Rationale for Military Involvement in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Deon V. Canyon, Benjamin J. Ryan, Frederick M. Burkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Good relations and trust are the foundation of soft power diplomacy and are essential for the accomplishment of domestic interventions and any bilateral or multilateral endeavor. Military use for assistance and relief is not a novel concept, but it has increased since the early 1990s with many governments choosing to provide greater numbers of forces and assets to assist domestically and internationally. The increase is due to the growing lack of capacity in global humanitarian networks and increasingly inadequate resources available to undertake United Nations humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions. In response, the military has been more proactive in pursuing the improvement of military-to-military and military-to-civilian integration. This trend reflects a move towards more advanced and comprehensive approaches to security cooperation and requires increased support from the civilian humanitarian sector to help meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Military assistance is progressing beyond traditional methods to place a higher value on issues relating to civil cooperation, restoring public health infrastructure, protection, and human rights, all of which are ensuring a permanent diplomatic role for this soft power approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-97
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital and disaster medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Conflict
  • Disasters
  • HADR
  • Military
  • Policies
  • Security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency
  • Emergency Medicine


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