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Forging Ahead: The Inclusion of Global Health in the Training and Development of Environmental Science and Engineering Officers


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Global health is a national security imperative. Preparedness for future challenges requires foresight in the training and development of leaders, who must be ready to meet the ambiguity and complexity of the modern global environment. A 2020 study found that 68% of Environmental Science and Engineering Officers (ESEOs) conducted global health activities between 2008-2020, with 54% of ESEOs applying competencies specific to water, sanitation, and hygiene during their engagements with host or partner nations. These activities have been informal additions to their force health protection roles and responsibilities. The cross-sectional, mixed-methods study provides quantitative and qualitative evidence to support the formal inclusion of global health in the training and development of junior ESEOs. Interviews from 17 ESEOs (O-5) specified actions that should be taken to facilitate the inclusion of global health-related competencies, attributes, skills, and topics into junior ESEO training and development efforts. Perhaps there is no more resounding call to action than the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, which demonstrates that such threats and their burdens are interconnected across all domains in the system of health.



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