ANSER | Banyan Analytics: Case Study of the 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Accident in Japan
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Banyan Analytics: Case Study of the 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Accident in Japan

Banyan Analytics: Case Study of the 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Accident in Japan

Client: US and International Emergency Management Communities

The 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Accident in Japan: Coordinating the U.S. Government Response  case study examines the interagency and international coordination of the U.S. Government response to the March 11, 2011, earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan. This triple disaster represented the first need for a U.S. Government response to a large-scale natural disaster combined with a nuclear accident. In the case study, Banyan Analytics describes the U.S. Government response and assistance to the Government of Japan during the emergency phase of the disaster response and assesses the key factors affecting response coordination. Banyan Analytics also identifies successes and evaluates the impacts of coordination challenges and shortfalls.

This work complements existing analyses focusing primarily on the Japanese response, the U.S. military response, and select aspects of U.S.-Japan coordination. Banyan Analytics conducted research and interviews with senior U.S. Government stakeholders who participated in the U.S. Government response to identify opportunities and insights that may help the U.S. Government improve its response coordination for future complex natural disasters and chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) emergencies abroad. Based on their experiences, stakeholders identified three challenges that if addressed, will better prepare the U.S. to respond to future foreign disasters:

  • Adapting existing coordination mechanisms to meet international response needs
  • Coordination of technical expertise and resources to address the radiological hazard
  • Management of funding authorities and constraints to meet resourcing challenges

The case study is organized around these factors. The first section of the study focuses on coordination challenges and the adaptations used to overcome them. The second section looks at how the U.S. Government managed its response to the radiological hazard through ad hoc combinations and applications of domestic and international response capabilities. The third section examines gaps and challenges in the U.S. Government’s ability to adequately fund and receive reimbursement for domestic agencies that operated in Japan.

While the U.S. Government successfully protected American citizens and provided rapid, highly capable assistance to Japan, the response revealed gaps and inefficiencies that should be addressed and improved.

ANSER Projects, Joint Operations