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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 (MHS). 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 (DoD) 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.

USNS Comfort HaitiUSNS Comfort anchors off Haiti for Continuing Promise 2015, during which its personnel conducted medical training exercises and exchanges with partner nations in Latin America.

Our laboratories across the globe conduct essential surveillance of biological threats as well as groundbreaking research on infectious diseases. The DoD’s global reach also serves as a force for good around the world, offering humanitarian and disaster response assistance when requested.

The DoD’s global health engagement efforts are part of a whole-of-government approach, conducted in close coordination with other U.S. Government agencies, including the Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The DoD also engages with non-government organizations, academia and private-sector organizations to enhance global health objectives.

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Navy audiologist contributes to Pacific Partnership

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Navy Lt. Matt Thomas, an audiologist supporting Pacific Partnership 2018, examines a patient's ear during a community health fair at Yap Memorial Hospital in Micronesia. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Byron Linder)

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In it together: Fighting global health threats takes partnerships

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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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2018 Medical Support Operations Conference

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4/11/2018
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.

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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2018 Visit to U.S. Africa Command's Command Surgeon

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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.

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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Preventive medicine saving lives

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U.S. forces conduct a cooperative health engagement in Thailand

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Preventive medicine unit supports first USAFRICOM trilateral medical exchange in Angola

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AFHSB's health surveillance program supports Defense Department global health engagement efforts

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Strengthening capabilities, fostering partnership top priorities at global health summit

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DoD Instruction 2000.30: Global Health Engagement Activities

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This instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the conduct of global health engagement activities with partner nation (PN) entities.

Exercise Immediate Response 16

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Soldiers and Airmen practice combat trauma care with allied and partner nation medical service members at Cerklje ob Krki, Slovenia, as part of exercise Immediate Response.

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