by Belinda O’Donnell
The U.S. military will never be viewed primarily as a global health actor, yet it is a deeply significant one. Never has this been more apparent then when AFRICOM, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) unit responsible for all operations, exercises, and security cooperation in Africa, was asked to leverage its strength to coordinate the logistics of the U.S. response to the Ebola epidemic. Operation United Assistance was the “largest U.S. military operation [to ever be launched] in support of infectious disease control”. In December 2014, Liberia had 21 Ebola treatment units; 10 of them were built by the U.S. military.