Military’s Public-Private Partnerships Yield Benefits

By Nick Simeone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2014 – The military’s many partnerships with the private sector have yielded benefits in everything from responding to world crises, maintaining an advanced technological industrial base, to helping care for wounded warriors, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

640px-Admiral_James_A__Winnefeld,_JrAdmiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., serves as the ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  In this capacity, he is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Nation’s second highest-ranking military officer. 

“We in the military encourage these partnerships, because they lead to innovation and creative thinking … and they allow both sides of the equation to share both risk and reward,” Navy Adm. James. A. Winnefeld Jr. told the Concordia Summit in New York. The summit brings together political and business leaders to address societal challenges and foster public-private collaboration.

The U.S. military has a long history of maintaining partnerships with business and nonprofit groups, Winnefeld said, relationships that are vital to the military’s ability to take on a range of global security issues and establish effective programs.

“The rewards we in the military find range from new technologies that enhance our ability to defend the nation to better ways to help populations in need, to taking better care of our own people,” Winnefeld said, mentioning in particular the medical and technological breakthroughs that have led to advances in prosthetics and new treatments for traumatic brain injury for wounded warriors.

Thousands of partnerships around the world

The military, he said, is involved in thousands of partnerships around the world, with more than 40,000 private organizations supporting veterans and military families alone. “These partnerships increase our ability to both address the challenges veterans face as they transition out of uniform and enable others to leverage their talents and experience by hiring them,” the vice chairman said.

Collaborating with aid organizations is particularly useful when the unique capabilities of the military are called on to provide emergency assistance when disasters strike in remote corners of the world, the admiral noted.

“We’re often postured to get to an area quickly, but other organizations usually have much greater knowledge of local needs and have greater capacity to provide necessary aid. In these situations, partnerships are absolutely vital,” Winnefeld explained, citing as an example the U.S. military’s role in a whole-of-government U.S. response currently underway in Liberia to help contain the outbreak of Ebola.

“Melding their expertise with our logistics capabilities is a powerful addition to the international response to these types of disasters,” he said.

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