J. Planning Section

Introduction

The Planning Section can include the following positions:

  • Planning Coordinator.
  • Information Officer.
  • Field Officer.
  • Program Officer.
  • Technical/Scientific Operations Specialists.


Specific responsibilities for each position are listed below.

1. Planning Coordinator

The Planning Coordinator manages DART planning, assessing, reporting, personnel tracking, information analysis, and docu-mentation activities and makes recommendations based on an analysis of information. The Planning Coordinator reports directly to the Team Leader (or the Deputy Team Leader if applicable) and can serve as the Deputy Team Leader if that position is not filled. Specific responsibilities of the Planning Coordinator 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:
    • Reporting guidelines, procedures, formats, and time frames for DART cables, sitreps, and final disaster reports.
    • Points of contact for reporting information to USAID/Embassy, OFDA/W, UN, and the affected country.
    • Types and frequency of assessments required.
    • Types of USG-funded grants and/or contracts currently in place in the affected country.
    • Level of monitoring/assessment of present grants and/or contracts to be performed by DART.
    • Level of review expected for new proposals for relief activities.
    • Funding levels and mechanisms available to DART.
  • Discuss the guidelines, procedures, formats, and timeframes for information reporting with the OFDA/W Information Specialist responsible for the disaster relief effort.
  • Ensure the acquisition and shipping of special supplies for the planning function.
  • Work with the Communications Officer to ensure that equipment is sufficient to meet requirements for conducting assessments, tracking resources, updating current events, and conveying information back to Washington.
  • With the Team Leader and OFDA staff, conduct the initial DART briefing. Cover all items in the "In Transit" checklist in section E and provide a security briefing, travel advisory alert, public health bulletin, and a list of do’s and don’ts.
  • Ensure that the planning staff obtains copies of USG-funded relief activity grants and/or contracts that the DART will be monitoring in the affected country.
  • Obtain a copy of the OFDA Guidelines for Proposals and Reporting, available on the DART Tools CD or through the OFDA/W Disaster Response and Mitigation Division.
  • Work with the Information Officer (or Geographic Information Officer) to ensure that adequate maps of the affected country and mapping supplies are obtained.

b. In-Country

(1) Immediate Actions

  • Locate the affected country’s emergency management organization and/or OSOCC; report the DART’s capabilities, requirements, and objectives; and receive work area assignments (if the DART has an operational component).
  • Set up an initial team briefing. Set the time, place, and list of attendees for future planning meetings.
  • Supervise the formulation of a team operational plan based on immediate evaluations from all functions.
  • Help the Team Leader establish the DART headquarters and begin operation.
  • Oversee the damage and needs assessment process and the development of a map of the affected area showing location of DART and grants/contracts activities.
  • At the DART headquarters, oversee the setup of information displays, including organizational charts, resource tracking systems, maps, chronologies of major events and team activities, and sitreps (see also "DART Setup and Closeout Guidelines" in the beginning of this chapter).
  • Develop a staff work schedule.
  • Establish an operational plan development process with contributions from DART members. Decide if the plan will be given verbally or in writing to DART members. The plan should include:
    • Operational strategy and objectives (Team Leader and Planning Coordinator).
    • Tactical actions (Operations Coordinator).
    • Work assignments (Operations and Planning Coordinators).
    • Communications plan (Communications Officer).
    • Transportation plan (Transportation Officer).
    • Commodity distribution plan (Logistics Coordinator).
    • Work maps (Information Officer).
    • Safety and security (including Medevac) plan (Safety/Security Officer or Administrative Officer).
    • Programming plan (Program Officer).
    • Reporting plan (Information Officer).
    • Demobilization plan (Planning Coordinator).
  • Determine a daily DART briefing and debriefing procedure and time schedule, and inform the Team Leader.
  • With the Press Officer, establish procedures for press visits to command post (access to visual displays, sitreps, resource status information).
  • Establish liaisons with UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs, assisting country teams, donor countries, and the affected country to share information related to the disaster.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • Conduct regular planning briefing and debriefing sessions. Ensure that:
    • Appropriate DART members submit information on time.
    • Sessions are objective-oriented.
    • Strategy and tactics are developed and understood.
    • Sessions are brief, conducted on time, and have proper attendance.
    • Activities are well-documented.
    • Information is properly distributed.
    • Displays and maps are used for illustration and are available as needed.
  • Ensure the satisfactory completion and reporting of assessments.
  • Ensure the monitoring of USG-funded relief activities as required.
  • Identify and request Technical/Scientific Operations Specialists as needed. Brief and supervise these specialists when deployed with the DART.
  • Ensure that DART members regularly submit updates on situation status, work progress, and significant events.
  • Oversee the situation and cable reporting/distribution process.
  • Oversee the proper documentation of all DART activities.
  • Conduct a daily critique of the operational plan’s effectiveness, analyze information gathered by the planning staff, and make the following recommendations to the Team Leader:
    • Alternative team objectives.
    • Increase or decrease in the resources/activities needed to complete team objectives as objectives change.
  • Ensure the collection of unit logs from team members.

