Within the emerging field of humanitarian logistics, the civil–military logistical interface has achieved only minimal attention in academic literature even though most western nations have a civil–military division within their defence departments. Due to fundamental differences between humanitarian and development agencies and international military forces in terms of the principles and doctrines guiding their work, their agendas, operating styles and roles, the area of civil–military logistical coordination in humanitarian relief has proven to be more difficult than other interagency relationships. This paper presents recent research that proposes a model for logistics requirements in humanitarian operations, taking account of where and how civil–military involvement can be most effective and efficient across all phases of humanitarian operations. Interviews were conducted with key personnel in humanitarian and military organisations. The model proposed here, appears to be robust and workable in a range of geopolitical and operational circumstances. We show that the greatest impact of military involvement is most beneficial in the initial crucial life sustaining days immediately after natural disasters. In contrast in manmade complex emergencies, military assistance to the logistical provision of aid is more beneficial when widespread military expertise is provided.