This is so because disasters occur infrequently and generally happen to
people other than ourselves. The complex nature implied in the design of an
integrated response to trauma suggests that expert advice and consultation
If the Army is to be prepared for tragedy, it must have an
institutional memory, a designated Consultation/Research Team.
In this regard, the availability of such a team, formed in order to provide
these services to leaders, may be a useful adjunct to currently existing
The objective of the team would be to use their
knowledge and experience to help guide the leadership responsible for
handling the human response to the crisis.
In addition to providing a consultation service to an affected community, a
consultation/research team serves another important function.
becomes a source of outside validation for the community, increasing the
confidence of leaders and caregivers in the design of interventions. This
validation also decreases the stress and increases the effectiveness of
those functioning as front-line caregivers and strategy implementers. While
it is apparent that such a team can be of value during a crisis event, there
are additional long-term functions it can serve:
Keeping abreast of the literature with an eye toward applications
in military and civilian environments;
Training service providers regarding useful outreach techniques;
Documenting military and civilian responses to tragedy
preserve lessons learned for next time;
Pointing out the neglected, unseen psychological costs
managing the aftermath of tragedy; and
Assisting in planning and executing long-term follow-up research
to determine effective interventions in military and civilian
An important outcome of this long-term agenda is the development of an
adequate conceptual model of tragedy.
Such a model does not exist
currently. However, as a result of information gathered in the aftermath of
Gander, there is some intimation of the degree of complexity that will be
required. This model, at the very least, must consider:
Reactions and appropriate/inappropriate responses will
vary across time. For example, a leader in tears can symbolize
strength at first, but be viewed as weak later on.
services are useful to a point, after, which people find them
wearing and no longer helpful.
Military and civilian tragedies involve individuals,
groups, and formal organizations. Individuals may do well while
small groups fall apart, or small groups may save the day when