RSIS Seminar by Dr Kristie Barrow, Visiting Senior Fellow, RSIS, Director of International and Domestic Engagement, Australian Civil-Military Centre

RSIS Seminars delivered by Dr Kristie Barrow, Visiting Senior Fellow, RSIS, NTU, Singapore; Director of International and Domestic Engagement of the Australian Civil-Military Centre.

Dr Barrow gave two seminars titled “Australia’s Approach to HADR from a Civil-Military Practitioner’s Viewpoint” and “Challenges and Limitations to Foreign Military Responses to HADR in Asia-Pacific”.

The first seminar on 27th November 2019 discussed how Australia understands HADR preparedness and response in the Asia-Pacific region, and the factors that inform the way Australia undertakes HADR in the region – both in policy and practice.  She stated that Australia’s approach to HADR centres on Civilian-Military-Police (Civ-Mil-Pol) coordination and a whole-of-government response. This approach is largely driven by the needs of the region and political dynamics, as well as the aspiration to balance both.

During the second seminar on 29th November 2019, Dr Barrow highlighted the theoretical, policy, and doctrinal challenges of foreign military engagement in HADR in the region. She presented the ways it affects non-military actors, the limitations and drawbacks of utilising extensive military assistance, and the structural issues and long-term viability of the current regional approach. In particular, she highlighted that an over-reliance on militaries in HADR creates the expectation that they can solve all problems. At the same time, this undermines the ability of civilian agencies to respond to disasters.