A Joint Force Medical Command is Required to Fix Combat Casualty Care
U.S. Army War College Carlisle Barracks United States
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The Military Health System MHS is required to provide medical operational forces for military and contingency operations while also providing services that maintain a healthy military force while also caring for a beneficiary population of over 9 million military personnel, dependents, and retirees. The relationship of these competing missions is to some degree adversarial. The most obvious example of the competition between the beneficiary and operational missions is the U.S. Armys Professional Filler System that assigns medical personnel required by operational units to hospitals and clinics while secondarily assigning them to deployable units. This system curtails effective mission command in operational units and severely degrades the MHS ability to provide timely support of joint forcible entry or other contingencies requiring rapid response. Further, the complexity and cost of the beneficiary mission results in prioritization of beneficiary care over the operational medical mission. Finally, the worsening of surgical outcomes in Afghanistan and Iraq, as compared to the Vietnam War, may be related to the lack of a command entity responsible and accountable for battlefield medical outcomes and indicates a Joint Forces Medical Command is required. Medical readiness, specifically the training of those personnel who deliver trauma and surgical capabilities, requires a command hierarchy responsible and accountable for battlefield healthcare with authority to ensure medical forces are prepared to support combat operations.
- Medicine and Medical Research