Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Joseph E. Kelley joined the Military Health System (MHS) in February 2008 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Clinical and Program Policy. In this position, Kelley will be responsible for providing medical information, policy formulation, clinical program oversight and consultation to senior Defense officials, congressional committees and other government agencies. His office provides oversight and guidance for clinical quality, patient safety and medical management programs in the MHS.
Prior to this appointment, Kelley served as joint staff surgeon was Joint Staff Surgeon, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. He served as the chief medical adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, providing advice to the Chairman, the Joint Staff and combatant commanders. He also coordinated all issues related to operational medicine, force health protection and readiness among the combatant commands, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the services. He was the U.S. delegate to the NATO Council of Medical Directors, and he was involved in other international medical relationships. He also served on the congressionally directed Future of Military Health Care Task Force.
General Kelley was born and raised in Chicago, Ill., and graduated second in his class from the U.S. Air Force Academy. While at the academy, he received the Surgeon General's award as the outstanding graduate in life sciences. He attended Rush University Medical School and finished in three years. The general continued his education with a residency in general surgery at David Grant Medical Center, Travis AFB, Calif., in combination with the University of California, Davis. He moved to Nellis AFB, Nev., where he was a general surgeon and later Chief of General Surgery. The general was certified by the American Board of Surgery and attended the Aerospace Medicine Primary Course where he was a distinguished graduate. Prior to departing Nellis AFB, General Kelley was presented the Walter Award for outstanding leadership.
At Misawa Air Base, Japan, the general was Chief of Hospital Services, Chief of Surgery and interim Chief of Aerospace Medicine. In 1986, General Kelley was reassigned as Commander of the 90th Strategic Hospital, Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyo., where the Secretary of Defense presented his unit the Richard B. Cheney Trophy as the best military unit in Wyoming, and he was selected as the Strategic Air Command's Outstanding Medical Leader. As Commander of the 857th Strategic Hospital, Minot AFB, N.D., General Kelley became the only individual to win the Strategic Air Command's Medical Leadership Award for a second time. He commanded the Ehrling Berquist Hospital at Offutt AFB, Neb., served as Chief of Medical Resources in the Office of the Surgeon General, and was Command Surgeon for Pacific Air Forces. As Commander, Wright-Patterson Medical Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and Lead Agent, Department of Defense Health Region 5, the general's unit received Defense Department awards for patient satisfaction and access, and a Commander Installation Excellence Unit Award. Prior to assuming his current position, the general was Assistant Surgeon General for Healthcare Operations, Office of the Surgeon General.
General Kelley is board certified by the American Board of Surgery. He has had academic appointments as clinical professor and assistant dean, and has taught Advanced Trauma Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Emergency Medical Technician Course, and given numerous presentations.