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March 2017-December 2019


Funded by the Australian Research Council, the research sought to determine the functions, tasks, responsibilities and limits of military assistance in health emergencies to inform future policy and practice. The study investigated 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.


With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has also tracked how militaries have been used in the pandemic response.

The study has involved surveying military personnel that were involved in health emergencies, focusing on the various roles, tasks, and responsibilities they performed. In addition, surveys were also conducted of humanitarian responders, government officials, and representatives from international organisations responsible for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The findings from these surveys have been augmented by interviews with senior military, humanitarian, government and international organisation officials.  It is hoped the evidence from this research will help inform the development of new international guidelines on the utilisation of military assets during public health emergencies of international concern. 


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

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