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US embassies and consulates are required to have emergency action plans (EAPs) for the area under their cognizance. The chief of mission is responsible for the preparation of EAPs that, among other things, address the military-assisted evacuation of US citizens and designated foreign nationals from a foreign country. The conduct of military operations to assist in the implementation of EAPs is the sole responsibility of the supporting military commander. It is incumbent on the CINC to be proactive in supporting the COM in his planning to ensure that it is accurate and adequate to support military operations. Plans (to include photographs) give details on--

  • Evacuation sites.

  • Number of evacuees (total and by area).

  • Assembly areas.

  • Command posts.

  • Key personnel (names, location, means of contact).

The Emergency Planning Handbook (EPH) is a consolidated source of guidance for foreign service posts on planning for and dealing with certain emergency situations. The EPH is the principal reference for posts preparing and revising the EAPs. Appendix C of this manual contains sample EAP checklists from the EPH.

When feasible, notification procedures involve communicating with potential evacuees via the established warden system. Wardens are usually volunteers who have agreed to notify a certain number of US citizens when evacuation is possible. As a rule, written messages are more reliable than oral messages and should be used whenever possible. The five phases of an evacuation are travel advisory, drawdown, authorized departure, ordered departure, and standfast.

Travel advisories are issued to discourage additional travel into a potentially hazardous location. As the situation develops, the embassy may begin reducing staffing for government agencies to essential personnel only, through a drawdown. The third phase, authorized departure, encourages departure and authorizes funds and allowances for certain noncombatants. A sample authorized departure (leave commercial) notice is at Figure 3-1.

Authorized noncombatants are those who may be ordered to depart. Other US citizens will be encouraged to depart, but will not be reimbursed by the US government for their travel. It is assumed commercial transportation will be available and adequate. In May 1989, a leave commercial advisory was issued in Panama when hostilities toward US citizens escalated. Operation Blade Jewel included moving DOD dependents and nonessential personnel onto bases and eventually out of the country.

An ordered departure completes the drawdown of all government personnel to absolute minimum staffing. Commercial charter or military transport maybe required, depending on the situation and the availability of scheduled commercial transportation. A sample notice (evacuation) is at Figure 3-2.

At any time during the authorized or ordered departure phase, the situation may escalate to the point that it is deemed hazardous for US citizens to move about the country. At that point, the embassy may issue a standfast advisory. This encourages US citizens to stay in their homes and wait for further developments. A sample standfast advisory is at Figure 3-3.

Embassy closing is the last phase of the embassy evacuation plan. (A sample notice is at Figure 3-4.) The US colors are struck, and all remaining US citizens are evacuated (does not include private US citizens and their dependents who desire to remain in country).


CINCs maybe tasked to assist the Department of State in the event of imminent or actual hostilities, significant civil disturbances, or natural and man-made disasters. They prepare contingency NEO plans for their areas of responsibility to assist the Department of State in protecting and evacuating US noncombatants and designated aliens.

The CINC, in coordination with the Chairman, JCS, and the NCA, decides the degree of military support and the type of operation to conduct. In determining what military forces and equipment and necessary and appropriate, the COM or principal officer and the CINC consider the international repercussions that may follow the use of US military forces and equipment in the area. They consider that the appearance of armed forces and equipment may cause stronger repercussions than the appearance of unarmed forces and equipment. Commanders prepare for a range of options-planning assistance, logistics support, show of force, or introduction of combat forces--to ensure a secure and timely evacuation. CINCs should make maximum use of the special operations commands within each unified command.

The embassy coordinates with the HN to eliminate or expedite administrative requirements for the evacuation force. Delays caused by customs, import duties, and operator licensing should be foreseen and avoided. US forces committed to the support of NEO plans conduct operations, as required to assist in the protection and evacuation of noncombatants by all available means of transportation. This may consist of augmenting commercial transportation, protecting evacuation routes and staging areas, and locating and protecting evacuees.

The Department of State, acting on the advice and recommendation of the COM, determines when to evacuate US noncombatants and designated aliens. Normally, a subordinate military commander must receive authorization from the appropriate unified command before using any forces and facilities in a foreign country for protection and evacuation. However, if a command receives a request to provide assistance from the responsible US diplomatic representative, and the delay in obtaining authorization would jeopardize the safety of American citizens, the subordinate commander makes the decision to respond to the extent he deems necessary and militarily feasible.