c. Demobilization

  • Supervise the development of the demobilization plan.
  • Ensure that all DART members have submitted the necessary information for the final disaster report.
  • Submit a draft of the final disaster report to the Team Leader for review.
  • Complete a final disaster report, and present it to the Team Leader.
  • Submit all reports, evaluations, unit logs, and personnel time records to the Team Leader.
  • Compile information (lessons learned, points of contact, reports, etc.) that would be useful for the After Action Workshop.

2. Information Officer

The Information Officer collects, analyzes, reports, and distributes information on DART activities; prepares all sitreps and assists with the preparation of cables, briefing papers, the DART operational plan, maps, and final disaster report; tracks DART resources; and coordinates information-gathering and reporting activities with UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs, other donor countries, and the affected country. The Information Officer reports directly to the Planning Coordinator. Specific responsibilities of the Information Officer are as follows.

a. Predeparture

  • Contact the Planning Coordinator and receive a general briefing. In addition to the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E, discuss:
  • Reporting guidelines, procedures, formats, and time-frames for DART cables, sitreps, and final disaster reports.
  • Points of contact for reporting information to the USAID/Embassy, OFDA/W, UN, and affected country.
  • Obtain or create a contact list of the UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs and donor countries (with names and numbers if possible) that are working on disaster relief in the affected country.
  • Discuss with the OFDA/W Information Specialist respon-sible for the disaster the guidelines, procedures, formats, and timeframes for preparing information.
  • Identify, prepare, and arrange for shipping of special supplies needed for the DART planning function.
  • Obtain adequate maps of the affected area and mapping supplies.
  • b. In-Country


(1) Immediate Actions

  • Perform an immediate initial evaluation of the information unit's needs. Coordinate with the administrative function.
  • Assist in the preparation of the DART operational plan.
  • Set up and maintain a tracking system for all DART members.
  • Work with the Logistics Officer to set up and maintain a tracking system for USG commodities. Use this tracking information for the sitreps.
  • Establish local contacts and liaisons with USAID/ Embassy.
  • Prepare an initial map of the affected area and USG-funded activities in the area.
  • Establish a clearance process for sitreps and cables with the Team Leader/USAID/Embassy.
  • Develop internal and external distribution lists for sitreps and operational plans.
  • Establish the frequency for producing sitreps and cables with the Team Leader/USAID/Embassy.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • Prepare and obtain clearance for sitreps according to identified procedures.
  • Debrief Field Officer(s), Program Officer(s), and Technical/Scientific Operations Specialist(s).
  • Prepare and distribute DART operational plans as needed (see the Planning Coordinator section for elements of the plan).
  • Coordinate information gathering and sharing with other UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs, other donor countries, and the affected country. This includes attending coordination meetings.
  • Take field trips, and assist with assessments as necessary to collect onsite field information.
  • Continually collect, verify, analyze, and update infor-mation on the general disaster status, progress of relief activities, areas of concern, maps, displays, and personnel and resource status locations from DART members and other sources.
  • Document, distribute, and file the planning function information, including sitreps, maps, cables, field reports, operational plans, logs, and meeting notes.
  • Make recommendations on future DART actions.
  • Provide the press with access to displays and infor-mation at prearranged times, in coordination with the Press Officer.
  • As requested, provide copies of documents for meetings and briefings.
  • Record significant actions and events in the unit log each day and file.
  • Collect and file unit logs from all DART personnel for use in the disaster chronology.
  • c. Demobilization
  • Assist with the preparation of the final disaster report by collecting all reports, evaluations, field reports, unit logs, and personnel time records from DART personnel, and submit to Planning Coordinator.
  • Ensure that the final DART documentation is distributed to local USAID/Embassy before departure.
  • Prepare planning and reporting function materials, supplies, and files for return shipment to the United States. Account for missing items.
  • If a handoff of reporting responsibilities to another USAID office is required, provide a briefing and/or training for the staff.

