How Special Operations Forces Function in Catastrophes ~Bob Mayer,

Posted on December 31, 2014 By

SpecialForces-AirbornI’ve been following Bob Mayer @Bob_Mayer on Twitter for a while and have begun to read his work online. For me the most salient point of his post here is the notion of Cascading Events within any military scenario. Emergency Manager Tom Malmay @tmalmay87 taught me about Tangential and hence Cascading events which are precipitated by Primary Disaster. It may seem obvious when I thought about it, but it turns out many cities don’t consider this in their preparedness training, to wit: not only do you have the Major Catastrophe but you will most certainly face tangential breakdowns across the area, which then build quickly into Cascading Events, which then become their own disasters on top of the original Primary Catastrophe. New Orleans/Hurricane Katrina/Federal Levee Failures was a perfect case in point.  Survivability and Recovery necessitates that you deploy dozens of different specialists into the field to take control of a highly non-specialized, non-controlled chaos. I saw it in New Orleans with the Federal Flood 8-29-05, when Lt Gen Russel Honore took the lead across the board, not only with troops establishing order. He acted both in and out of the box, lose lose as Mayer would say. Special thanks to Garry Rodgers @GarryRodgers1 for permission to re-post this fine piece. Check out his great blog, and bear in mind that I believe one’s dying word need not be the last word. ~Bruce Biles

Catastrophe planning in the civilian world is primarily the province of engineers and management. The problem with that is engineers and management are trained for, plan for, and work in a controlled environment (what they think is a controlled environment). So delusion events are outside their comfort zone; aberrations.

In fact, engineers and managers are often trained to be blind to cascade events. Their training and work environment normally does not reward focusing on cascade events, but rather punishes it. Read more.

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