US soldier wearing a face covering

Military responses to COVID-19, emerging trends in global civil-military engagements

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Watch Fawzia Gibson-Fall discuss her timely new article from BISA journal Review of International Studies (RIS). The article discusses increases in military engagements in health-related activities at the domestic level due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this handy five-minute summary, Fawzia talks about the military as health actors, trends in COVID-19 military responses and their trajectories for the future.

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We are pleased to inform you that this article is currently open access as part of a special global health collection. Click the DOI below, or the link at the bottom of this page.

Full article abstract


The COVID-19 pandemic is giving way to increases in military engagements in health-related activities at the domestic level. This article situates these engagements amid issues of continuity, change and resistance in contemporary redefinitions of military health roles. It positions the COVID-19 pandemic as a pivotal moment in global health military practice. I identify three emerging trends within national military responses to COVID-19; 1) Minimal technical military support; 2) Blended civil-military responses; and 3) Military-led responses. The dynamics which underpin each type of military involvement follow context-specific military political legacies. These levels of involvement also relate to national public health approaches and the degree of capacity within health care systems. Each identified trend points towards specific trajectories for the future co-constitution of global and local civil-military engagements.

Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash