The U.S. command with the largest theater of operation sees humanatarian assistance/disaster response as its biggest mission. Maj. Gen. Michael A. Keltz, USAF, director, strategic planning and policy (J-5), U.S. Pacific Command, told an audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that this mission dominates the command’s challenges—“We think about it 90 percent of the time.”
The key to carrying out that mission successfully will lie in convincing the diverse nations of the vast region to emplace the architectures and the authorities for the United States to be able to use its many resources when disaster strikes. Gen. Keltz cited the Global Hawk as one of those resources that can be invaluable for humanitarian assistance, but only when its support infrastructure is in place.
The general continued that still imagery is more useful than streaming video. Still images show contrast and change; and when combined with commercial resources such as Google Earth, they can be vital to emergency response planning and execution.