The deadly and gruesome realities of war have long both aided and accelerated medical innovation. World War I, the first mass killing of the 20th century, led to the development of modern ambulances, antiseptics, and anesthesia. The next world war brought about the development of penicillin and blood banks. More recently, the proliferation of improvised explosive devices in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom have led to innovations in treating hemorrhagic shock and traumatic brain injuries.
Looking ahead, the Department of Defense has focused investments in recent years on addressing near peer competition under the rubric of multi-domain operations. Wars against great powers are expected to result in mass casualties across a dispersed battlespace, leading to delayed evacuation times, further strain on resources, and additional pressure on the ability to scale training and deployment of trained combat medics. As such, the department is seeking out technologies to help mitigate these challenges. Since it is not new for military investments in technology to ultimately accrue benefits for civilians, we should not be surprised that recent military research and development into medical technologies for the next generation of warfare could be accelerated and applied in tackling COVID-19 and future pandemics.
Source: War On The Rocks