We can’t function in a vacuum without understanding who the people are that we’re interacting with on a daily basis. And this is particularly critical, even in domestic operations, from a disaster and a mass emergency response standpoint.

When disaster strikes in the United States we are fortunate to have the National Guard available to bolster and support our civilian first responders. Experts in logistics and transportation, organization and construction as well as medical experts, the Guard is vital in supporting the long term recovery operations that follow any disastrous event. The Guard response to the current COVID-19 pandemic is very much like many other natural disasters that the U.S has endured in the last 50 years. But it’s also very different. The pandemic hasn’t struck a single region that allows help to arrive from safe staging areas outside the hot zone. The entire nation is vulnerable to this virus, and responders find themselves immersed in aiding citizens at a very personal level. With that level of interaction come the complications of diverse cultures, religious and political views, and a multitude of  multitude of languages other than English. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Michele Devlin and Steve Warnstadt to the studio to examine the navigation of the complex cultural terrain of our great American melting pot. They’re joined by our Editor-In-Chief Jacqueline Whitt to discuss what the DoD, along with state level leadership, must do to ensure that Guard troops are best prepared to succeed amongst the diverse culture that is our national strength.

Dr. Michele Devlin is Professor of Global Health at the University of Northern Iowa and an Adjunct Research Professor with the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) at the U.S. Army War College. Brigadier General (ret) Steven Warnstadt is the former Deputy Commanding General for Operations, Iowa National Guard and an AY12 graduate of the U.S. Army War College Distance Education Program. Jacqueline E. Whitt is an Associate Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor-in-Chief of WAR ROOM. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo Description: Army Spc. Reagan Long, left, a horizontal construction engineer with the New York Army National Guard’s 827th Engineer Company, and Army Pfc. Naomi Velez, a horizontal construction engineer with the New York Army Guard’s 152nd Engineer Support Company, register people at a COVID-19 mobile screening center in New Rochelle, New York, March 14, 2020. More than 1,500 National Guard members in 22 states have been activated in support of state and local authorities responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to operating mobile screening centers, Guard members have been disinfecting public spaces, providing logistical and transportation support and coordinating with state and local health officials.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amouris Coss

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