Taking Disaster Seriously

East Asian Military Involvement in International Disaster Relief Operations and the Implications for Force Projection

Published in: Asian Security, Volume 9, Issue 1, 2013

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Jeffrey Engstrom

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The participation of East Asian militaries (Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea) in international disaster relief is a relatively new phenomenon having many implications that will shape the global landscape of the 21st century. This article looks at the historical record of these operations and notes how they have evolved in size and scope over time. Empirical data are presented and analyzed to identify and compare demonstrated capacities for force projection. These demonstrated capacities are considered with current and future capabilities to contemplate the trajectory of the militaries' future participation in disaster relief and ability for force projection. Finally, the article concludes with a brief assessment of implications and policy considerations.

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