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Elements of the MHS

Button with the text, "Back to About the MHS"The MHS is a federated system of uniformed, civilian and contract personnel and additional civilian partners at all levels of the Department of Defense and beyond – from senior officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense to doctors and other health care providers in nearly every community across the nation.

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health AffairsLeading the MHS, is the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (OASD(HA)). The ASD(HA) is a civilian, Senate-confirmed official who serves as the chief medical adviser to the Secretary of Defense and oversees health policy and budgeting across the system, as well as directing the activities of the Defense Health Agency. The ASD(HA) is supported by the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and three Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense.  

Read more about DoD Health Affairs and the current ASD(HA), Tom McCaffery

Defense Health Agency

Defense Health Agency Director, VADM Bono speaks to teamEstablished in 2014, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) is a combat support agency (like the Defense Intelligence Agency and Defense Logistics Agency, for example) that provides a host of shared health services across the MHS, from operating the TRICARE health benefit to providing pharmacy and medical logistics, performing medical research and development and operating health information technology systems, with a goal of providing integrated and efficient service to the joint force. 

Read more about the DHA and its director, Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, M.D.

Joint Staff Surgeon

The Joint Staff Surgeon is the chief medical adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, providing advice to the Chairman, the Joint Staff, and the Combatant Commanders, coordinating all issues related to Health Services to include operational medicine, force health protection, and readiness among the Combatant Commands, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Services.

Read more about the Joint Staff Surgeon, Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs.

Surgeons General and the Military Services

The Surgeons General and the Military Services The Army, Navy and Air Force each provide medical personnel to the joint force, providing both home-station medical care to military personnel and other beneficiaries and supporting the Combatant Commands with personnel to provide combat casualty care and other operational missions. Each service offers primary care to military personnel and their families as well as specialized medicine tailored to the demands of the individual services. 

Read more about Army Medical Command and Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen.R. Scott Dingle

Read more about the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgeon General RADM Bruce L. Gillingham

Read more about the Air Force Medical Service and Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

USUHS GraduationThe Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) is the nation’s federal health professions academy — akin to the undergraduate programs of the U.S. military academies at West Point, Annapolis and Colorado Springs. And like the academies, students are not charged tuition; they repay the nation for their education through service. 

In many respects, USU’s curricula and educational experiences are similar to those of civilian academic health centers, with one important difference: its emphasis on military health care, leadership, readiness and public health set USU apart.

Military Treatment Facilities

Brooke Army Medical CenterMilitary treatment facilities are the heart of military medicine, where military, civilian and contract personnel provide care for TRICARE beneficiaries and gain the skills and training to support operational units. 

With 55 full-service hospitals and more than 370 clinics, located on military installations around the world, the MHS is one of the nation’s largest health systems – it operates more hospitals than any nonprofit hospital system in the nation, and would rank among the top five for-profit systems. 

Expeditionary Care

Army, Navy and Air Force medical professionals help ensure those in uniform are medically ready to deploy anywhere around the globe on a moment's notice. And these medical professionals are also ready to go with them. There isn’t another military medical force like it in the world—with the expertise, the assets and the global reach of our health system.

Expeditionary Care, Medevac Helicopter Expeditionary Care, Navy Hospital Ship Air Force Medics

Image of the TRICARE logo.Operated by the Defense Health Agency, TRICARE is designed to provide the integrated, high quality care that millions of military families, past and present, deserve. As such, it offers one of the most comprehensive and affordable health benefits available to any American. Integrated health care is offered through military treatment facilities and through networks of civilian providers operated by civilian managed care support contractors in the United States and abroad. With 9.5 million beneficiaries, TRICARE would rank, if it was a civilian health insurer, among the 10 largest health plans in the nation. 

Read more about the TRICARE health plan.


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

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