F. Management/Liaison Functional Area

Introduction

The Management/Liaison functional area includes the following positions:

  • Team Leader.
  • Deputy Team Leader.
  • Press Officer.
  • Safety/Security Officer.
  • Liaison Officer.
  • Contracting Officer.


The following sections outline the specific responsibilities for each position.

1. Team Leader

The Team Leader is responsible for managing overall DART activities; is the liaison with the affected country government, other USG agencies, UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs, and other assisting countries; ensures the development and implementation of strategic decisions; reports to the senior U.S. official in the affected country; and receives a scope of work and any funding delegation of authority from the OFDA Director. The Team Leader reports to the OFDA Director or his or her designee.

Following are specific responsibilities of the Team Leader.

a. Predeparture

  • In conjunction with the SMT and the OFDA/W Operations Division Field Support Unit, identify and select DART positions as needed. The OFDA Director has the final authority for DART member selection.
  • Inform selected team members of deployment, mission, expected duration, and team organization.
  • Obtain a copy of the DART scope of work with any funding delegation of authority, if appropriate.
  • Receive general briefing from OFDA/W staff. In addition to the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E, discuss:
    • Political sensitivities relating to the affected country.
    • Gender issues relating to the affected country.
    • Security situation and any potential evacuation strategy.
    • Types of resources that are available or that can be requested, resource ordering process, and use of stockpile items.
    • Affected country’s disaster response capability.
    • Status of affected country’s response to the disaster.
    • Other international response to the disaster (countries and organizations).
    • UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs with programs in the affected country.
    • Points of contact at USAID/Embassy.
    • Points of contact in the affected country’s government.
    • Policies/procedures related to DART members.
    • Staff rotation and stress management plans.
    • Exit strategy.
    • Coordination of international response through the UN and points of contact and/or other coordination activities among PVOs/NGOs/IOs and the donor community.
    • Media guidance and strategy.
    • Fiscal authorities and restrictions.
    • Deployment timeframe.
  • Develop an initial operational plan incorporating available information on the disaster, mission objectives, and initial DART activities. Include:
    • Situation.
    • Team mission.
    • Team organization.
    • In-country resources and organizations.
    • Logistics.
    • Communications.
    • Safety and security.
    • Media strategy.
  • Brief OFDA staff and discuss staffing requirements, in-country support requests, and special travel needs.
  • Ensure adequate and appropriate training of team members. Have a plan for conducting refresher training.
  • Ensure the acquisition and preparation of team support items.
  • Ensure that adequate communications equipment is ordered for all functions.
  • Ensure an adequate stock of DART field wear/clothing is available for team members.
  • Obtain copies of contracts for nondirect-hire DART members.
  • Ensure that the DART has the capability to fiscally support itself on arrival in the affected country.
  • With Planning Coordinator and OFDA staff, conduct initial DART briefing.
  • Designate the planning function to take the lead on acquiring all necessary maps.
  • Cover all items in the In Transit section of the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E.


