For both humanitarians and the military, working together in a disaster area can be a difficult task. The time sensitive nature of humanitarian emergencies can exacerbate ethical and cultural differences between humanitarian and military actors. The military has a strong culture of control as opposed to humanitarians who normally have a much less degree of control management within their culture and display much more flexibility. In order to explore and address some of the preconceived notions surrounding the interactions between civil and military actors, Captain Glen Diehl of the United States Navy and Director of the Center for Global Health Engagement (CGHE) and Dr. Tony Land, Senior Fellow at the IIHA, delivered a lecture to the 48th International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) class. Diehl, presenting on the perspective of the military, began with explaining that CGHE is part of the Uniformed Services University under the United States Department of Defense and as such, is tasked with the mission, “to lead, integrate, and synchronize Uniformed Services University’s global health engagement (GHE) contributions to the Joint Force, Combatant Commands (CCMDs), Services, the Military Health System (MHS), and ultimately to national security objectives.” Dr. Land, who has spent an extensive part of his career working for UNHCR and a number of other humanitarian organizations, presented on the viewpoint of humanitarian agencies. Both speakers addressed the challenges, yet crucial importance of civil military cooperation within the humanitarian field. To this end, they also discussed ways how various stakeholders such as the military and humanitarian actors may be able to understand their differences and work together in order to make the goals of both the Armed Forces and humanitarian agencies more easily accomplished.
Civil-military cooperation is a term developed by the military and can be defined as “the process and structure through which Military Forces seek to co-operate with civil authorities, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local Associations and the civilian population at large.” Using this definition as a foundation, Diehl explained how there are specific guidelines based on pieces of international legislature that regulate civil-military operations. For example, the United Nation’s Humanitarian Doctrine, also know as the “Oslo Guidelines”, explains how a humanitarian operation using military assets must “retain its civilian nature and character” and “the operation as a whole must remain under the overall authority and control of the responsible humanitarian organization.” Diehl also explained how armed military forces could be extremely useful in disaster response operations, often carrying out services that other organization cannot provide. This includes providing logistics, force protection, manpower, as well as Geographic Information System (GIS) command and control. He emphasized the point that the United States Armed Forces operate within the best interests of the United States and that his lecture was in the perspective of the United States Armed Forces. Generally, the United States Armed Forces would enter a disaster area to maintain stabilization within the area with the fear that the area may destabilize as a result of the disaster. Developing nations, who are more prone to be victim to natural disasters or conflict situations, sometimes lack a stable government. According to Diehl, the United States Armed Forces believes that weak state institutions can turn into domestic instability or violence for the nations in question. These actions can lead to a failed state, which can become a safe haven for terrorists and can also cause spillover in the region, which can be a perceived threat to United States interests. Because of this, stability operations now have the same priority as combat operations for the United States Armed Services.
Along with stability operations in disaster areas and unstable regions, the Armed Forces have begun to put emphasis on using medical approaches to assist in stabilizing regions in chaos. Diehl described these operations as “healthcare diplomacy”, in which the military uses health as a bridge to build relationships with partner nations. Examples include training healthcare workers to respond to disaster relief, as well as other services such as HIV/AIDS prevention. The United States Armed Forces has continued to strive to improve relations amongst other United States government agencies, foreign governments, international organizations, NGOs, and the private sector. To improve both of their agendas and more effectively distribute general aid to civilians, relations have improved with fellow United States government agencies such as USAID and the Department of Defense. Diehl emphasized that the Armed Forces follows certain engagement principles while working in humanitarian relief. These engagement principals are accomplished by creating effective partnerships, reducing displacement of services, assessing the host nations and encouraging their participation, ensuring sustainable capacity building, and foresting leadership and resilience development.
Dr. Tony Land carried the second half of the lecture by speaking on civil-military cooperation from the perspective of the humanitarian agency. Along with this, he explained how the Armed Forces could assist humanitarian agencies despite how the military command culture sometimes does not sit well with humanitarian agencies. Normally, humanitarian agencies adopt a single universal position regarding the way they will or will not cooperate with the military. The position regarding their cooperation is usually agency specific. Ultimately, how the military interacts with humanitarian agencies are regulated under various international laws. This includes the NATO doctrine, Chapters 6 and 7 of the United Nations Charter and the IASC Reference paper of 2004, which gives guidelines of how they should act in conflict situations. Land acknowledged the significant contributions that armed forces can provide during humanitarian emergencies including logistics, transport, and engineering assets. Militaries can often have more access to resources than humanitarian agencies do. Therefore creating positive relationships with the Armed Forces can be imperative to a humanitarian agencies mission. The importance of humanitarian agencies taking their relationship with militaries on a case-by-case basis was also explained within this lecture. Dr. Land explained that the range of situations is so broad and complicated that how humanitarian agencies should treat militaries needs to be sought through analysis and various questions being answered. These questions include how and why has the military force been deployed, how has the deployment been seen by the local population and in the international community, and the cost benefit analysis of cooperation for the organization and operational objectives.
While the conclusion did not give a concrete solution as to how to ensure Armed Forces and humanitarian agencies can cooperate, it did explain the complexities of their relationship and possible ways both can assist each other while working within a disaster area. Both Captain Diehl and Dr. Land explained the point of view from each of their respective fields while still showing respect for their opposition. Although it can be concluded that how militaries and humanitarian agencies interact should be on a case by case basis, the lecture helped outline tactics that can be used to make their relationships better to make it more possible for both groups to work together.
Anthony (Tony) Land graduated from Brunel University in 1971 with the degree of Bachelor of Technology with Honours in Polymer Science and Technology and was awarded the degree of Master of Technology, also from Brunel University, in 1972 for research into high temperature resistant polymeric materials. Between 1972 and 1985, he worked with various NGOs in South Asia. From 1979 to 1985 he was employed by Tearfund and seconded to HEED in Bangladesh and to ACROSS in Southern Sudan, as Field Director. In 1985, Dr. Land joined UNHCR and worked with them in operational field roles and in donor relations, until his retirement in 2006. Since leaving UNHCR, Dr. Land has undertaken various consultancies and taught on courses in humanitarian subjects at Fordham University (New York) as well as Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Manchester University, University of Copenhagen and the University of Medical Science and Technology in Khartoum. In 2014, he was admitted into the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at University of Liverpool. Dr. Land now holds a Senior Fellowship at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University, New York.
CAPT Glendon Diehl serves as the Director of the Center for Global Health Engagement (CGHE) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). In this role he advises on matters involving global health engagement policy, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR), health related stability operations, security cooperation, security assistance, health diplomacy and health threats based capacity. CAPT Diehl also coordinates with the DoD, the Services, combatant commands, U.S. Government interagency, specific host and partner nations, and other organizations that facilitate mission execution on security cooperation activities as well as assessment, monitoring, and evaluation policy. Additionally, he is the principal investigator for the Measures Of effectiveness in Defense Engagement and Learning (MODEL) Study, an Office of the Assistant Secretary for Defense for Health Affairs (OASD (HA)) funded grant previously executed through the CGHE.
Lecture given by Anthony Land, Ph.D., IIHA Senior Fellow, to the IDHA 48 class at Fordham University, New York, June 2016
Brief written by Joseph Telano, IIHA Summer 2016 Intern