Back to Top Skip to main content

DHA’s new Joint Operations Center serves as essential integration hub

Three military personnel looking at a document Don Dahlheimer, Defense Health Agency’s deputy assistant director for Combatant Command Operational Support (right) briefs Army Brig. Gen. George Appenzeller, DHA’s assistant director for combat support; and Army Sgt. Maj. Esteban Alvardo, senior enlisted advisor to the assistant director for combat support, about the DHA’s new Joint Operation Center’s capabilities. (Photo by Mark Oswell, MHS Communications.)

Recommended Content:

Combat Support

The Defense Health Agency relies on rapid information exchange to provide combat support to U.S. military forces stationed worldwide. With many changes taking place in military health care and the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, integrated communication from the bottom to the top, and vice versa remains essential for service members, civilians, stakeholders and beneficiaries.

The Joint Operations Center (JOC) acts as a conduit for this information. As the information hub of DHA, the JOC collects requests and data from across the Military Health System, including the Joint Staff, combatant commands, and a variety of other military organizations. The JOC then provides that information to the proper authorities in DHA to take action.

“By ensuring that the JOC is getting current and accurate information, we can make sure that the DHA leadership provides our primary stakeholders with the best resources we can offer,” said Neil Doherty, head of the Operations Division at DHA.

DHA recently finished construction of a new facility for the JOC within DHA headquarters. Formerly operating from a series of reserved conference rooms, the JOC is now co-located in one space that improves its capabilities. The facility offers advanced screens to monitor and project information, the ability to host video calls with remote locations through VTC, and a secure space to hold meetings with high-ranking leaders.

Jerry Vignon, manager of DHA’s continuity program, emphasized the importance of the monitoring screens in the JOC’s day-to-day activities. The screens allow the JOC to display different types of information and data feeds, from open source material like news outlets and weather services to health surveillance information - all of which are vital to DHA leadership, he explained. This capability keeps the JOC up-to-date without having to relay information being ferries to and from various offices.

“If something does hit the airwaves, we are aware of it right away,” Vignon said. “It gives us more of a real-time connectivity to information that’s helpful for us as we're responding to events around the world.”

While each of the services and combatant commands has a JOC of their own, DHA’s unique operations center brings all of them online together in one secure location to discuss issues pertinent to military health care. Air Force Col. Jennifer Garrison, deputy chief and deputy assistant director for Combatant Command Operational Support at DHA, shared how the JOC’s Joint Staff calls help connect the services in order provide the best possible healthcare for our warfighters and their families.

“You have Joint Staff, the combatant commands, and all the services on call at the same time,” she explained. “It’s a way for them to ensure that if there’s a concern like a pandemic or any contingency, that we have 24/7 coverage to keep information flowing to make critical decisions collectively with our stakeholders in a timely manner,” she said.

This collaboration has proven to be essential during the DHA’s support of the national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The JOC stood up a crisis action team, or CAT, made up of subject matter experts who work together to share information on wide-impact, unplanned events like the pandemic. The team met regularly to funnel information about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 throughout the Military Health System so that leaders at all levels could make necessary decisions for their commands to fight the pandemic.

“The JOC is the first line of defense when it comes to working with the Joint Staff, combatant commands, and services for support and knowing all the critical information to improve on readiness, safety, quality, and patient expectations across the Military Health System.” Garrison said. “So, if they need something for COVID-19, whether it is flu immunizations, blood, equipment, or supplies, that’s able to be communicated at this level.”

Now that they have the facility to support around the clock operations, Doherty said that the next step is to fully staff the center.

“The goal is to get staffed up to support 24/7 operations so that we are connected to all of the organizations in the Department of Defense across the globe,” Don Dahlheimer, deputy assistant director for Combatant Command Operational Support at DHA. “It’s a great opportunity for the agency to efficiently collaborate with our DoD, component, and interagency stakeholder, and across the DHA in support of our beneficiaries and warfighters.

“We want to ensure the best possible care from the battlefield to our military medical treatment facilities, and this JOC supports collaborative communications,” concluded Dahlheimer.

You also may be interested in...

METC improves surgical tech training with new laparoscopy standard

Article
12/1/2020
Surgical team in operating room

A laparoscopy is a low-risk, non-invasive surgical procedure used to examine organs inside the abdomen and repair or remove tissue.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Research and Innovation | Technology

BAMC recognized by American College of Surgeons for outstanding care

Article
11/27/2020
Medical team, wearing masks, rushing a patient in a hospital bed down the hallway

“BAMC provides more complex care to the nation than any other military treatment facility..."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support

NMRTU Everett staff collaborate to ensure Patient Centered Care

Article
11/16/2020
Image of two military personnel wearing masks

NMRTU Everett was commended by the MHS 2020 Advancement towards High Reliability Healthcare Awards Program as a Patient Centeredness Award winner.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus

Naval Medical Forces Pacific’s commander tours NH Twentynine Palms

Article
11/12/2020
Four military personnel in uniform, wearing masks

Weber was briefed on the implementation of MHS GENESIS...and the hospital's response to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Military medical heroes honored for service above and beyond

Article
11/4/2020
Four military personnel shown during a Zoom call

[T]he service and sacrifice of heroes is “a core strength of our military's resolve and skill."

Recommended Content:

Combat Support

Indiana National Guard amputee stays true to his motto - ‘Never Quit’

Article
11/3/2020
Soldier with leg prosthesis putting on his shoe.

Life and limbs are often casualties.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support

Military nurses hold virtual research & evidence-based practice course

Article
10/30/2020
Two nurses, wearing masks, examining a mannequin

Due to the COVID-19 national emergency, the three-day in-person course was abbreviated to a one-day virtual.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Combat Support | Research and Innovation

Weed ACH hosted breast cancer awareness event

Article
10/28/2020
Woman in pink hat and shirt, wearing a racing number, speaking to an audience

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Women's Health | Health Literacy Month 2020

WRNMMC expands innovation and opens new, permanent drive-thru pharmacy

Article
10/23/2020
Military pharmacist, wearing a mask, looking at bags of prescriptions

The new Prescription Drive-Thru Pick-up will operate similarly as the curbside pharmacy pick-up.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Health Literacy Month 2020

Army Social Worker for the Year: Lt. Col. Etheridge

Article
10/22/2020
Two military personnel, wearing masks, holding a crystal award

The award is presented annually to active duty social workers in the field of 73A (Social Worker).

Recommended Content:

Combat Support

Fort Irwin DENTAC strives to reach readiness perfection

Article
10/21/2020
Image of patient getting a dental exam

To accommodate an entire installation, the dental clinic extended its hours.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS | Combat Support

Navy pharmacy techs support COVID-19 and MHS GENESIS efforts

Article
10/20/2020
Navy personnel in a pharmacy

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Aaron Souders is highlighted for his work as a Navy pharmacy technician.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS | Combat Support

Multinational trauma course aims to standardize battlefield care

Article
10/20/2020
Two soldiers, one laying on the ground and the other giving him medical attention

The international course...was aimed at providing unit-level health care providers life-saving instruction to increase survivability at the point of injury.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

Navy tele-health supports Guam civilian hospital during COVID-19

Article
10/19/2020
Woman sitting in front of several computer monitors

[T]his is the first-ever DoD tasking for telemedicine support in response to a request from civil authorities for aid.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

Military pharmacy teams continue dedicated legacy of service

Article
10/19/2020
Black and white image of soldiers on the battlefield

Seven military pharmacy professionals have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

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

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.