The COVID pandemic has been the dominant issue for national governments and international organisations over the past year. Whilst originating as a threat to health, it has had implications across most ministries (health, economics, education, internal affairs, diplomacy, defence etc) and has affected many aspects of international relations including trade, supply chains, development assistance and conflict. Governments have mobilised all sources of national power, including their armed forces, as part of their crisis response. At the beginning of the crisis the comparative analogy between war and pandemics was widely cited. Most countries have used their armed forces to augment the civilian response, including their military medical services. Armed forces may provide a unique resource to governments as source of disciplined personnel under an established leadership system who can be directed to undertake new roles and tasks, in contrast to civilians who may not have the same terms of employment.