Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Strategy at the crossroads: The case of the navy hospital ships

Webb, Natalie J and Richter, Anke (2009): Strategy at the crossroads: The case of the navy hospital ships.

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We examine the state of knowledge in the defense literature on the use of military medical humanitarian assistance missions and examine their implications for navy hospital ships. As humanitarian assistance missions grow in importance for combatant commanders, deployed forces, senior government leaders and the international community, it becomes more important to determine desired outcomes and to set clear priorities for hospital ship use. Only when this is done can activities that promote achievement of policy goals be selected. While traditional hospital ship missions focus on combat support and training, successful humanitarian assistance campaigns typically address improving security and stability in a region, attitudes towards Americans and the West, and health and welfare conditions of local populations. We argue that well-crafted and communicated goals and priorities for the use of hospital ships are essential if the ships are to achieve desired policy outcomes.

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