Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT October-December 2017 Contents where the highly infectious viral disease is still transmitted. He
makes this accomplishment seem simple. “It’s a matter of how
you’re organized and how you operate, right? And how you’re
capacitated to execute your strategy.”
The 55-year-old Aylward, a native of Newfoundland, Canada,
joined WHO in 1992, a year after earning a Master of Public
Health degree from what is now the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg
School of Public Health. He earned his medical degree from
Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1985 and completed
a residency in internal medicine in Vancouver, British Colum-
bia. He also received training at the London School of Hygiene
and Tropical Medicine. In the course of his career, Aylward has
authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and
book chapters and is a 2017 inductee into the Johns Hopkins
Society of Scholars.
In many respects, Aylward’s approach to readiness mirrors
that of DOD, which is why Army AL&T reached out to him
at WHO’s Geneva headquarters for this July 21 interview.
When we spoke with him by phone, he’d just completed an
eight-month stint in the U.N. Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to lead a newly established
Change Management Unit there.
Army AL&T: The U.S. Army’s operating statement, “Win in a
Complex World,” looks at improving readiness through three
particular paradigms—streamlined personnel, logistics and
maintenance systems. How similar is this construct to what you
look at when you’re looking to improve readiness?
Aylward: I think it’s actually fairly similar. With readiness, we
think in terms of what our goal is to ensure that, in a com-
plex world, exactly as the military might say, you have the plans,
processes, people and capacities in place to be able to respond
rapidly to the unexpected hazards you face and emergencies that
they give rise to. So we might use slightly different language,
but it’s all about having a plan in place with the right person-
nel, logistics and maintenance systems, as you would say in the
Army, to execute that plan.
Army AL&T: How do you plan for the unexpected? If you don’t
really know what’s going to happen but can only conceptualize
it, how do you actually build readiness in concrete terms?
Aylward: The first thing that we have to do is break down the
unknown, because we actually know a lot more than we often
realize. The first thing we tend to do is look at, OK, what are
the possible hazards and groups of hazards we might face? Are
they natural hazards or man-made, and then, within natural,
are they biologic [hazards]? You then have to understand that
the consequences of those hazards can be X, Y and Z.
From there you want to know, what are the vulnerabilities of
different populations in different parts of the world? What are
the capacities to address those? Very quickly you can build up
a pretty good risk profile on which you can base your readiness
work. Although the “where” and “when” something is going to
happen are pretty unpredictable, especially with new infectious
diseases, there are patterns over time that can help.
So we’ve got to be very careful about just saying, “Oh, it’s
unknown.” We can build up pretty good risk profiles, though
even then we can’t just put them on the shelf. In any given cor-
ner of the world, the geopolitics may have really changed, and
now the whole risk for civil disturbance or conflict has changed,
so you’ve got to update those risk profiles as well. While these
risk profiles are helpful in terms of the “where” something may
CONFRONTING THE UNKNOWN
Aylward delivers his plan for an international response to the West
Africa Ebola outbreak at a September 2014 press conference at
the World Health Organization at Geneva. Aylward drew on his
understanding of epidemiology, disease eradication and humanitarian
emergency operations to establish the strategy and lead its execution.
(U.N . photo by Jean-Marc Ferré)
98 Army AL&T Magazine
IDENTIFY. QUANTIFY. ELIMINATE.
Links Archive Army ALT July-September 2017 Army ALT January-March 2018 Navigation Previous Page Next Page