Of all the challenges involved in military-humanitarian assistance, measuring success is perhaps the most difficult as well as the most vital. Determining whether or not a given assistance activity achieved a tactical or strategic objective, rather than merely being correlated with its occurrence, can be a very tall order.
Nevertheless, it is essential to have a methodology to link conclusively development outputs with tactical or strategic outcomes. Otherwise it is not possible to determine with much analytical rigor which humanitarian activities that military forces or their civilian counterparts should undertake to support certain security objectives. Furthermore, demonstrating the utility of specific development activities for security interests may prove necessary for continued congressional funding support for those programs as they proliferate in scope and scale.
Despite its importance, there is no publicly available evidence that the Pentagon has a successful methodology for measuring the causal success of its strategic humanitarian activities. It is essential that it create one in partnership with its civilian development counterparts, and that the results be made public in the interest of transparency.
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