The new pirate threat: germs – Logistics for global health and aid - A Humourless Lot

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The new pirate threat: germs

by Michael Keizer on March 5, 2009

If you are interested in logistics, health, and aid, the United States Naval Institute (USNI) blog is a wonder. Really.

The more-or-less recent attention in military circles for soft power means that the USNI is also more and more interested in how the Navy can be involved in aid, in order to win hearts and minds (force multipliers[1], anyone?). Of course, the US Navy is also one of the biggest logistics operations in the world (hey, logistics originally is a military science). So of course the USNI can be a source of fascinating stuff about the two.

One of those little gems was published a couple of weeks back. As the Navy is actively involved in catching those elusive Somalian pirates, some people are getting worried what an outbreak of e.g. MDR-TB, brought across by captured pirates, could do on a closely-packed military vessel. The stuff of nightmares, apparently, and they even quote MSF to support that. Luckily a commenter makes clear that TB is not that easy to transmit, but still…

My first posting ever on this blog was about the threat to aid (and hence to population health) posed by Somalian pirates. Apparently that threat goes further than that, and Navy sailors can be threatened by more than bullets.

(Picture: Arrrgh! | Pirates by Joriel “Joz” Jimenez. Some rights reserved.)


[1] I find it curious that nobody noticed that Powell used the term ‘force multipliers’ routinely — he even had a personal rule: “[p]erpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” So his description of aid organisations as force multipliers might actually have been a lot less meaningful than it has been described. Still not a smart thing to say, though.

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  • usni March 6, 2010

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