Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) is the ordered (mandatory) or authorized (voluntary) departure of civilian noncombatants and nonessential military personnel from danger in an overseas country to a designated safe haven, typically within the continental United States. Overseas evacuations could occur under a variety of circumstances, including civil unrest, military uprisings, environmental concerns, and natural disasters. The Department of State (DOS) recommends an evacuation, and the Department of the Army—as the Department of Defense (DOD) Executive Agent for repatriation (RE-PAT) planning and operations—coordinates the execution of NEO.
U.S. citizens who may be ordered to evacuate an overseas country include:
- Civilian employees of all U.S. Government agencies and their dependents, except as noted below
- Military personnel of the U.S. Armed Forces specifically designated for evacuation as noncombatants
- Dependents of members of the U.S. Armed Forces
U.S. (and non-U.S.) citizens who may be authorized or assisted in evacuation (but not necessarily ordered to evacuate) include:
- Civilian employees of the U.S. Government agencies and their dependents who are residents in the country but express the willingness to be evacuated
- Private U.S. citizens and their dependents
- Military personnel and dependents of members of the U.S. Armed Forces outlined above, short of an ORDERED evacuation
- Designated aliens, including dependents of persons listed above
Noncombatants should maintain accurate and updated contact information with their command and in all relevant Navy databases.
How to Prepare
- Be informed. Noncombatants should maintain accurate and updated contact information with their command and in all relevant Navy databases. Navy personnel with NMCI or OneNet access must self-register all home phones, cellular phones, and email addresses, etc. in the Wide Area Alert Network (WAAN) to receive notifications wherever they are.
- Make a written evacuation plan that includes a plan for pets.
- Make a written emergency communication plan in case family members are separated.
- Build a NEO kit.
What to Do During An Evacuation
- Stay tuned to American Forces Network (AFN) broadcasts for instructions.
- If an evacuation is ordered, report to the nearest assembly point as quickly as possible.
- Leave with the expectation that you will not return.
- Take your NEO kit with you.
- Cooperate and comply with NEO personnel.
- Remain calm and be flexible.
- Assist other noncombatants who need help.
How a Noncombatant Evacuation Is Executed
- At the onset of a crisis situation in an overseas country, DOS, in collaboration with other federal agencies, may request an evacuation. When approved by the President, an Executive Order will be issued directing NEO.
- One or more Repatriation (RE-PAT) Sites may be established, and USTRANSCOM will coordinate the removal of evacuees to the site, typically by air. Evacuees wishing to be evacuated somewhere other than the designated safe haven must request permission through their Service and DOS.
- Headquarters Department of the Army will coordinate and direct repatriation operations, as well as the assistance provided to other eligible DOD families who are unable to enter the subject country due to a stop movement order (an ordered suspension of movement into an evacuated area). Essential personnel with orders to travel into the evacuated area as a new duty station are required to proceed.
- CDR FORSCOM and CDR USPACOM will assist the designated RE-PAT Sites during the execution of the repatriation operation in coordination with other DOD agencies; the Military Services; and federal, state, and local agencies, as required.
- Individual military Services/DOD agencies will provide necessary support to effectively receive and process respective families, both evacuees who enter through designated RE-PAT Sites and also eligible families who are unable to process through these sites (stop movement personnel or those who come out via commercial air). The Services/DOD agencies also will assume follow-on responsibility for their respective family members throughout the safe haven period. The authorized/ordered departure may be extended in 30-day increments to a maximum of 180 days.
- When an authorized departure is terminated, evacuees must return to their foreign duty assignment.
Building a NEO Kit
To be fully prepared for any emergency, your family already should have one or more emergency kits that include enough supplies for at least three days. Keep a kit prepared at home and consider also having kits in your car, at work, and a portable version in your home ready to take with you. If you are stationed OCONUS, there are some special items, particularly important documents that can serve as proof of citizenship, that you should be sure to include in your kit in case of a noncombatant evacuation order. Keep all items listed below in your hand-carried baggage:
- ID cards (military or U.S. Government)
- Passports for all travelers (visa, if required, as well)
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Naturalization certificates, citizenship papers (as applicable)
- Alien Registration Card (FmI 551) (as applicable)
- Power of attorney (family care plan/spousal needs, as applicable)
- Last will and testament
- Financial records (checkbook/bank books/credit cards/tax record/current bills, etc.)
