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DHA Director's Priorities

Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono

DHA Team,    

I recognize that when I stepped into the DHA Director’s Chair, understandable curiosity emerged. 

  • What’s going to change?  
  • What are her priorities?  
  • What is her management style?   

I want to articulate to you my thoughts and priorities, and provide you with a sense of my focus and how I plan to operate.

Download the Defense Health Agency Strategy Map 2.0

Our Mission

Strategies, goals and objectives may change. Our readiness mission never changes. We exist to support the warfighter – and we accomplish that through a system that ensures our men and women in uniform are medically ready. We sustain their health through a ready medical team of physicians, nurses, other health professionals and an enlisted medical force that is better trained and prepared than any in the world.  The DHA is here to enable and better support the Services in this shared mission.    

Part of the DHA mission is the administration of an exceptional TRICARE benefit, and the added security that is offered through a worldwide civilian healthcare network of providers.  Whether care is delivered in military medical facilities or the civilian network, the DHA is responsible for ensuring care is easily accessible, high quality and safe. I will continue to ensure this receives close attention.    

The DHA, as an integral part of the MHS, is an institution of national importance. We serve 9.4 million beneficiaries, but our work influences global health and the American health system.    

We are a public institution and accountable to a very broad set of stakeholders – our leaders, our combatant commanders, our beneficiaries, the Congress, and the American people. Public institutions require public trust, demand integrity, and must be transparent to all who we serve.    

My Goals   

1. Enhance our relationship with the Services 

This work is, above all, on me.  I will expand outreach with the Surgeons General across the board. My “ask” for you – sustain and deepen the relationships you have created with your counterparts at the Service level.     

2. Evolve and mature our understanding of what it means to be a Combat Support Agency

I know we are still getting our arms around the process for being designated as a Combat Support Agency (CSA). The CSA designation is important. In addition to the Services, our Combatant Commanders also have high expectations of us. I will communicate more about this process in the months ahead.    

3. Optimize DHA operations 

We have a large team, and we are spread across the globe. Yet, I also know that communications between staff who work 200 feet away from each other can be as challenging as people 2,000 miles away. I am going to invest in greater internal communications efforts. I will hold more, and more interactive, town halls. I will push more short communications from my office every day, and every week. I will ensure information is accessible internally on our website. My objective of more frequent communication is not simply to increase everyone’s awareness of what the rest of the Agency is doing – but to help you synchronize your strategies and tactics with others.

My Management Approach

I witness first-hand the impressive and deep talent of our DHA team. I believe in the servant-leader model of leadership, and my job is to help you excel.

We all have responsibilities to think at multiple levels: Strategic, Operational, and Tactical. Everyone needs to think through his or her proposed policy or process changes from the perspective of success as enterprise-wide policy down to patient-level execution.

Each of you has specific goals and objectives for your directorate, division or branch. I need a straightforward accounting of your progress in meeting the goals of your area of responsibility.  If you are behind your targets - tell me. If there is something stuck at my level, or the Services, or above – let me know.  It is fine to bring me problems, but bring me your proposed solutions too.

We need to learn from those processes that are not working and change them. Our worst error is to repeat the same process over and over again, and expect a different outcome. If something is not working, let’s fix it. I promise you the flexibility and top cover to operate – as long as we are communicating clearly.

Collaboration is vital in our decision-making process. And we need to move our system to get to “yes” and not endlessly study and admire our problems.  But consensus does not mean we simply accept the lowest common denominator of solutions. If certain compromises are unacceptable to the integrity of our programs or services – I need to know that as well.

We have an inspiring and noble mission, a great team, and a joint perspective that make it a joy to come to work every day. I am proud and excited to be working with you, and for you, in the coming years.


VADM Rocky Bono

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

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