The responsible unified command maybe asked to assist the embassy in developing and maintaining its evacuation plan. The command reviews plans for content and may conduct surveys of assembly areas, evacuation sites, embarkation points, transportation facilities, evacuation routes, and other sites significant to evacuation planning. The unified command may also assist in preparing and reviewing aspects of the post EAP that relate to or require military assistance.

When a situation develops suggesting the need for US military assistance in a NEO, the unified command, upon request or concurrence by the post through the Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense, dispatches a liaison augmentation party (LAP). The LAP maintains liaison with the post, advising and assisting in the military aspects of the possible evacuation. It has secure communications equipment to maintain effective contact between the military elements involved and the post. The LAP usually requires certain up-to-date information that the post should have prepared in advance of the team's arrival. (See Appendix C.)

A military-assisted NEO usually consists of the following phases:

  • Predeployment.

  • Deployment.

  • Evacuation.

  • Withdrawal.

  • Safehaven operations.

This chapter discusses predeployment and deployment phases. Evacuation, safehaven operations, and withdrawal phases are discussed in subsequent chapters.


In planning for an NEO, the COM and CINC should consider the possibility of employing multinational forces. Any situation that would cause the United States to initiate an NEO would likely cause other countries to react the same. It maybe politically or militarily expedient to employ multinational forces in conducting the operation. These may be HN forces cooperating in the evacuation, or third nation forces whose citizens are also threatened.

Agreements to conduct multinational operations normally are initiated through Department of State channels and reflected in guidance the NCA provides to the CINC. The CINC then includes military commanders from the multinational forces in his planning. He also employs special operations forces (SOF) coalition support teams as liaison and translators. The following issues must be addressed when planning for a multinational NEO:

  • Multinational chain of command.

  • Command and control.

  • Interoperability of communications and other systems.

  • Frequency deconfliction.

  • Specific roles.

  • Specific rules of engagement.

  • Fratricide avoidance.

  • Multinational operations security (OPSEC).

  • Multinational procedures, training, and rehearsals.

  • Logistics.

  • Funding.

  • Identification and treatment of noncombatants.

  • Force structure.

  • Transportation.

  • Security.

  • Medical.

  • Exchange of liaison personnel and translators.

  • Releasability or disclosure of classified information.

  • Movement control.

Operation Dragon Rouge, the evacuation of Stanleyville, Congo, November 1964, was a multinational operation using USAF aircraft and Belgian paratroopers. At that time, the Congo was a Belgian colony recently granted independence, and most foreign nationals in the Congo were Belgian citizens. Due to the political situation and constrained military resources (USAF had C-130 aircraft and nearby basing rights available), it was expedient to conduct a multinational operation.

The possibility also exists that other countries are conducting NEOs at the same time as, but independent of, the United States. If this occurs, it may be necessary for the CINC to coordinate with the other forces to organize use of limited resources and facilities. Many of the same concerns must be addressed as in a formal coalition, especially:

  • Communications and frequency deconfliction.

  • Specific rules of engagement.

  • Fraticide avoidance.

  • Multinational OPSEC.

  • Transportation assets.

  • Security.

  • Liaison and translator.

  • Coordinated use of available port, airfield, and lines of communication (LOC) facilities.

In 1986, with the downfall and exile of Jean Claude (Baby Dot) Duvalier as president of Haiti, and the subsequent anarchy, Headquarter, US Forces Caribbean (JTF 140), was directed to initiate crisis action procedures for a hostile NEO. During the planning, it was learned that the French Antilles Command was preparing to evacuate French citizens at the same time. Although the NEO was never implemented, the limited port and airfield capacity in Haiti would have caused a disaster had the two commands continued without coordinating their operations.


The predeployment phase is a period of intense planning and preparation. (Appendix D contains additional guidance for NEO planning.) Predeployment planning begins when the JTF receives the warning order from the CINC and lasts until the evacuation force deploys to an ISB, if used or directly to the evacuation site. This is also the time the advance party (or liaison augmentation party) may be deployed. Prior coordination with the staffs of the regional CINC and, where possible, the post can significantly improve planning for any organization that has a NEO mission.