b. In-Country


(1) Immediate Actions

  • Notify OFDA/W of the DART’s arrival, initial information obtained, preliminary operational plan, and initial actions taken by the DART.
  • Report immediately to the senior USAID/Embassy official, present DART capabilities and objectives, and receive briefing. Discuss safety and security, disaster, and international response activity update; USAID/Embassy lines of authority and reporting requirements; support capability of USAID/Embassy for personnel, equipment, storage, workspace, and transportation; and in-country procedures related to local laws or customs that might affect DART operations.
  • Meet with U.S. Embassy Regional Security Officer (RSO) or other security personnel, and coordinate team security briefing and DART operational plan.
  • With the Planning Coordinator, refine the team operational plan based on immediate evaluations from all functions and briefings from USAID/Embassy.
  • Locate a DART headquarters and get set up (see the DART Setup and Closeout Guidelines earlier in this chapter). It should be accessible to USAID, the U.S. Embassy, and the disaster site. Ensure that adequate safety and security measures are in place to protect DART members.
  • With the Administrative Officer, meet with key USAID/Embassy officials, including the USAID controller and/or Embassy budget and fiscal officer, to discuss OFDA procurement procedures and fiscal requirements of the DART (local currency).
  • If the initial operational plan requires an immediate tactical response or logistical support, ensure the deployment of required personnel and equipment.
  • Identify potential locations for warehousing, airport staging, storage, and administrative operations.
  • Develop a staff work schedule that provides for fair distribution and rest time.
  • Determine daily and weekly work schedule of affected country.
  • Oversee the development of situation reporting, operational planning, resource tracking, documentation, and commodity consignment systems.
  • Establish contact with other assisting country teams and UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs.
  • Establish contact with the appropriate affected country’s ministries as necessary.
  • Discuss potential safety issues and future technological problems with the Safety/Security Officer and Technical/Scientific Operations Specialists.
  • Discuss and plan appropriate media activities with the Press Officer.
  • Determine additional requirements (personnel, equipment, facilities, logistical support). Identify these to USAID/Embassy and OFDA, and make recommendations.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • With the Planning Coordinator, conduct regular planning briefing and debriefing sessions. Ensure regular attendance and contributions from all DART members into the team’s operational planning process. Review ground rules on press contact and contact with USAID/Embassy, the affected country, and other organizations.
  • Maintain close communication with OFDA/W. Inform OFDA/W of the current situation, work progress, problems, planned actions, effectiveness of response, condition, and performance of DART members.
  • Review and clear sitreps and DART cables.
  • Conduct daily review and discussion on programmatic, safety, and security issues with DART program personnel.
  • Maintain close communication with senior USAID/Embassy officials. Ask them to explain the mission of the DART to the Embassy Country Team.
  • Coordinate continuously with affected country representatives, other assisting country teams, and UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs. Promote coordination among UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs and donor communities.
  • Conduct a daily, or as needed, critique of all functions for effectiveness, validity of priorities, soundness of objectives, and ability of DART members to carry out assignments. Institute changes as necessary.
  • Constantly foster open communications with USAID/Embassy to ensure continued support of the DART and that the DART is meeting their needs. Keep them informed of DART activities and progress.
  • Where appropriate, attend Embassy Country Team meetings.
  • Ensure that all DART members maintain daily unit logs as required.

c. Demobilization

  • Oversee the development of the DART demobilization plan. Review the plan with USAID/Embassy and OFDA/W.
  • Review "DART Setup and Closeout Guidelines" earlier in this chapter.
  • Review all documentation, such as videotapes, pictures, logs, sitreps, and cables.
  • Identify additional final disaster report requirements, and assign responsibilities as required.
  • Notify OFDA/W of the final demobilization arrangements.
  • Participate in writing and reviewing the final disaster report.
  • Ensure that all fiscal agreements are concluded.
  • Ensure that requested documentation and final disaster report are distributed to the local USAID/Embassy before departure.
  • Debrief the senior USAID/Embassy officials.
  • Submit the final disaster report to OFDA/W.
  • Prepare and conduct a debriefing with OFDA staff in Washington.
  • Assist with the preparation and participate in the DART After Action Workshop.

2. Deputy Team Leader

The Deputy Team Leader assists the Team Leader in managing overall DART activities and is responsible for managing the internal operations of the DART. The Deputy Team Leader position is filled only when the Team Leader, with concurrence from OFDA/W, can demonstrate the need for the position. Factors for consideration when deploying a Deputy Team Leader include, but are not limited to, operational mission, size of the DART, complexity of the operational environment, and the requirement to operate from several locations simultaneously.

The Deputy Team Leader serves as the second-in-charge and fulfills the role and authorities of the Team Leader when required and authorized. The Deputy Team Leader ensures that all sections of the DART organization are performing efficiently and have the necessary resources to function, assists the Team Leader in reporting to the senior U.S. official in the affected country, and reports to and receives a scope of work with specific duties from the Team Leader. The Deputy Team Leader’s focus is directed more at the internal operations of the DART, allowing the Team Leader to concentrate efforts externally.

