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Military Health System

Global Health Engagement

The U.S. military has a long standing history in international public health issues as a result of our responsibility to protect the health of our forces and to ensure that they are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. Global health engagement is an important priority for the Military Health System. Our work:

  • Improves the health and safety of our warfighters,
  • Expands our medical readiness, 
  • Builds trust and deepens professional medical relationships around the world, and 
  • Advances U.S. national security objectives.

Why DOD Supports Global Health Engagement

The Department of Defense recognizes that global health and security are linked, and our global health engagement efforts address the intersection of these concerns.

In addition to ensuring force health protection and medical readiness, DOD global health engagement efforts also address other DOD and U.S. government priorities. These include enhancing interoperability by helping partner nations build health capacity, combatting global health threats like emerging infectious diseases and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief initiatives.

How the DOD Engages

The DOD works diligently with foreign nations to establish and develop international partnerships through joint medical training exercises and public health initiatives. We aim to support and strengthen the public health capabilities of our partner nations in these engagements, as well as to improve our interoperability with them.

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Our Partners

DOD’s global health engagement activities are part of a whole-of-government approach to global health. In addition to our international and NGO partners, we collaborate extensively with our U.S. Government partners.

U.S. Government Partners:

 

Our History

The DOD has been engaged in issues of global health for well over a century.

Learn More about our GHE History:

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Dr. David Smith at "Centennial Talks"

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9/23/2021
Dr. David Smith at "Centennial Talks"

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Readiness Policy and Oversight Dr. David Smith speaks at the International Committee of Military Medicine’s "Centennial Talks," a hybrid in-person and online event broadcast from Schelle, Belgium, Sept. 21 (Screenshot from official livestream of event taken by MHS Communications),

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Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery visits U.S. Africa Command's Command Surgeon and team to discuss the strategic context of global health in advancing shared security objectives with partner nations across the region. The Department of Defense recognizes that Global Health Engagement activities play a key role to advance U.S. troop operational readiness, build interoperability, and enhance Security Cooperation.

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Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery spoke at the 2018 Medical Support Operations Conference in London, delivering remarks on the defense sector's role in advancing the Global Health Security Agenda. A partnership of more than 60 nations, the Global Health Security Agenda, or GHSA, brings together the unique roles of governments, industry, NGOs, academia, and international institutions to combat infectious disease threats. “We are up against a perilous rise in infectious disease outbreaks threatening the health and safety of our citizens, as well as threatening geopolitical stability,” stated McCaffery, emphasizing that global health security is an essential part of our national security. “The bottom line is that defense and security sectors have a real opportunity to use the GHSA framework to increase collaboration and converge our unique assets across all sectors to detect and defeat disease at the earliest possible moment," McCaffery said.

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Last Updated: October 31, 2022
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