Purdue University Graduate School

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Sea-Based Disaster Response Logistics

posted on 2024-07-03, 19:28 authored by Paul L KnudsenPaul L Knudsen

The purpose of this study is to develop the attributes of an undersea aid cache network and validate its efficacy in reducing the number of dead and injured in island natural disasters. This study addresses the problem of island nations experiencing three times the dead and injured as continental nations during natural disasters due to easily disrupted and limited logistics. Employing a mixed-method approach, the qualitative portions of the study include a systematic literature review and case study analysis. The quantitative portions of the study include populating a novel disaster database, applying statistical analysis, executing a suitability assessment, and running design efficacy experiments using a simulation model representative of the disaster database. The study concludes with a review of existing patents to identify an optimal combination of designs for the caches and specify research foci for further investment.

Despite a comparative advantage in sea assets, the findings show that islands overly rely on air resupply and underuse sea-based pre-positioned stocks. The study also finds that a network of Undersea Aid Modules (UAMs) could reduce casualties in isolated island areas if fielded in sufficient quantities and capable of longevity, survivability, and recovery. Lastly, the study reviews existing patents for UAM design requirements and highlights gaps for investment. A key research limitation is that the study does not develop a prototype and simulations cannot replicate full, real-world application. Practical implications include a novel alternative to current resupply methods and identified gaps for further study. The paper’s value and originality center on an island-unique analysis of disaster logistics absent in most studies. The study will reveal previously unidentified gaps and a design solution to improve island disaster outcomes.

Keywords: Disaster logistics, cache, pre-positioned stocks, sea-basing, island, casualty reduction


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Aviation and Transportation Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Mary E. Johnson

Additional Committee Member 2

Joseph P. Hupy

Additional Committee Member 3

J. Eric Dietz