During this period, the CINC must request diplomatic authorization from Department of State. This will result in Department of State requesting required over-flight agreements.

Time may be critical. The JTF commander obtains the information he needs to conduct planning from the unified command. As a minimum, he must determine whether and where he must establish an ISB (if one has not been designated by the WLG), how many evacuation sites he needs and their general locations, points of embarkation approximate number of evacuees, and how they will leave the country. He must also determine the location of the safehaven and any intermediate safehavens and if he must establish and operate them.

The unified command can provide the JTF commander much information to begin planning from several documents on file at the CINC headquarter. The first is the operations plan (OPLAN) or concept plan (CONPLAN) for the emergency evacuation of citizens from the country or region in question. This is the CINC's baseline guidance for the operation. In most cases, this document contains an analysis of the area of operations and provides valuable background information about the geography and demography of the HN. Additionally, it identifies the headquarters which has responsibility for the operation The CINC develops the CONPLAN for each country in his area of responsibility. This critical document is reviewed and updated often to allow for expeditious planning should a NEO be required.

The second major document that should be immediately available is the EAP, discussed earlier. The plan contains many of the answers the JTF and evacuation force commanders will need as they plan the operation. It has a checklist for US military-assisted evacuation and information on routes, assembly areas, and helicopter landing zones. It also has airfield and seaport survey data. (Samples of these are in Appendix C.) Other critical sources of information available from the CINC include the NEO pack, the Regional Survey Team (RMT) Report, NEO Intelligence Support Handbook (NISH), and contingency support packages (CSPs).

The unified command staff and the embassy must coordinate regularly to ensure the OPLAN and the EAP are consistent. Failure to coordinate and update either plan can cost precious planning time or, even worse, cause disaster. The evacuation of Mogadishu, Somalia, in January 1991, is one such example. Although the embassy in Mogadishu had moved in 1989, the evacuation plan provided to the JTF contained a map from 1969. Helicopter carrying the evacuation force spent an additional 20 minutes over hostile forces looking for the embassy. In this case, the failure to update plans could have resulted in the loss of aircraft personnel, and evacuees.

Other documents invaluable to planning are produced by the defense intelligence community. The Intelligence and Threat Analysis Center produces the country profiles series in three volumes: Armed Forces, Military Geography and Foreign Intelligence and Security Services. The Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center produces medical capabilities studies and the US Army 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) produces psychological studies on specific countries. Civil affairs and PSYOP units produce studies and assessments that profile the salient features of a specific country and its people, as well as the PSYOP-relevant issues, characteristics, strengths, and vulnerabilities of that country. These and similar intelligence products are listed in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Register of Intelligence Products (secret) and the DIA Collateral Recurring Document Listing (confidential). These products can be obtained through the J2 or G2 using a DIA intelligence dissemination customer account (AR 381-19). Special PSYOP assessments may be requested from the Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Directorate (SOJ9), United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), by the requesting command's J2, G2, S2, or CA and PSYOP staff officer.


Accurate and timely intelligence is key to the success of any NEO. To provide useful intelligence, the commander must ensure the intelligence effort will be fully engaged at all times. Current military intelligence doctrine emphasizes five main points.

First the JTF commander or COM drives the intelligence effort. He focuses on the intelligence system by clearly designating his priority intelligence requirements (PIR), mission requirements, and evacuation priorities. He ensures that the intelligence effort is fully employed and synchronized. He demands that the intelligence effort provide the intelligence he needs when he needs it, and in the form he needs.

Second, the intelligence officer synchronizes intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination with operations to ensure that the COM or JTF commander receives the intelligence he needs in a form he can use, and in time to influence the decision-making process. Intelligence synchronization is a continuous process which keeps intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW) operations tied to the COM or JTF commander's critical decisions and concept of operations.