Following are specific responsibilities of the Deputy Team Leader.

a. Predeparture

  • Assist Team Leader in drafting initial DART operational plan.
  • Determine the division of responsibilities between the Team Leader and Deputy Team Leader.
  • In conjunction with the Team Leader and the SMT, identify and select DART positions as needed.
  • With Team Leader, receive general briefing from OFDA/W staff. See Team Leader Predeparture checklist for briefing agenda.
  • Brief OFDA staff and discuss staffing requirements, administrative and logistics requirements, in-country support requests, and special travel needs.
  • Coordinate with Administrative Officer for initial lodging options and staging support in the affected country.
  • Ensure the acquisition and preparation of team support items.
  • Ensure that adequate communications equipment is ordered for all functions.
  • With Team Leader, Planning Coordinator, and OFDA staff, conduct initial DART briefing.
  • Serve as DART advance party, if required, to facilitate immediate DART operational capability.
  • Assist Team Leader in other preparations as required.

b. In-Country

(1) Immediate Actions

  • With the Administrative Officer, ensure that, at a minimum, the following initial support is in place:
    • Airport pickup and arrival support.
    • Lodging.
    • Transportation.
    • Other requirements as identified.
  • With the Team Leader, report immediately to the senior USAID/Embassy official, present DART capabilities and objectives, and receive briefing. Discuss security, disaster, and international response activity update; USAID/Embassy lines of authority and reporting requirements; support capability of USAID/Embassy for personnel, equipment, storage, workspace, and transportation; and in-country procedures related to local laws or customs that might affect DART operations.
  • With the Team Leader and Planning Coordinator, refine the initial team operational plan based on immediate evaluations from all functions and a briefing from USAID/Embassy.
  • Locate a DART headquarters and get set up (see also "DART Setup and Closeout Guidelines" earlier in this chapter). Headquarters should be accessible to USAID, the U.S. Embassy, and the disaster site.
  • With Administrative Officer, meet with key USAID/ Embassy officials, including USAID controller and/or Embassy budget and fiscal officer, to discuss OFDA procurement procedures and fiscal requirements of the DART (local currency).
  • If the initial operational plan requires an immediate tactical response or logistical support, ensure the deployment of required personnel and equipment.
  • Identify potential locations for warehousing, airport staging, storage, and administrative operations.
  • Develop a staff work schedule.
  • Oversee the development of situation reporting, operational planning, resource tracking, documentation, and commodity consignment systems.
  • Discuss potential safety issues and future technological problems with the Safety/Security Officer and Technical/Scientific Operations Specialists.
  • Determine additional requirements (personnel, equipment, facilities, logistical support). Identify these to USAID/Embassy and OFDA, and make recommen-dations.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • Organize and facilitate regular planning, briefing, and debriefing sessions.
  • With the Team Leader, maintain close communication with OFDA/W. Inform OFDA/W of the current situation, work progress, problems, planned actions, effectiveness of response, condition, and performance of DART members.
  • Review and clear sitreps and DART cables before the Team Leader’s final clearance. Clear sitreps and cables in the Team Leader’s absence to facilitate rapid transmission of information.
  • Assist in the coordination with affected country representatives, other assisting country teams, and UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs. Promote coordination among UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs and donor communities.
  • Maintain supervision of administrative, logistics, and communications requirements.
  • Supervise locally hired staff as required.
  • Conduct a daily, or as needed, critique of all functions for effectiveness, validity of priorities, soundness of objectives, and ability of DART members to carry out assignments. Institute changes as necessary.
  • Conduct daily review and discussion on programmatic issues with DART program personnel.
  • Constantly foster open communications with USAID/Embassy to ensure continued support of the DART and that the DART is meeting their needs. Keep them informed of DART activities and progress.
  • Assist Team Leader in other responsibilities as required.

c. Demobilization

  • Oversee the development of the DART demobilization plan. Review the plan with USAID/Embassy and OFDA/W.
  • Notify DART members of the final demobilization arrangements. Supervise execution of demobilization tasks.
  • Review "DART Setup and Closeout Guidelines" earlier in this chapter.
  • Participate in writing and reviewing the final disaster report.
  • Ensure that all fiscal agreements are concluded.
  • Ensure that requested documentation and final disaster report are distributed to the local USAID/Embassy before departure.
  • Supervise finalization of administration, logistics, and communications support before departure. Ensure that a transition plan is established and agreed on for all outstanding issues.
  • Assist with preparation and participate in the debriefing with OFDA/W.
  • Assist with the preparation of and participate in the DART After Action Workshop.

3. Press Officer

The Press Officer manages DART media activities. The Press Officer reports directly to the Team Leader. The DART is part of the USG and should not operate or communicate in a vacuum. The Press Officer must ensure close coordination throughout the disaster response.

a. Predeparture

  • Contact the Team Leader and receive a general briefing.
  • Meet with LPA before departure to ensure close coordination in managing the media. LPA can help "pitch" stories to editors and producers in the United States while the Press Officer works with reporters on the ground.
  • In addition to the General Checklist for All DART
    Members in section E:
    • Discuss the media philosophy for this disaster, including the level and type of coverage desired, press release guidelines, and press interview guidelines.
    • Arrange for meeting in-country Press Officer support needs (e.g., cable to USAID/Embassy).
    • Obtain information on USG response activities to date, including commodities delivered, en route, and requested from the OFDA Logistics Officer.
    • Obtain information on response actions of other assisting countries and PVOs/NGOs/IOs.
    • Obtain all press releases pertaining to the disaster.
    • Obtain information on media organizations currently covering the disaster.
    • Coordinate the acquisition and shipping of press function equipment and supplies. Specify weight, cubes, and number of pieces, and arrange for special handling requirements.
    • Organize press coverage at the DART departure site.
    • Draft, approve, and coordinate press guidance and daily messages pertaining to the disaster.

b. In-Country

(1) Immediate Actions

  • Perform an immediate initial evaluation of the media situation.
  • Meet with the PAO at the Embassy, as well as anyone handling press on the USAID Mission staff, to discuss media strategies. Embassy PAOs often speak the local language and have good contacts with local media. Topics for initial discussions with USAID/Embassy staff should include:
    • Current and planned media activities.
    • Disaster effects on population and property.
    • Media management policy (picture taking, filming).
    • Current press organizations in operation.
    • Affected country’s media sensitivities.
    • Support facilities available for briefings.
    • Availability of local equipment such as computers, typewriters, copy machines, fax, Internet, microphones, etc.
  • Introduce the Team Leader to the PAO to ensure that everyone at USAID/Embassy understands that the Team Leader is an official spokesperson for the specificU.S. assistance being provided.
  • Discuss current activities with local officials, other assisting country teams, and UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs. Reporters will go to multiple sources for information; it’s best when all relief organizations communicate the same message and quote the same statistics.
  • Develop and distribute DART media message and talking points to maintain consistency of message.
  • Obtain copies of any new press releases pertaining to the disaster.
  • Obtain a list of international and local media currently covering the disaster.
  • Obtain and review the USAID/Embassy disaster relief plan and emergency action plan.
  • With the Information Officer and Planning Coordinator, establish procedures for press visits to DART headquarters and the disaster site, as well as regulations for press access to visual displays, maps, sitreps, and resource status information as circumstances permit.
  • With the Operations Coordinator, discuss press visits to worksites.
  • Evaluate the need for additional personnel and resources to meet press function needs.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • Ensure balanced coverage of team activities.
  • Keep the Team Leader informed of all press activities in advance.
  • Ensure that proper safety practices are observed during worksite visits.
  • Keep DART members informed of U.S. and international news coverage.
  • Keep the LPA informed.
  • Coordinate continuously with local officials, USAID/Embassy, other assisting country teams, and UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs.
  • Assist the USAID/Embassy in arranging and conducting VIP visits.

c. Demobilization

  • Give a technical debriefing to the LPA.

