Lessons for NATO to Be Learned from Putin's War in Ukraine: Global Health Engagement, Interoperability, and Lethality

Publication Type:

Journal Article


John M. Quinn


Connections: The Quarterly Journal, Volume 21, Issue 3, p.103-118 (2022)


defense cooperation, GHE, Global Health Engagement, health security, Lethality, medical readiness, military medicine, NATO, Ukraine


The Russian invasion of Ukraine exacts a heavy death toll of preventable morbidity and mortality of warfighters and vulnerable civilian communities. Global Health Engagement (GHE) with partner forces across the entire continuum of care, from the point of injury/wounding to rehabilitation, promote interoperability, medical readiness, and lethality. Owing to Russia’s recent tactical and combat movements in Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, and elsewhere in Europe, GHE activities offered by NATO and unilaterally by member states must increase. Multi-domain attacks by Russia, China, and other malicious actors exacerbate global health security risks and war-related injuries and illnesses. NATO-led GHE activities for warfighting in Ukraine can support foreign policy interests with targeted application and, in return, yield maximum benefits to NATO and member states. Medical readiness, interoperability, and lethality can be achieved through a coordinated effort across all medical actors to standardize the medical evacuation chain, conduct transparent deployment of mobile medical units, and increase access to damage control resuscitation and surgery through echelons of care. Sharing lessons learned helps Ukraine, as well as NATO and its member states. These main themes of effort will reduce preventable morbidity and mortality in support of warfighting and state sovereignty.