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Health Readiness & Combat Support

The Defense Health Agency is the nation’s medical Combat Support Agency, providing or augmenting medical capabilities of the Combatant Commands, the military services, federal partners and partners and allies around the world. As one of the Defense Department’s combat support agencies, DHA works to provide combat forces with capabilities they do not possess, or possess in insufficient quantity. In cooperation with the Joint Staff Surgeon and Military Department medical organizations, DHA leads the Department of Defense integrated system of readiness and health through a global health care network of military and civilian medical professionals, including more than 400 military hospitals and clinics around the world, to improve and sustain operational medical force readiness and the medical readiness of the Armed Forces.

Enhancing Military Readiness through Combat Support Capabilities

The DHA provides support for operating forces engaged in planning for, or conducting, military operations, including support during conflict or in the conduct of other military activities related to countering threats to U.S. national security. Among DHA’s most important combat support responsibilities is its work to increase readiness of U.S. forces to carry out their deployed missions.

  • The DHA supports the medical readiness of military personnel – ensuring they are healthy and safe from potential health threats through activities such as its global network of hospitals and clinics and civilian health providers, medical surveillance to detect potential health threats.
  • The DHA also supports a ready medical force – the physicians, nurses and other health professionals – who support operational forces in the field, through training and education and providing the clinical settings in which they build their skills for deployment.

The DHA fulfills its combat support responsibilities through capabilities including several components that provide crucial expertise and support to the Combatant Commands. Liaison officers within Combatant Commands enable direct contact with DHA, help the DHA better understand Combatant Command needs, and give the Combatant Commands better understanding of DHA capabilities.

The DHA is a critical enabler, working with the Military Departments to advance the health and readiness of U.S. forces and to manage the medical readiness platforms that keep the medical force ready to support operations worldwide. Working in close coordination with the Joint Staff Surgeon, the DHA provides medical-related combat support capabilities that apply across all phases of military operations, including:

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MSMR Vol. 19 No. 7 - July 2012

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Health of women after wartime deployments: correlates of risk for selected medical conditions among females after initial and repeat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, active component, U.S. Armed Forces; Acute pelvic inflammatory disease, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002-2011; Ectopic pregnancy, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002-2011; Historical snapshot: Dr. Mary E. Walker, Civil War surgeon, Medal of Honor recipient; Surveillance snapshot: traumatic amputations among female service members, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2011; Iron deficiency anemia, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002-2011.

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MSMR Vol. 19 No. 4 - April 2012

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: "Military importance": what does it mean and can it be assessed objectively?; Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, U.S. Armed Forces, 2011; Hospitalizations among members of the active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2011; Surveillance Snapshot: illness and injury burdens among U.S. military recruit trainees, 2011; "Sentinel reportable medical events, service members and other beneficiaries of the U.S. military health system, first calendar quarter, 2012 versus 2011"; Ambulatory visits among members of the active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2011.

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MSMR Vol. 19 No. 6 - June 2012

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Surveillance Snapshot: deployment-related injuries to external genital organs, by month and service, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, January 2003-April 2012; Incident diagnoses of cancers and cancer-related deaths, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2011; Deaths by suicide while on active duty, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2011; Mental disorders and mental health problems, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2011; Amputations of upper and lower extremities, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2011.

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MSMR Vol. 19 No. 12 - December 2012

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Pulmonary and extrapulmonary coccidioidomycosis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1999-2011; Seasonal variation in incident diagnoses of appendicitis among beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2002-2011; Historical perspective: coccidioidomycosis in the U.S. military and military-associated populations; Appendicitis and appendectomies among non-service member beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2002-2011; Appendicitis and appendectomies, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002-2011.

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MSMR Vol. 19 No. 9 - September 2012

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Injuries due to firearms and air guns among U.S. military members not participating in overseas combat operations, 2002-2011; Health care encounters for injuries associated with a gun mechanism or component, U.S. Armed Forces; Images in health surveillance: West Nile virus vectors and prevention; Update: Pneumonia-influenza and severe acute respiratory illnesses, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, July 2000-June 2012; Pneumonia and influenza among military members and other beneficiaries of the U.S. military health system, 2007-2012; Lightning-related medical encounters, U.S. Armed Forces, January 2009- August 2012; Coccidioidomycosis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, January 2000-June 2012.

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Indications and Conditions for In-Theater Post-Injury Neurocognitive Assessment Tool (NCAT) Testing

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In accordance with Section 1673 of the NDAA HR 4986, signed into law in January of 2008, the Secretary of Defense was instructed to establish a protocol for the pre-deployment assessment and documentation of the cognitive functioning of Service Members deployed outside the United States.

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MSMR Vol. 18 No. 12 - December 2011

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Brief report: Births, active component, 2001-2010; Brief report: Numbers and characteristics of women in the active component, U.S. Armed Forces; Complications and care related to pregnancy, labor and delivery, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001-2010; Urinary stones, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001-2010; Uterine fibroids, active component females, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001-2010; Historical snapshot: Dr. Anna Baetjer, industrial hygiene pioneer, military occupational health advocate.

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MSMR Vol. 18 No. 7 - July 2011

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MSMR Vol. 18 No. 1 - January 2011

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010; Diagnoses of overweight/obesity, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2010; Multiple sclerosis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2009; Notices to Readers.

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MSMR Vol. 18 No. 3 - March 2011

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Motorcycle and other motor vehicle accident-related deaths, U.S. Armed Forces, 1999-2010; Update: Heat injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010; Update: Exertional rhabdomyolysis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010; Update: Exertional hyponatremia, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1999-2010.

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MSMR Vol. 18 No. 2 - February 2011

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Causes of medical evacuations from Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF), New Dawn (OND) and Enduring Freedom (OEF), active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, October 2001-September 2010; Cruciate ligament injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2009; Surveillance snapshot: Acute myocardial infarction, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2009.

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MSMR Vol. 18 No. 6 - June 2011

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Duration of service after overweight-related diagnoses, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2010; Noise-induced hearing injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007-2010; Acute gastroenteritis outbreak at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, Washington, DC; Surveillance Snapshot: Gastroenteritis-related hospitalizations, 2001-2010.

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MSMR Vol. 18 No. 5 - May 2011

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Eye injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2010; Stress fractures, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2004-2010; Trends in emergency medical and urgent care visits, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2010; Surveillance Snapshot: Emergency departments visits for traumatic brain injury.

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MSMR Vol. 18 No. 8 - August 2011

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Updates: Routine screening for antibodies to HIV-1, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components; Surveillance Snapshot: Service members with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV-1, active component, U.S. Armed Forces; Viral hepatitis A, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2010; Viral hepatitis B, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2010; Viral hepatitis C, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2010.

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MSMR Vol. 18 No. 9 - September 2011

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Last Updated: July 28, 2022

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

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