Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Top Military Health Leaders Discuss Future Readiness

Image of An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, prepares to transport U.S. Army medical personnel to Guam in support of the global COVID-19 response on April 13, 2020. An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, prepares to transport U.S. Army medical personnel to Guam in support of the global COVID-19 response on April 13, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erin Baxter)

Top military health leaders highlighted the importance of preparing for the future to ensure both a medically ready force and a ready medical force.

Representatives of the surgeons general for the Army, Navy and Air Force along with the Joint Staff surgeon and the director of the Defense Health Agency discussed their vision for sustaining and improving readiness in the face of continual change.

These five military health leaders spoke at a virtual event hosted by AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Officials, on Feb. 23.

"Being ready today is not good enough if it comes at the expense of being ready for future conflicts," said Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff surgeon.

"As clinicians, we know that the practice of medicine is changing rapidly," Friedrichs continued. "And we have to stay on top of that. But the character of war is changing as well."

A new national security strategy is likely to be published soon and that may impact the discussions and plans about what the military needs to be prepared for, Friedrichs added.

Air Force Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Robert Miller, surgeon general of the Air Force, said his primary focus is the Air Force medical community's vision to remain the world's elite medical service in the air and in space.

"We need to continue to recruit and train medical airmen who can deliver reliable and safe care anytime, anywhere, no matter the environment that they find themselves in," said Miller, whose office oversees health care for both airmen and the Space Force guardians.

"Secondly, we must continue to equip our medics with the latest skills and tools to do their job safely in uncertain conditions. And, finally, we need to optimize the human performance of our airmen and guardians, developing more capable medics through dynamic training educational opportunities, and finding new ways to rapidly modernize."

Navy Rear Adm. (Dr.) Bruce Gillingham, Navy surgeon general and chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, agreed. He noted the importance of setting priorities.

For Navy medicine, the four priorities are people, platforms, performance, and power, he said.

"Our goal is to have highly qualified, highly trained medical experts who can go downrange and do their job," he explained. "That requires identifying what those requirements are and making sure that we're meeting them."

A future conflict could be very different than recent war operations from the post-9/11 era, he said.

"For the Navy, in the maritime environment, that means being able to operate in a very distributed environment, working against the tyranny of time and distance in that theater. So that means developing new capabilities."

In defining Army readiness, Army Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Telita Crosland, Army deputy surgeon general, said she sees the challenge through two lenses.

"One is keeping soldiers ready and getting them out to the fight. And the second is how our surgeon general looks at his priorities to make sure that the medical force is ready," she said.

The mission is to balance and address both challenges at the same time, she said.

"There's not one approach to that. There's not one solution," she said. "So, we look at our military hospitals and clinics that generate those opportunities, not just by keeping soldiers and their families ready, but also to keep our medical force in an environment where they can train and maintain their clinical competencies."

Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ron Place, the DHA director, highlighted the DHA's role as a combat support agency. The DHA supports the combatant commands and the individual military departments in their core mission of training, manning, and equipping the force."

"As a combat support agency, it's all about support," Place said. "The medical force requirements come from the services."

The DHA can support readiness efforts in many ways, especially in the training programs.

"Much of the obtaining and sustaining of what that readiness looks like happens at the Medical Education and Training Campus," Place added. "It happens inside the military hospitals and clinics, but the services set the requirements."

Place pointed to numerous Military Health System organizations under the DHA that play an important role in supporting readiness, including the Armed Services Blood Program, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division, and the Joint Trauma System.

Place noted that coordination between the DHA and the military departments occurs at "all echelons." Preparing the Military Health System for the future will take "integration along the entire spectrum" to ensure the Defense Department is utilizing the full breadth of the different experiences and expertise across the force, he said.

You also may be interested in...

Article Around MHS
May 8, 2024

A First: Navy Medicine Tests Treatment Protocols in the Artic

military personnel at Operation Ice Camp 2024

Operating in extreme artic temperatures can be extremely challenging. Performing tactical combat casualty care treatment even more difficult as casualties, donned with large amounts of clothing layers, can make wound assessment and applying medical care problematic. Operation Ice Camp 2024 is an operation that allows the U.S. Navy to assess its ...

Article Around MHS
Feb 23, 2024

Medical Soldiers Compete in the Medical Readiness Command Europe 2024 Best Leader Competition

The 2nd Place of the 2024 Medical Readiness Command, Europe Best Leader Competition, held Feb 6-9 at Baumholder Training Area, Germany, are pictured with U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Roger Giraud, commander of Medical Readiness Command, Europe. The grueling four-day competition was rigorous, relevant, and realistic. Activities included a physical fitness assessment, M4 and M17 weapons zero and qualification, and a 12-mile foot march. (Photo by Kirk Frady)

More than 30 medical soldiers from across Europe competed in the 2024 Medical Readiness Command, Europe Best Leader competition, Feb. 6-9, at Baumholder Training Area in Germany. Teams from each of Medical Readiness Command, Europe’s four direct reporting units competed for a chance to represent the command at the 2024 U.S. Army Medical Command Best ...