4. Safety/Security Officer

The Safety/Security Officer identifies hazards and risks to DART personnel and oversees adherence to safety and security practices, standards, and procedures. The Safety/Security Officer reports directly to the Team Leader. Specific responsibilities of the Safety/Security Officer are as follows.

a. Predeparture

  • Contact the Team Leader and receive a general briefing. In addition to the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E:
  • Discuss safety/security concerns at the disaster site and in any areas where team members may be living and working.
  • Meet with key team members to discuss safety and security issues and procedures.
  • Coordinate the acquisition, preparation, and shipment of office and field supplies and any specialized supplies or equipment to meet safety/ security requirements.

b. In-Country

(1) Immediate Actions

  • Perform an immediate initial evaluation of the safety/ security situation. Discuss conditions, security, hazards, and needs with local officials, USAID/Embassy (RSO), other assisting country teams, and UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs. Determine the best use of the safety/security function.
  • Perform a thorough evaluation of operational areas. Identify, mark, and document potential hazards, unsafe situations, and security risks. Notify DART members in the area immediately.
  • Complete a Safety/Security Plan and brief the entire team on current conditions, potential hazards, and security issues. Share the plan with the USAID/ Embassy. Include in the Safety/Security Plan:
    • General safety and security standards and procedures.
    • Medical emergency and evacuation plan.
    • Travel plan procedures.
    • Security evacuation plan.
    • Communications protocols.
    • Serious incident notification procedures.
  • Ensure that all team members are briefed on safety and security standards and practices and that all team members observe these standards and procedures.
  • Investigate all DART accidents/injuries. Inform the Team Leader of your findings. Make recommendations and take remedial actions as appropriate. Document and file findings, recommendations, and remedial actions.
  • Evaluate the need for additional safety and security personnel and resources to meet response objectives.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • Continuously monitor DART operations for adherence to safety and security practices, standards, and procedures.
  • Continuously monitor DART members for signs or symptoms of critical-incident stress syndrome. Recommend rest, stress debriefing, or demobilization as required.
  • Continually evaluate the situation and provide Safety/Security Plan updates to the planning function for inclusion in the operational plan. The plan can include reviews and updates to issues, such as air operations, vehicle safety, hazard maps, hazardous materials (hazmat) locations, safe working practices at worksites, personnel and visitor safety (media), reporting of hazards and security issues, plan component updates, reporting of accidents, accident investigation, and scheduling safety/security meetings.

c. Demobilization

See section E, General Checklist for ALL DART Members, in this chapter.

5. Liaison Officer

The Liaison Officer coordinates the DART liaison function; serves as the point of contact with the affected country, USAID/Embassy, U.S. military, other assisting country teams, and UN/PVOs/NGOs/ IOs; and identifies the political and operational concerns of these groups. The Liaison Officer reports directly to the Team Leader. Depending on the scope and complexity of DART activities, more than one Liaison Officer may be needed. Specific responsibilities of the Liaison Officer(s) are as follows.

a. Predeparture

  • Contact the Team Leader, and receive a general briefing. In addition to the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E, discuss:
  • Liaison concerns and needs at the disaster.
  • Roles and authority of the Liaison Officer.
  • Relationships among major respondents participating in the disaster relief activities.
  • Safety and security concerns.

b. In-Country

(1) Immediate Actions

  • Perform an immediate initial evaluation of the coordination situation.
  • Identify your role and authority as the DART point of contact to USAID/Embassy, affected country officials, U.S. military, other assisting country teams, and UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs. Discuss with these groups disaster needs, coordination issues, and any concerns they have with DART activities.
  • Obtain the necessary credentials for identification and appropriate security clearances needed to be better able to interface with the groups with which you will be coordinating.
  • Establish the points of contact with the above groups, including communications links and locations.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • Respond to requests from DART personnel for interorganizational contacts.
  • Monitor disaster operations to identify current or potential interorganizational problems.
  • Remain visible and available to affected country officials, U.S. military, other assisting countries, and UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs.
  • Offer methods to coordinate and support disaster response activities among the above groups.
  • Maintain a current list of liaison contacts for the above groups, and provide it to other DART members as needed.
  • Share DART reports and accomplishments with the above groups.
  • Document liaison activities.

c. Demobilization

See section E, General Checklist for ALL DART Members, in this chapter.