Third, broadcast dissemination of intelligence is the simultaneous broadcast of near real-time intelligence from collectors and processors at all echelons. It permits commanders and operational elements at different echelons to simultaneously receive the same intelligence. This provides the COM, JTF commander, evacuation control center (ECC), embassy intelligence personnel, evacuation teams, ISB personnel, and homebase or safehaven personnel with a common picture of the mission area.

Fourth, split-based intelligence operations enable the COM or JTF commander to have top-driven, high-resolution intelligence, regardless of which organic intelligence collection and production assets are currently employed, and in country. Split-based intelligence operations employ collection and analysis elements from all echelons, national to tactical, in sanctuaries or continental United States (CONUS), from which they can operate against the target area and transmit the intelligence product to the deployed unit.

Last, the COM or JTF commander tactically tailors IEW support for each phase of the operation based on mission requirements and the availability of resources. He must decide which key intelligence personnel and equipment to deploy immediately to the mission area, and when and if to phase in his remaining military intelligence (MI) assets.


The general concept of operation for the evacuation force is to make contact with the embassy (or post), occupy the ISB, establish the ECC, secure assembly areas, send units to make contact with US civilians in outlying areas, and move them to assembly areas and subsequently to the evacuation site. The final step involves moving the evacuees to a safehaven and withdrawing from the evacuation site.

Once the CINC decides how the command will conduct the proposed NEO, he normally designates a JTF suitable for the mission. Normally the JTF is responsible to the CINC for all phases of the operation to include the ISB and the safehaven staging areas (if located outside the United States). Figure 3-5 depicts the chain of command for an evacuation operation. The JTF commander exercises command and control over all military units in accomplishing the missions inherent in the evaluation operation. The principal Department of State official in the HN is the US ambassador.

The Department of State will normally designate the United States or a US territory as the official safehaven location. Intermediate staging areas may be used during the movement of evacuees back to the United States. During Operation Fiery Vigil, Guam was used as an intermediate staging area for the evacuation from the Philippines.

Department of the Army has been designated as the DOD executive agency to oversee repatriation plans and operations. As such, Department of the Army has designated the Commander, US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), and Commander in Chief, US Pacific Command (USCINCPAC), as the executive agents for the execution of repatriation operations. As such, FORSCOM has tasking authority over all services for repatriation operations in CONUS. USCINCPAC is responsible for repatriation operations in Hawaii, Alaska, and US territories in the Pacific. (For a complete discussion, see Joint Plan for DOD Noncombatant Repatriation.)


If the situation allows, the JTF commander may dispatch an advance party (or liaison team) prior to deploying the evacuation force to the HN. If not, the first element to land in the HN must assume that mission. In any event the advance party must be established as early as possible. (Appendix D contains advance party guidelines.)

Special operations forces, specifically CA forces, have the best mix of skills and experience to assist in NEOs. They can provide the commander an economy of force measure for evacuation operations in general and advance party operations specifically.

The advance party in Operation Sharp Edge (the Monrovia, Liberia, evacuation) had nearly 10 weeks (from 31 May to 5 August 1990) to prepare for evacuation. Adequate time to plan, prepare facilities, and coordinate with the embassy resulted in a well-executed operation. Conversely, the US ambassador to Somalia requested military assistance to evacuate Mogadishu on 2 January 1991. On 5 January, because of the urgency of the rapidly developing situation the evacuation force was the first contingent to arrive for Operation Eastern Exit. Evacuees started departing immediately on the first aircraft. The evacuation force adjusted plans on site to allow for physical constraints that the advance party would normally have identified and resolved.

Travel to the HN by the advance party depends on METT-T and political considerations. The COM is ultimately responsible for determining the best mode of travel. Least conspicuous is for the advance party to arrive in the HN in civilian clothes on civilian aircraft. This method is possible only if the necessary passport and visa arrangements can be made and the environment is permissive. An uncertain or a hostile environment may require opposed entry operations. It is critical, therefore, for the theater headquarters, JTF headquarters, and embassy staff to communicate constantly so that they can immediately plan for and act on situational changes. Use of military aircraft allows the advance party to carry additional equipment they may need in setting up the evacuation site and establishing communications and liaison. SOF units may provide the commander with a wide range of skills for an inconspicuous advance party.

The mission of the advance party is to receive updated information on the HN situation, including enemy threat, and brief the US embassy or post staff on the concept of the operation. As a minimum, the party should brief the DCM, administrative officer, defense attaché (DATT), and RSO or PSO. This allows the post to begin necessary planning for inserting the evacuation force. The ambassador must approve all plans. Prior coordination between the CINC and post staffs helps eliminate confusion over responsibilities.

The JTF commander considers the following when selecting and preparing the advance party:

  • The party should be small and inconspicuous to avoid drawing attention.

  • It should deploy as far in advance of the main body as possible to allow the maximum time for coordination.

  • Its leader should have the experience necessary to interact effectively with US embassy or post personnel and higher headquarters.

  • It should carry with it specialized equipment. For example, it should have sufficient satellite communication (SATCOM) systems to establish communications with the JTF or higher headquarter and serve as backup for the post.

The advance party may be split into two groups--an embassy party and an evacuation site party. The embassy party coordinates with members of the country team for information and assistance in the following areas:

  • Update or augmentation of country and local maps (should be part of the OPLAN or CONPLAN package).

  • Access to local communications systems.

  • Availability of water, rations; and medical supplies, equipment, and treatment facilities.

  • Review of selected assembly areas for defensibility and logistics requirements.

  • Degree of access to the transportation network, to include freed- and rotary-wing aircraft and truck and train transport.

  • Potential for access to special engineer equipment if required.

  • Information regarding temporary shelter for evacuees awaiting departure.

  • Updated information pertaining to hostile forces and embassy intelligence assets.

  • Updated information on numbers and locations of evacuees and wardens.

The embassy party also establishes communications between the evacuation site and the embassy and provides a link with the evacuation force commander. It provides the commander with updated situation reports. The following paragraphs describe the composition and duties of a typical embassy party.

The civil affairs representative may serve in a liaison capacity to the embassy and assists the operations representative in reviewing the NEO plan. He ensures that the JTF commander receives all updated information which impacts on the plan to include a complete list of evacuees' names and addreses, availability and type of HN support to the operation, and information on how the embassy intends to address the news media. The CA representative stays at the embassy to act as the communications link with US forces in the operational area.

The civil affairs and PSYOP representatives present the CA and PSYOP supporting plans for embassy staff review and COM approval. Each coordinates with appropriate embassy officers to effect required and unilateral- and reciprocal-support with other government agencies.

The PSYOP representative assesses and updates the current psychological situation. He recommends modifications to PSYOP products already in development, and he advises the on-site commander of the best use of PSYOP assets for the mission. A medical officer may accompany the embassy party to evaluate the medical needs.

The intelligence representative coordinates with the senior military attaché and the RSO or PSO to provide the evacuation force updated intelligence estimates (which assess the that to the NEO). He should ensure the force has adequate maps prior to his departure. If not, he must seek assistance from the DATT or the RSO or PSO. He assists the operations representative in briefing the concept of the operation and determines any additional factors which might hinder the evacuation. He needs to bring necessary communications equipment to provide real-time intelligence.

The operations representative, assisted by the CA and intelligence representatives, briefs the concept of operation to the DCM, administative officer, DATT, and RSO or PSO. He reports to the advance party commander any information the embassy presents affecting the plan. If a PSYOP representative is not available, he also presents the PSYOP supporting plan for COM approval and coordinates with the embassy staff for implementation.

The logistics representative coordinates with the embassy staff to ensure that the force establishes the evacuation site at an approved location. He also requests access to any key HN transportation assets, particularly vehicles to transport the evacuees from assembly areas to the evacuation site. He coordinates for supplies the deploying force needs but cannot bring (such as water, medical supplies and equipment, and rations). Ideally he should have a contract officer. If not, he works with the embassy GSO.

Contracting provides a means to obtain local supplies and services in an area where no HN service agreements exist or where HN service agreements do not cover the required supplies and services. It improves response time and frees airlift and sealift for other priority requirements. Should the force need additional equipment such as earth moving equipment to develop access to an airstrip or port or to improve existing facilities, the logistics representative secures available equipment and hires the required equipment operators. If he cannot obtain this type of support from the HN, he notifies the JTF commander immediately to allow implementation of other options.

