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Blog Examines Department of Defense’s Role In U.S. Global Health Programs

Noting her participation in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation briefing on the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) global health activities, Kate Almquist Knopf, a visiting policy fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in a CGD blog post that a Kaiser Family Foundation report “identifies three major categories of DOD’s work in global health: 1) force health protection and readiness, 2) medical stability operations and partnership engagement, and 3) threat reduction.” She says, “Medical stability operations are generally the activities of the Geographic Combatant Commands to provide technical assistance and other health-related activities to build trust, prevent conflict, and increase the capacity of partner governments,” but she adds, “Ever the skeptic about DoD’s value-added in development, I see six problems with medical stability operations,” and goes on to discuss each of her points. She concludes, “If providing humanitarian aid and promoting development is in the United States’ national interest, then it should be done by those best-suited to do the job — civilian development experts. DoD should instead focus on its value added to development: promoting physical security so that civilians can do their jobs” (5/20).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.