6. Contracting Officer

The Contracting Officer is responsible for negotiating, executing, amending, and administering contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements with UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs and contractors in the field. Contracting Officers are unique in that they bring with them to the field a USAID warrant authority. The Team Leader does not have the warrant authority and therefore works with the Contracting Officer. Because of the unique authorities and responsibilities inherent in the Contracting Officer’s warrant authority, the Contracting Officer reports to the Team Leader for all DART activities except those inherent to the warrant. Specific responsibilities of the Contracting Officer are as follows.

a. Predeparture

  • Contact the Team Leader, and receive a general briefing. In addition to the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E, discuss:
  • The level of review desired for contracts and grants.
  • Reporting relationships and points of contact with USAID/Embassy and OFDA/W.
  • Awareness by USAID Financial Management Office of the deployment of the DART and its possible workload consequences.
  • Types (if any) of USG-funded relief grants or contracts currently in place or submitted for the affected country.
  • Relationships with other DART members regarding grants and contracts, such as Program Officer or Field Officer.
  • Types and levels of contract support to be provided to DART by OFDA’s grants or contracting review function and USAID’s Contracts Office.
  • Funding cable for team support–amount and fiscal
  • Disaster funding and funding by other USG agencies, such as the Department of State and DOD, and administration of funds.
  • Ramifications for contracting function of the "notwithstanding" clause of the FAA.
  • Contact USAID/Embassy to discuss contracting and support issues. Obtain names and telephone numbers of EXO and controller or person responsible for receiving DART allocations.
  • Obtain copies of pertinent USAID directives dealing with disaster assistance, FFP, grants, and contracts.
  • Obtain copies of the latest OFDA Guidelines for Proposals and Reporting, available on the DART Tools CD. The guidelines also can be obtained from the OFDA/W Disaster Response and Mitigation Division.
  • Ensure the acquisition and proper shipment of computer equipment (hardware and software) and office supplies for the contracting function.

b. In-Country

(1) Immediate Actions

  • Establish contacts with USAID/Embassy. Determine reporting relationships and ability to support the DART with personnel, office equipment, space, transportation, and procurement. Determine availability of work space, local hires, equipment, supplies, and transportation. Specifically discuss:
    • Methods of communication with USAID/ Embassy (phone, fax, radio, e-mail).
    • Methods DART can use to reduce its impact on the USAID/Embassy.
  • Select a worksite, set up equipment, and begin operations.
  • If necessary, prepare and execute contracts for the rental of buildings, vehicles, and equipment. Hire local personnel as needed.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • Establish an accounting and tracking system to ensure that all fiscal actions are monitored, accurately documented, and filed in a safe place.
  • Provide Team Leader with regular reports on the amount of funds obligated by the Contracting Officer.
  • Contribute regularly to team planning process.
  • Work closely with Program Officer in reviewing grant proposals for appropriateness to DART strategy, budget, implementation/completion timeframes, and ability of grantee to carry out proposal. Advise other functions on these actions.
  • Ensure a complete transfer of knowledge of the operation of the contracting function if replaced before the demobilization of the team. Plan enough time for the transition.
  •  

c. Demobilization

  • If Contracting Officer demobilizes and is not replaced before team demobilization, coordinate closely with Team Leader and Program Officer to ensure transfer of knowledge about the location and status of all appropriate files and paperwork.
  • Ensure all contracts are closed or transferred as appropriate.
  • See also DART Setup and Closeout Guidelines earlier in this chapter.

TOC: Disaster Assistance Response Team

Last updated: May 18, 2017