Civilian Military Engagement

HHI’s Program on Civil Military Engagement in Disaster Response seeks to create an evidence base for evaluating civil-military interactions in response to humanitarian disasters. Whether in response to conflict, natural disasters, or complex emergencies, international humanitarian organizations and U.S. federal agencies (Department of State, United States Agency for International Development), aim to alleviate suffering and minimize the social, health, and economic consequences of disaster.

In the largest of these emergencies, international humanitarian organizations often work in the same space as international military forces. Coordination amongst international militaries and humanitarian organizations is often challenging for a variety of reasons including differing mandates, varying sets of operating guidelines, capacity levels, and different levels of experience and resources. In large scale disasters, immediacy of action and effective coordination among the affected state, international humanitarian and military actors are essential to saving lives.

This necessitates that doctrine, policy, and training are informed by best practice and that best practice reflects the evidence from analysis of humanitarian disasters.

Core Program Objectives

The core program objectives are to provide applied research, evaluation, and educational initiatives to create an evidence base for best practice in civil-military coordination and to prepare future leaders with the skills and methods to contribute to the development of future research, doctrine, policy and training in civil-military coordination during disasters.  

HHI does this by:

  • Building the evidence base for civil-military coordination through applied research
  • Developing tools and methods for evaluating the effectiveness of civil-military engagement
  • Establishing key collaborations with U.S. federal, military, and international humanitarian organizations to inform curriculum for training in civil-military coordination
  • Convening stakeholders to discuss current dilemmas and challenges and opportunities for improved civil-military engagement