3. Field Officer

The Field Officer conducts field assessments of damage and needs in the affected areas; monitors the effectiveness of relief activities conducted by the USG, the affected country, UN/PVOs/ NGOs/IOs, and other donor countries; makes recommendations on areas of focus for USG relief efforts; and provides written assessment reports to the Information Officer. The Field Officer reports directly to the Planning Coordinator. Specific responsi-bilities of the Field Officer are as follows.

a. Predeparture

  • Contact the Planning Coordinator and receive a general briefing. In addition to the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E, discuss:
    • Guidelines, procedures, formats, and timeframes for field assessment reports.
    • Types and frequency of assessments required by the DART objectives.
    • Safety and security.
  • Obtain a list of UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs and donor countries working on disaster relief in the affected country. Obtain lead points of contact and numbers if possible.
  • Obtain a list of activities being carried out by the above mentioned organizations and countries.
  • Obtain maps of the affected area.

b. In-Country

(1) Immediate Actions

  • Through initial contacts, obtain current information on the locations and types of relief activities being conducted by the groups mentioned above.
  • Transpose the above information to a map.
  • Share the above information with the Information Officer.
  • Begin an initial field assessment based on objectives and priorities in the initial operational plan.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • Continue field assessments as required.
  • Continue to provide the Information Officer with assessment information.
  • Continue to provide recommendations on assessment information.
  • Provide inputs to the operational plan.
  • Attend briefings and debriefings as required.

c. Demobilization

See the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E of this chapter.

4. Program Officer

The Program Officer assesses the effectiveness of USG-funded relief projects conducted by UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs and coordinates with these groups and the planning staff to identify potential areas of focus for USG relief projects; performs initial reviews of grant/contract proposals submitted to the DART and/or OFDA/W by PVOs/NGOs/IOs; and makes recommendations on improvements to the proposals and on whether to fund projects. The Program Officer reports directly to the Planning Coordinator. Specific responsibilities of the Program Officer are as follows.

a. Predeparture

  • Contact the Planning Coordinator and receive a general briefing. In addition to the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E, discuss:
    • Types and frequency of monitoring/assessment of grant activities required.
    • Level of review expected for new proposals for relief projects.
  • Obtain a copy of USG-funded relief activity grants and/or contracts in place in the affected country.
  • Obtain a list of the relief projects being funded by UN/PVOs/ NGOs/IOs and donor countries in the affected country. Get contact names and phone numbers if possible.
  • Meet or contact the OFDA/W PVO coordinator to discuss UN/PVO/NGO/IO activities (occurring or expected) in the affected country.
  • Meet or contact the OFDA/W staff members dealing with UN/PVO/NGO/IO grant/contract proposals to receive a briefing on the OFDA grant/contract review process.
  • Obtain a copy of the annual program statement (APS) for this disaster, if applicable.
  • Obtain a copy of OFDA Guidelines for Proposals and Reporting, available on the DART Tools CD or through OFDA/W Disaster Response and Mitigation Division.
  • Obtain maps of the affected area.

b. In-Country

(1) Immediate Actions

  • Establish liaisons with UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs currently performing USG-funded relief projects.
  • Work with the OFDA/W Regional Team or the RMT Program Officer to develop and publish an APS, if appropriate.
  • Locate USG-funded relief grants/contract/projects.
  • Share the above information with the Information Officer.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • With the OFDA/W Regional Team or the RMT, ensure that all program activities are entered into the appropriate USAID financial accounting systems.
  • Conduct field monitoring of USG-funded projects and assessments of affected areas as required.
  • Provide continuing updates to the Information Officer on assessment information, program activity information, and information provided in discussions with partners.
  • Continue to coordinate with USG-funded groups and potential partners.
  • Recommend relief activity areas that need to be addressed.
  • Discuss new project proposals with potential for affected areas.
  • Review and recommend changes to, and/or action on, new proposals.
  • Be sensitive to gender and protection needs/issues when evaluating and recommending relief activities.
  • Provide inputs to the operational plan.
  • Attend briefings and debriefings as required.

c. Demobilization

See the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E of this chapter.

5. Technical/Scientific Operations Specialists

On a DART, technical and scientific specialists provide expertise in their specific field. These specialists assess the disaster situation, identify disaster relief/rehabilitation needs, review in-place USG-funded projects, and, with other DART members, make recom-mendations for ongoing and future USG-funded interventions.

Specialists assigned to a DART may be from several different technical/scientific fields, including shelter/housing, water, sani-tation, food, nutrition, health, infrastructure (transportation and utilities), volcanology, geology, hydrology, and fire suppression. Examples of these specialists include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologists and doctors, Public Health Service officers, FFP officers, civil engineers, protection/ abuse prevention officers, transportation experts, disaster con-sultants, and USDA Forest Service fire-suppression officers. Technical/Scientific Operations Specialists report to the Planning Coordinator. Specific responsibilities of Technical/Scientific Operations Specialists are as follows.