- Insurance policies (car, life, health, etc.)
- Completed Repatriation Processing Center Processing Sheet (DD Form 2585)
- Request and Authorization for TDY Travel of DOD Personnel (DD Form 1610)
- Copies of PCS orders authorizing family to be in endangered country (validates command-sponsorship, and for civilians, return transportation agreement)
- Employment documents: resume, latest pay voucher, latest performance evaluation
- Medical records (Immunization, copies of important medical and dental records)
- 30-Day supply of prescription medications
- School records for children/adult evacuees (transcripts, test scores, etc.)
- Record of Emergency Data (DD Form 93)
- Vehicle registration/title/U.S. driver’s license
- Personal property inventory with photos (DD Form 1701—includes household goods)
- Emergency Payment Authorization (DA Form 1337)
- Money for emergency use (suggest U.S. $100 minimum cash and some foreign currency)
In a backpack or small suitcase, pack:
- Lightweight, high-energy, packaged food for all travelers (sufficient to keep you going—if not satiated—for three days)
- Baby toiletries (diapers, etc.) three-day supply
- Personal toilet articles (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
- Feminine hygiene articles
- First aid kit
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Extra clothing
- Blankets (seasonal)
Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing, including long pants in all seasons. During colder months, wear several layers of clothing.
Making Plans for Pets
In the past, DOD authorities have made great effort to evacuate pets along with the families. This may not always be feasible; therefore, families must make plans for their pets to stay behind or to be transported out commercially. The cost of any commercial transport of the pets, either out of the theater or from the Repatriation Site to the final safe haven location, will be borne by the family.
To fly on most Air Mobility Command or commercial airlines, including DOS-chartered aircraft, requires some necessary paperwork for your pet. Required documents typically include completion of the DD Form 2209, Veterinary Health Certificate, and the DD Form 2208, Rabies Vaccination Certificate. Also note that many commercial carriers do not transport pets during certain periods, for example, very hot summer months or when space is not available.
If you are permitted to bring pets in an evacuation, make sure you have the following:
- Separate carrier for each animal, except those nursing litters
- Collars on each animal with owner ID information (microchip recommended)
- Movement orders, health certificate, and shot records attached to cage in waterproof pouch
- Supply of pet food (specialty food, if required)
What to Expect After An Evacuation
Being evacuated can be unsettling and difficult. The goal of the Repatriation Site is to ensure arriving evacuees are processed and moved onward to their final safe haven locations as expeditiously as possible. If transportation arrangements cannot be made for immediate onward movement after processing, arrangements will be made for temporary housing at military installations or commercial facilities.
Each Service is responsible for providing financial assistance for its eligible military and civilian employees and their families. Financial assistance is provided in the form of deployable teams to designated Repatriation Sites for initial payments to evacuees. It also includes all follow-on payments to evacuees while in safe haven locations, as well as initial and follow-on payments for eligible individuals who were unable to process through a Repatriation Site. These payments will be made by Service-designated centralized locations.
Upon arrival of evacuees at their final destination, the nearest installation in the local area is responsible for family support in coordination with the evacuee’s sponsoring Service or agency. The sponsoring installation will assist the family, regardless of Service affiliation, with any problems or needs that may arise, such as family support, return transportation requirements, household goods claims, etc. The sponsoring installation will also provide assistance to families affected by stop movement orders.
Where to Find Additional Information
- U.S. Army (as DOD Executive Agent for repatriation and planning for all Services)
- U.S. Department of State
- Emergency Assistance: travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html
- Crisis Preparedness: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/148830.pdf
- Web Site for Nearest U.S. Embassy
- American Forces Network Broadcast Center (find your local affiliate)
- U.S. military-affiliated noncombatants living in
- Commander Fleet Activities, Sasebo: http://www.cnic.navy.mil/Sasebo/OperationsAndManagement/EmergencyManagement/index.htm
- Naval Air Facility Atsugi: http://www.cnic.navy.mil/Atsugi/OperationsAndManagement/EmergencyManagement/index.htm
- Commander Fleet Activities, Yokosuka: http://www.cnic.navy.mil/Yokosuka/OperationsAndManagement/EmergencyManagement/index.htm
- The Republic of Korea