Of The Caribbean

891 Words4 Pages
Crisis in the Caribbean Just before 5pm on January 12, 2010, a fierce earthquake struck Haiti. It was the worst earthquake to hit the region in two hundred years. The death toll was over two hundred thousand people. Haiti resides in the area of responsibility (AOR) of SOUTHCOM, the Department of Defense’s geographic combatant command for the South American and Caribbean region. Since the natural disaster took place in SOUTHCOM’s AOR, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff (CJCS) appointed SOUTHCOM as the DOD’s lead agency. Although initial SOUTHCOM organization was not ideal and the earthquake rendered communications inoperable, SOUTHCOM 's response to the crisis was astonishing because SOUTHCOM organized a force of twenty-two…show more content…
All of this was just to organize the Combatant Command Headquarters. A Joint Task Force still needed to be stood up and damage on the ground still needed to be assessed in order to determine what kind of aid Haiti was going to need. Selecting the JTF Commander was pretty easy for SOUTHCOM. LTG Keen was identified as the JTF Commander for a plethora of reasons. He had vast experience in the region, had built a personal relationship with the Commander of the MINUSTAH contingent and he was on the ground in Haiti when the earthquake happened. Once identified as the JTF-H Commander, LTG Keen had to start piecing together a capable Joint Task Force. Pieces of the puzzle, such as the USS Carl Vincent, the 22nd and 24th Expeditionary Strike Forces as well as a BCT from the 82nd Airborne Division were identified almost immediately as parts of the newly formed JTF. After reading this case study and some articles online, I initially thought that the Department of Defense’s response was going to be a huge failure. Failure in the sense that this Geographic Combatant Command (GCC) was undermanned and unprepared and this was going to cost the people of Haiti dearly due to the delayed response times while this GCC was getting fully manned and properly organized; then I looked at the timeline. It is astonishing what was accomplished so quickly by both the DOD and SOUTHCOM. Were they fully prepared for the crisis? No. Were they
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