a. Predeparture

  • Contact the Planning Coordinator for a general briefing. In addition to the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E, discuss:
    • Technical/scientific capabilities of the affected country.
    • Actions and capabilities of other UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs and other donors.
    • Current technical/scientific resources and relief commodities requested of the USG by the affected country (obtain a list).
    • Affected country’s ability to use the technical/scientific resources and commodities requested from the USG.
    • Availability of in-country support services.
    • Contact list for technical/scientific government officials and organizations in the affected country.
  • Coordinate the acquisition and shipping of supplies and equipment.


b. In-Country

(1) Immediate Actions

  • Contact technical/scientific experts at USAID/Embassy, UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs, the affected country, and other donor governments to assess the status of relief activities-to date and projected.
  • Conduct additional assessments if important topics or geographic areas have not been addressed.
  • Report on the situation in your area of expertise using existing information and a personal assessment. Include information on trends, the adequacy of existing resources, and current plans. Comment on the appropriateness of the USG technical resources and commodities in place and those requested. Recommend actions to address important unmet needs.


(2) Ongoing Actions

  • Monitor implementation of the emergency response, with close attention to USG-funded efforts.
  • Evaluate the impact of efforts, and make further recommendations as necessary.
  • Work closely with the Field Officer and Program Officer to coordinate DART recommendations.


c. Demobilization

See the General Checklist for All DART Members in section E of this chapter.

d. Types of Technical/Scientific Operations Specialists

The position description is generalized for any Technical/ Scientific Specialist assigned to a DART planning function. This guide does not contain position descriptions for every type of specialist that could be assigned to a DART. The following position descriptions and responsibilities, however, represent types of Technical/Scientific Operations Specialists that have been assigned to a DART in the past.

  • (1) Water and Sanitation Specialists
    • (a) In-Country
    • Perform an immediate evaluation of the water and sanitation situation; discuss needs with local health and public works officials, USAID/Embassy, other response teams, and relief organizations dealing in water and sanitation; and assess the ability of the affected country’s public works department to rehabilitate its systems.
    • Conduct a thorough survey of the public water supply and waste management systems. Determine the needs for immediate repairs, and identify these areas on a map.
    • Survey the water distribution and sanitation system in temporary shelter areas.
    • Identify the areas in greatest need of corrective actions.
    • Make recommendations on the best method of USG response to address the situation. Be sensitive to gender needs and local customs. Include ways to coordinate USG efforts with the local government, UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs, and other donor government operations.
  • (2) Health Specialists
    • (a) In-Country
    • Evaluate the health situation and existing factors that increase vulnerability to, or transmission of, disease. Discuss needs with the affected country’s health officials, USAID/Embassy, UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs, and other donors.
    • Coordinate or aid the establishment of a disease and nutritional surveillance system, and collect data as necessary. Determine the cause or source.
    • Advise local health officials on findings, and suggest prevention and control measures, including vector, food, and sanitation control, and the effect of these measures on food and water sources.
    • Evaluate ongoing sanitary and/or public health programs and contributing causes for problems that these programs are attempting to address.
    • Investigate unconfirmed reports of disease outbreaks and malnutrition.
    • Coordinate continuously with the above groups. Encourage the designation of focal points for communication among long-term providers or affected country governments.
    • Recommend how the USG should respond to the situation.
  • (3) Food Specialists
    • (a) In-Country
    • Perform an immediate initial evaluation of the food security situation. Discuss with the affected country’s officials, USAID/Embassy (FFP Officer if present), UN/PVOs/NGOs/IOs, and other donors. Collect information on:
      • Affected country’s normal food production rates.
      • Affected country’s normal food consumption rates and import requirements, if any.
      • Food production and consumption rates after the disaster.
      • Food assistance requirements to fill potential gaps or changes in the population’s consumption requirements; compare the affected government’s estimates with other nongovernment estimates.
      • Amount of locally available and imported food.
      • Amount of shortfall in food.
      • Amount of food, if any, in the pipeline from all sources.
      • FFP commodities potentially available, from where, and how long delivery will take. Consult with the responsible FFP Officer(s) in the field and/or FFP/W.
      • Normal food basket of the affected population, with acceptable alternatives.
      • Condition–from ports to victims–of the food distribution system, including the ability of food distribution organizations and the commercial market.
      • Availability of transportation to move food in the affected country or from a third country into the affected country.
    • Review the food sector portions of proposals for their appropriateness to the disaster situation.
    • Monitor food distribution, quantify losses if possible, and make recommendations for improvements.
    • Coordinate with FFP Officer in-country and/or FFP/W, and provide recommendations on commodity transfers and funding requirements.


TOC: Disaster Assistance Response Team

Last updated: May 18, 2017

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TY - ELEC T1 - J. Planning Section ID - 502075 Y1 - 2017/05/18/ BT - Field Operations Guide UR - https://relief.unboundmedicine.com/relief/view/Field-Operations-Guide/502075/all/J__Planning_Section DB - Relief Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -