ANALYSIS OF THE AREA OF OPERATIONS FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE
The analysis of the area of operations is a detailed study conducted
within time constraints to serve as the basis for developing specific courses
of action. It includes an analysis of weather, terrain, and other factors
such as the political boundaries, governmental structures, economy, social
groups, location, scope, and severity of damage throughout the commander's
projected area of operations.
The civil-military operations (CMO) team is responsible for initiating,
coordinating, completing and, disseminating the final analysis of the area
of operations, which represents a coordinated staff effort with federal
and state agencies. Considerations for area analysis may also apply to
other types of operations. In any event, the assigned mission will dictate
what essential elements of information (EEI) are needed.
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF INFORMATION
In most cases, the EEI about the area of operations can be readily determined
by consulting several FORSCOM automated systems. One of these is the FORSCOM
Automated Intelligence Support System (FAISS), a geographic information
system that uses Defense Mapping Agency maps and a variety of data bases
to locate and display many of the EEI. A second automated system available
at FORSCOM is a DOD resource data base that contains information about
military resources and points of contact that might be used or called upon
to respond to domestic support operations. The FEMA also has automated
systems, such as their Disaster Analysis System (an automated mapping program),
which they make available to military commanders to facilitate analyses
and mapping of the closest critical resources. Typical EEI are discussed
In preparing the analysis of the area of operations, the information
that the CMO team gathers to satisfy the commander's EEI normally includes:
- Location of victims needing rescue, evacuation, and emergency medical
treatment and status of local emergency medical capabilities. Of particular
importance are severe weather and terrain conditions that may significantly
displace the population. Existing facilities or locations for temporary
housing of displaced persons should be identified.
- Description and status of lines of communication (LOCs), including
major roads, railroads, waterways, ports, and airports. Typically, the
detailed status of airfields, ports and harbors, rail facilities, facilities
for maintenance and storage, and electronic media and telephone towers
is unknown during the first hours or day after the event. If possible,
information on these infrastructure facilities within the impacted area
should state the nature and extent of damage and projected repairs.
- Weather conditions. List or refer to other documents containing, for
the period under study, meteorological conditions, including precipitation,
fog, cloud conditions, temperature, relative humidity, light data (including
moon phases, moonrise and moonset, beginning and end of nautical and civil
twilights), magnetic phenomena, extended forecast, and other data as appropriate.
- Characteristics of physical damage in specific disaster areas, that
is, housing, commercial, industrial, public utilities, and so forth. In
residential areas, damage assessment should should start in high-density
and low-income areas. Mobile homes are especially vulnerable and may contain
a larger proportion of the elderly and children than other areas. High-rise
apartment buildings and business offices are potential areas of risk in
no-warning events (earthquakes and tornados), depending on the time of
- Numbers and locations of displaced persons. Economically distressed
areas are characterized by higher residential density, lower maintenance,
and older structures, which combine to increase the probability of victims.
These areas are frequently adjacent to manufacturing or industrial areas
containing potentially hazardous materials. Identifying fires, chemical
spills, or ruptured pipelines near residential areas is a priority.
- Population of discrete areas such as trailer parks, apartments, and
subdivisions. Residents of economically distressed areas are more likely
to remain in the area and require a greater level of support after the
event than those in more affluent areas. School buildings and warehouses
in these areas are excellent candidates for shelter, feeding, and life-support
sites. Generally, the more affluent population live in less densely populated
areas with better construction. If not trapped, they have the economic
resources to seek alternative living arrangements.
- General age distribution of population in above areas.
- General ethnic distribution of population in disaster areas; include
types of linguists required.
- Areas without electricity.
- Areas without water, status of water purification systems, and availability
of commercial purification equipment and products.
- Location and capabilities of medical facilities (hospitals, clinics,
nursing homes, and so forth).
- Status of sanitation systems.
- Relief and drainage systems. Determine effects on trafficability for
unit vehicles involved in rescue and relief efforts. Estimate time to improve
drainage in flooded areas; include bridging requirements if applicable.
- Obstacles. Identify areas where debris impedes trafficability.
- Surface materials. Identify type and distribution of soils and subsoils
in area and soil trafficability.
- Man-made features. Identify man-made changes in the topography, including
roads, railroads, bridges, tunnels, mines, towns, industrial areas, and
piers. Identify unsafe structures requiring demolition.
- Sources of all classes of supply needed for critical restoration activities.
- Local sources of media reproduction, especially high-speed, large-format
- Availability of civilian engineer equipment and personnel.
The above EEI will be significantly modified after the first 72 hours
and will be replaced by increasing demands for specific information on
other aspects of the event. The management of information may become more
difficult as the quantity and quality of information increase. As additional
state and federal assets arrive in the area of operations, coordination
and communication become more complicated.
New information requirements are generated by the need to deploy the
resources efficiently and effectively. DOD planners and operators at this
point should be integrated, if possible, with the FEMA's ESF-5, Information
and Planning Operations, which focuses on establishing a centralized repository
of data for executing relief operations.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Sources of information that will satisfy many of the commander's EEI
- Information provided by federal, state, and local governments and commercial
and private agencies.
- National and local media and their reports.
- The engineer's terrain analysis.
- The staff weather officer's meteorological data.
- The provost marshal's analysis of route reconnaissance, state of law
and order, and other information.
- Analysis prepared by other headquarters.
- Information on city, county, and state government; city, county, and
state police; utility districts; fire, ambulance, and hospital districts;
and federal/national agencies (USACE, Red Cross, and so forth). Intelligence
personnel can be used for liaison as well as other intelligence support
activities, but their use must be in accordance with governing directives.
- Maps. The US Geological Service and the Defense Mapping Agency are
two sources for maps. DOD customers requiring USGS products may process
requests through the DMA. Maritime and coastal maps may be obtained from
the USCG as required. Local topography and maps can be provided by state
land-use master plans, state pollution control, state water management,
local public works departments, local water and sewer works, zoning boards,
county recorder, local map printers, local tourism departments, local geographic
information systems, chambers of commerce, and university departments.
- Imagery Products. Imagery or imagery-derived products supporting domestic
operations can be obtained from commercial or government sources. The USACE
district offices can provide imagery products for floodplain areas. A request
can also be forwarded through the chain of command to the Army Operations
Center. Civilian aircraft imagery should be obtained wherever possible.
If commercial capabilities are not available, aerial assets may be used.
- Demographics and business data for metropolitan areas. These are provided
by the US Bureau of Census, the US HUD Community Block Grant Program, state
agency or local housing authority, and commercial data base products.
The above list is not all-inclusive. As the operation progresses, changes
in the mission or receipt of additional or more accurate information will
require revision of the analysis and modification of the EEI.