Joint Staff Surgeon General Testifies on Future Medical Readiness

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity


WASHINGTON, March 1, 2016 — Military medicine must be better aligned to continue demonstrating its readiness posture to Defense Department senior leaders, the joint staff surgeon general told a House Armed Service Committee panel, Feb. 26.

Army Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Joseph Caravalho Jr. testified before the HASC military personnel panel on ensuring medical readiness in the future. He was joined by deputy surgeons general Air Force Maj. Gen. Dorothy A. Hogg, Navy Rear Adm. Terry J. Moulton and Army Brig. Gen. Robert D. Tenhet.

Caravalho said such an alignment coordinates with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s “vision of future security environments.”

The chairman’s recently published Joint Concept for Health Services describes his vision for what the future force will need for military medicine to support globally integrated operations, Caravalho noted.

“It is my observation that [the] joint force expects military medicine to be more than interoperable and at times more than joint,” he told the panel.

“Whenever and wherever feasible, while remaining cognizant of service responsibilities to best support the joint force, the services’ medical forces must be interchangeably aligned,” Caravalho said.

The services are working on putting into place “core medical specialty requirements” to help create a more interchangeable joint medical force, he added.

“Readiness metrics will then reflect each medical specialty’s ability to function across the full spectrum of military operations,” the general said.

Small Ground Force Medical Needs Increase

Caravalho said he’s seen an increasing number of requests for medical support to smaller and more widely dispersed ground forces, adding that he expects this trend to continue.

The medical community must also adapt to new paradigms of health service support, he said.

“To meet this challenge, we have already begun work toward a formalized and disciplined review to develop new organizations, training, policies and doctrine,” Caravalho said.

Front Lines of Care

“Military medical centers, hospitals and clinics [are] our home stations’ front lines of care,” he emphasized. “They provide ready warfighters and medical forces alike, while delivering quality health care to our valued beneficiaries [and] ... during and following deployments, they offer continued high-quality care for those in need.”

Military medicine has one mission: to support the joint force with globally integrated health services, Caravalho noted.

“We will not lose focus on the world-class health care our service members and families deserve,” he said, “but it will be performed in support of our primary mission of medical readiness.”

From home stations to operational deployments to evacuation to post-deployment settings, Caravalho said, “I feel strongly the military medical team across all the services will remain relevant, adaptive and highly valued members of the joint force.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)