Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

Civilian-Military Humanitarian Coordination

Delivery of Aid

Since 2016, CHRHS and the U.S. Naval War College’s Humanitarian Response Program (HRP) have developed a robust partnership centered on improving the effectiveness of humanitarian operations when civilian and military actors are responding together or operating in the same geographic area. To accomplish this, the partnership focuses on expanding the evidence-base for effective civilian-military coordination in humanitarian response while developing new avenues for information sharing between humanitarian, military, and academic communities. This ongoing partnership has resulted in four workshops, each attended by nearly 100 military and humanitarian leaders, designed to enhance the collective humanitarian response capacity of civilian and military actors by supporting a community of practice, identifying key opportunities for professional education and training, and developing a comprehensive research agenda focused on global humanitarian civil-military coordination. Through this partnership, strong working relationships have been established with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other UN agencies, leading international humanitarian organizations, and the US and international militaries. 

In 2020, with generous support from the Robert D. Harrington, Jr. Charitable Foundation, a new Program in Civil-Military Humanitarian Coordination has been created at CHRHS. This program leverages the existing CHRHS partnership with HRP in order to break new ground within the humanitarian space, expanding upon the existing evidence base for effective coordination during humanitarian emergencies, developing new avenues for information sharing between humanitarian, military, and academic communities, and creating vibrant educational offerings for the multitude of actors who respond to crises.


Through this partnership CHRHS and HRP are committed to conducting cutting-edge research to generate stronger empirical evidence that can better guide military doctrine and humanitarian guidelines on civilian-military coordination in a wide range of disaster and conflict-driven settings, as well develop and encourage more effective strategies to overcome coordination challenges.