The Civil-Military Pandemic Response Network (CM-PRN) is an informal online network formed of key experts from across humanitarian, military, and research communities, which seeks to facilitate dialogue for improving humanitarian civil-military coordination in responding to pandemics and other emerging global catastrophic biological threats.
Pandemics and other potential global catastrophic biological threats represent both humanitarian and security threats at a transnational scale. As the drivers of emerging infectious diseases rapidly evolve in type, scope, and complexity, humanitarian, military and government actors within this same system face the same urgent need to develop innovative, cross-sector, and futures-oriented solutions for anticipating and responding to tomorrow’s global public health catastrophes today. In this context, pandemics represent a timely lens to engage with, and align, a range of issues relevant to the wider development of humanitarian civil-military coordination practice.
At present, however, the state of coordination mechanisms – and indeed, foundational dialogue – between these different communities remains nascent. Key existing humanitarian civ-mil guidance – including the Oslo and MCDA guidelines - do not currently address pandemics/public health emergencies adequately.
Likewise, the academic and policy literature dealing with humanitarian civil-military coordination remains under-developed across many critical areas of work, including major gaps in evidence-based research and guidance development. There is, in particular, a notable lack of clarity around common research priorities, areas of potential alignment, and mechanisms for dialogue between different research and learning actors working in this space.
In recognition of this gap, an emerging dialogue between a range of civilian and military public health and civil-military coordination experts has recently begun to build a common platform for sustained collaborative dialogue around pandemic civil-military issues.
During the 2016 Civil-Military Humanitarian Response Workshop held at the US Naval War College, the Pandemic Civil-military Working Group proposed the formation of an informal online network with the purpose of maintaining dialogue between participants, and further develop potentially collaborative research opportunities around civil-military coordination issues relating to pandemics/public health emergencies. Participants agreed to remain in touch via a list-serve to further develop the scope and terms of reference for this network. Over 2016, the network was convened once to discuss its initial scope and priority activities.
The second Pandemic Civil-Military Working Group, convened in 2017 at Brown University, expressed a strong interest in re-activating the network, and suggested the title ‘Civil Military Pandemic Response Network’ (CM-PRN). Participants proposed as immediate next steps to reengage those experts who have expressed interest in joining during the 2016 iteration of the network, and inviting new members to join in advance of the Working Groups’ third session (to be held in the fall of 2018).
CM-PRN seeks to build on the existing momentum developed over the last two years of dialogue by building an informal network of practice for continued coordination and refinement of civil-military coordination issues related to pandemics and other potential global biological catastrophic risks.
Within this scope, the CM-PRN network has the following primary objectives:
The CM-PRN will initially be chaired by Adam Levine (Brown University), Kaveh Khoshnood (Yale University), and Josiah Kaplan (Oxford University). It envisioned 3-4 group calls before the fall 2018 Workshop, with the chairs providing support to any bilateral discussion of interest that may emerge.
In consultation with participants, suggested next steps include:
For further information, please contact Dr. Josiah Kaplan at Josiah.Kaplan@gmail.com
 UNOCHA (2006) ‘Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defense Assets to Support UN Humanitarian Activities in Complex Emergencies.’