Article Around MHS
Feb 20, 2024

Forward Deployable Preventative Medical Unit Enhances Combat Effectiveness with Comprehensive Weapons and Threat Recognition Training

Forward Deployable Preventative Medical Unit Six member trains in weapons proficiency during a specialized course designed to enhance readiness for diverse deployments on Feb. 8, 2024. The training was tailored for the unit’s unique mission to ensure service members are prepared for their upcoming deployments. (U.S. Navy photo by Desmond Martin)

The Forward Deployable Preventative Medical Unit participated in a first-ever weapons and threat recognition training course, specifically designed and tailored for the unit’s unique mission. FDPMU’s are rapidly deployable and mobile units that support force health protection around the globe.

Article Around MHS
Jan 16, 2024

Yokota Sustains 24/7 Air Medical Transport

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeovany Vasquez, 374th Operational Support Squadron, UH-1N Huey instructor flight engineer surveys a landing zone during a patient transport drill. (Photo: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Manuel G. Zamora)

The 459th Airlift Squadron performed a trial run of a new readiness posture for medical transport on Dec. 18, aiming to offer 24/7 airlift support, streamlining the patient transfers from the 374th Medical Group at Yokota Air Base, Japan, to other medical facilities in the region.

Article Around MHS
Jan 12, 2024

What Care at Sea Looks Like

U.S. Navy Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Louis Mountain receives his flu shot from U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Stevie Shavers, from Ravenswood, W.Va., aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, on Oct. 27, 2023. A ship’s medical department is vital to keeping the entire crew healthy and safe during deployments. (Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jahred Johnson)

A ship’s medical department is a complicated, interwoven group of people with different responsibilities dedicated to the health and well-being of the crew. Ranging from the ship’s nurse to the enlisted corpsman, everyone has a purpose and a mission to complete.

Article Around MHS
Sep 15, 2023

Health Affairs Secretary Visits San Diego Facilities Discusses Importance of Readiness Quality Health Care

SAN DIEGO (Sept. 14, 2023) Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, is briefed on Naval Medical Center San Diego's (NMCSD) Bioskills and Simulation Training Center's (BSTC) capabilities by Capt. Cory Gaconnet, BSTC department head. The BSTC offers medical students, nurses, interns, residents and hospital clinical staff the opportunity to train in a virtual patient care environment using simulated patients and sophisticated technology. The center contains overhead cameras that tape the medical team's actions, so leaders can provide feedback after the simulated training. The BSTC plays a key role in maintaining patient safety and ensuring the operational readiness of all hospital staff. The mission of NMCSD is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality health care services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active-duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.  (Photo: Marcelo Calero)

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez, visited the Defense Health Agency’s San Diego Market from Sept. 13-14, touring research and medical facilities and meeting with staff to discuss the unique challenges facing Southern California’s medical treatment facilities.

Article Around MHS
Aug 28, 2023

Army Reserve-led Mountain Medic Soars to New Heights

U.S. Army Reserve critical care flight paramedics from 5-159th General Support Aviation Battalion, 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, Army Reserve Aviation Command, guide U.S, Air Force Reserve medical personnel from the 302nd Airlift Wing in offloading a casualty from a HH-60 MEDEVAC Black Hawk during exercise Mountain Medic at Fort Carson, Colorado, on Aug. 14, 2023. Mountain Medic is an Army Reserve-led joint, multi-component, multi-domain aeromedical evacuation exercise geared at improving and reenforcing medical evacuation operations in a simulated large-scale combat operations environment. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Master Sgt. Joy Dulen)

The third iteration of the fast-paced joint operation known as Mountain Medic 2023 was conducted in August 2023. Against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, the exercise aimed at improving and reinforcing medical evacuation operations and skill sets while pushing its medics, pilots, and aircrews nonstop in austere environments set for large-scale ...

Article Around MHS
Aug 23, 2023

MHSRS 2023 Kicks Off with Powerful Message: Medical Readiness for the Future Fight

Team members from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command's Medical Material Development Activity - Broad Spectrum Snakebite Antidote (BSSA) program, receive the Military Health System Research Symposium 2023 Outstanding Research Accomplishment award in team/program management in Kissimmee, Florida on August 14, 2023.  (Photo: Danae Johnson)

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Lester Martinez-López kicked off the 2023 Military Health System Research Symposium with a keynote speech on the morning of August 14, delivering powerful words to the more than 4,000 people attending the event. Weaving his heartfelt sentiments into an overall call for action, Martinez put the ...

Article Around MHS
Aug 17, 2023

Naval Medical Research & Development Researchers Participate in Undersea Operational Research Panel at MHSRS

Panel presenters for the Undersea Operational Research panel at the 2023 Military Health System Research Symposium

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Medical researchers from the Naval Medical Research & Development (NMR&D) enterprise specializing in undersea health met for a panel during the 2023 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHRSR) on Aug.15.

Article Around MHS
Aug 10, 2023

U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity Logisticians, Reserve Soldiers, Army Logistics Support Capstone Hospital Conversion Effort in Northern California’s High Desert

U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from across the 807th Medical Command inventory newly fielded medical equipment inside a storage warehouse at Sierra Army Depot, California, on July 19, 2023. Members of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, and soldiers with the 807th MCDS began an inventory of medical supplies this week as part of a capstone field hospital conversion mission for eight Army Reserve medical commands belonging to the 801st Combat Support Hospital. (Photo: T. T. Parish/U.S. Army)

The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, partnering with the Army Reserve’s 807th Medical Command, reached a milestone in its yearslong efforts to support U.S. Army Reserve medical commands last week, starting the final hospital conversion at the Sierra Army Depot in California.

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery