March 2017-December 2019


Funded by the Australian Research Council, this research seeks to determine the functions, tasks, responsibilities and limits of military assistance in health emergencies to inform future policy and practice. The study seeks to accomplish this by investigating a series of case studies, such as:

  • the 2014-16 West African Ebola outbreak;

  • the eradication of polio in Pakistan; and

  • the control of the Zika virus in Brazil.

The study involves surveying military personnel that were involved in health emergencies, focusing on the various roles, tasks, and responsibilities they performed. In addition, surveys will also be conducted of humanitarian responders, government officials, and representatives from international organisations responsible for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The findings from these surveys will be augmented by interviews with senior military, humanitarian, government and international organisation officials. Data will then be analysed by an international expert panel comprising former and currently serving military personnel, representatives from humanitarian agencies and international organisations, and academics, to advise on policy translation and dissemination. It is intended that the evidence from this research will inform the development of new international guidelines on the utilisation of military assets during public health emergencies of international concern. The project will also consider the implications for Australia and the Australian Defence Force.

The research findings will be disseminated via peer-reviewed academic papers, a book, and a series of policy briefs.

The survey is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Portuguese, Urdu and Thai.