The U.S. Army is looking to store a mobile emergency field hospital in Cambodia to be used in the case of a regional disaster, a defense industry news website reported last week.
General Dennis Via, chief of the U.S. Army’s Materiel Command, reportedly told a conference of military personnel and contractors in Alabama on Tuesday that the army was looking at placing supplies throughout the pacific region that would allow them to quickly respond to natural disasters.
“Throughout the Pacific Rim, these will be humanitarian assistance, disaster relief-type equipment and material, so that when you have typhoons and other types of natural disaster U.S. Army Pacific Command can respond more quickly,” the website breakingdefense.com quoted him as saying. “We are looking, for example, at in Cambodia placing a combat support hospital.”
A 2010 report by the think tank RAND Corporation describes combat support hospitals as “mobile, deployable hospitals housed in tents and expandable containers,” with up to 500 staff supporting a maximum of 248 patients.
Carlyle Thayer, a Southeast Asia scholar at the Australian Defense Force Academy, said the prevalence of natural disasters in the region meant there was a need for supplies and resources to aid U.S. disaster response but noted that the idea itself was not new, with similar plans voiced last year for the storage of humanitarian equipment in Vietnam.