Improving civilian-military humanitarian response when disasters strike

When a large-scale disaster like the current Ebola crisis in West Africa or a major storm like Hurricane Katrina hits, coordination often is lacking between the U.S. military and civilian-run nongovernmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations. To address this issue, the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) College of Operational & Strategic Leadership (COSL) and Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) held the inaugural meeting of the Joint Humanitarian Civilian–Military Working Group on November 6, 2014 at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The gathering grew out of a strategic partnership established in May 2014 when a research and education memorandum of understanding was signed by HSPH Dean Julio Frenk and retired Rear Admiral Jamie Kelly, dean of COSL.

“We’re counting on COSL to provide our students with an unparalleled access to the foundational elements of leadership and planning, generally reserved for our senior officers,” said Michael Lappi, HHI fellow and visiting scientist in HSPH’s Department of Global Health and Population, who helped spearhead the initiative. “In return, we hope to provide COSL with an academic and experience-based appreciation of humanitarian principles and operations far beyond anything previously offered to military officers.”

Read the press release: Naval War College, Harvard Aim to Improve Civilian-Military Humanitarian Response

Learn more

Humanitarian response to Ebola outbreak slow, fragmented (HSPH News)