The evacuation site party, the second functional group in the advance party, secures and establishes the ECC site. In some cases, it may be impossible for the evacuation site party to secure the ECC site without a supporting security force. In this case, the JTF commander may consider augmenting the party or have the evacuation site party recon the ECC site and develop plans for occupying it when security forces arrive.

The ECC comprises two major areas--the operations center and the processing center. They are described in detail in Chapter 5. The ECC site should meet these criteria:

  • Provide adequate shelter and facilities for the civilians being evacuated.

  • Be militarily defensible in the event the situation deteriorates and hostilities begin.

  • Be capable of handling long-distance radio communications.

  • Provide access to HN telephone communications.

  • Be in an isolated location in the same city as the embassy if possible.

  • Have adequate ground access routes.

  • Have adequate landing zones and or port facilities.

  • Have access to local medical facilities if possible.

  • Be suitable for billeting, messing and sanitation for the troop units who operate and secure the evacuation site.

The operations center is the command post of the evacuation operation. Although the ambassador and the JTF commander provide guidance, the personnel in the operations center define, establish, control, and direct the evacuation operation.

The operations center coordinates the evacuation effort from the arrival of the military forces, through the collection and departure of evacuees, to the departure of the military. For the operations center to function effectively, it must be located in the ECC, near the airstrip or seaport from which the unit will conduct& evacuation. If the situation warrants establishing more than one evacuation site, each site will have an operations center. The JTF commander designates the centermost capable of communicating with the others and the embassy as the primary center.

The operations center is the focal point of the evacuation operation. It is similar in function to a fully staffed command post. It comprises representatives from each primary staff section. Should the operation require special staff representatives, they collocate with the primary staff section with which they most closely work. Each staff section should be represented in the advance party.

The headquarter commandant lays out the ECC in preparation for the main body. He controls the work parties and secures the ECC until the security force arrives. He should have a current list of evacuees and wardens and maintain contact with the chief of the consular section.

The personnel representative establishes his portion of the operations center and lays out the processing center. He should be in contact with the JTF headquarters, the embassy, and the personnel officer.

The operations representative lays out the physical plan for the entire operations center and establishes the operations portion of the center. He ensures that the center coordinates and communicates among staff sections.

The intelligence representative establishes the intelligence aspect of the center. He works with the civil affairs representative to ensure evacuees are quickly screened for intelligence information, particularly possible threats.

The signal representative ensures that the force can establish and maintain communications from the evacuation site. He coordinates with the embassy party to install telephone trunk lines, establish secure radio and data communications with the embassy, and determine if the site has enough power to run the long-range communications equipment. He develops alternatives if it does not.

Existing domestic telephone lines can be a backup to military communication systems. Telephone lines are not secure; however, secure telephone units version III (STU III) manual encryption devices may be used to pass classified traffic. This means of communication maybe the most reliable, especially to remote evacuation sites. However in many underdeveloped countries, telephone lines may not be available outside of major population centers. This will cause increased reliance on frequency modulated (FM) or high frequency (HF) radio communications.

The logistics representative establishes the center's logistics section. He keeps in close contact with the embassy party to properly receive and use the resources obtained through the embassy and JTF, such as transportation, rations, and other supplies and services.

An MP representative should establish and conduct liaison with HN police officials through the RSO or PSO. He can ensure mutual understanding of points of jurisdiction and special handling of US military personnel outlined in the status of forces agreement. He can also coordinate additional support requirements that the HN police may or may not be able to provide, such as external security and crowd control.

If Air Force airlift assets are used in the evacuation, the Air Force representative ensures that the USAF personnel who support the operation have all the information they need to accomplish their missions. He pays particular attention to information that pilots need for initial evacuation site sorties. He coordinates with local air control service if available to obtain and transmit necessary information to the inbound aircraft. One of the first units to arrive with the main body should be the combat control team (CCT) with its vehicle and radios.

If evacuation is to be aboard US Navy vessels or aircraft, a similar representative from the Navy is needed to ensure port and landing facilities are adequate and coordinated.

Other representatives may accompany the advance party, depending on the situation. They include explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), medical, aviation (including air traffic control services), and US Immigration.

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