Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Deputy defense secretary stresses team approach in battling COVID

Image of Soldier wearing mask, standing at computer monitors in an office building. Army Maj. Nicholas Gauvin works inside Operation Warp Speed headquarters in Washington, D.C., last month. (Photo by EJ Hersom, DOD.)

Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist emphasized a years-long reform of the Military Health System while praising the short-term effort of private industry, other government agencies, and the MHS working together toward a COVID-19 vaccine goal in his speech this week at the virtual 2020 annual meeting of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals.

In his address, “The National Defense Strategy in 2020,” Norquist said while the general news of the COVID-19 vaccines in development and testing have been in the news for the past month or so, what we’re really seeing has been ongoing for 2020 — and even well before.

Norquist said that careful planning, correct execution, and making sure the vaccines are safe, effective, and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards are crucial, whether in another pandemic or a different crisis.

Early on, leaders need to say, “what do we need to be as the end solution, not just the response to today, and how do I put in place a team to do that?” Norquist said.

Focusing solely on that long-term solution is what MHS has done with the Department of Health and Human Services and Operation Warp Speed, he emphasized.

Image of Deputy Secretary Norquist Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist praised the operation during his speech to the 2020 Annual Meeting of AMSUS. (Photo by EJ Hersom, DOD.)

The Military Health System has played an important role implementing the National Defense Strategy, Norquist said. By undertaking critical reforms, the MHS is working on fulfilling the strategy’s first line of effort: to build a more lethal and ready force.

The MHS is one of the largest DOD programs, with a budget of more than $50 billion each year, and “warrants extra attention,” Norquist said.

In 2017, Congress directed the largest health care system reform in over a generation, recognizing the need to reform the military medical force and military medical treatment facilities.

“We need personnel with the right specialties to treat patients on and off the battlefield,” Norquist said. “Congress recognized that we were short on critical wartime specialties. Many of our military medical personnel provide services that are similar to the private sector. But we have fewer prepared to meet warfighter needs. As a result, Congress mandated DOD to rethink how we organize, train, and equip our medical force.

“Our goal is to achieve and sustain an appropriate specialty mix,” Norquist added. “While beneficiary care will always be important, Congress recognized the DOD needs to lead in the area it knows best. This change will save lives. The second major change concerns our [military medical treatment facilities]. This reform is related to the first, and it addresses efficiency in one of the largest cost drivers of the Military Health System. Congress directed us to transfer control of [military medical treatment facilities] from the services to the Defense Health Agency.”

Consolidating beneficiary care to the Defense Health Agency and focusing the service surgeons general on readiness removes risk, Norquist said, and leads to greater efficiencies and lower costs.

“Of course, I’d be remiss if I did not mention our progress on Operation Warp Speed, a joint effort with HHS to deliver safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics in record time,” he added.

“Operation Warp Speed will enable immediate large-scale delivery of millions of doses, something only possible because production is already ongoing,” Norquist said, underscoring military readiness well before the vaccines were fully developed.

You also may be interested in...

Photo
Jan 31, 2023

FLOTEX-22

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Dante Horner, a corpsman with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, performs tactical combat casualty care during Spanish FLOTEX-22 near Rota, Spain, June 9, 2022. This exercise features tactical level actions ashore, combined with joint training and planning, aimed at increasing overall bilateral interoperability between nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Megan Ozaki)

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Dante Horner, a corpsman with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, performs tactical combat casualty care during Spanish FLOTEX-22 near Rota, Spain, June 9, 2022. This exercise features tactical level actions ashore, combined with joint training and planning, aimed at increasing overall bilateral ...

Photo
Dec 20, 2021

SSO Market Standup

The Defense Health Agency officially established the Small Market and Stand Alone Military Treatment Facility Organization, or SSO, during a ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Kelly Field in Texas on Dec. 14.

The Defense Health Agency officially established the Small Market and Stand Alone Military Treatment Facility Organization, or SSO, during a ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Kelly Field in Texas on Dec. 14.

Photo
Jul 2, 2020

Guam Plasma Collection

Technician takes notes next to convalescent plasma samples.

U.S. Naval Hospital Guam Hospitalman Apprentice Rebekah Morrison records the weight of convalescent plasma units collected from Sailors who recovered from COVID-19. (U.S. Navy Photo by Jaciyn Matanane/Released)

Photo
Sep 28, 2016

Battlefield Medicine Course

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Triana, left, 347th Operations Support Squadron independent duty medical technician-paramedic, addresses injuries on a simulated patient during a tactical combat casualty care course, in Okeechobee, Florida. The course tests and reinforces participants’ lifesaving medical skills while they are in high-stress, combat scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Callaghan)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Triana, left, 347th Operations Support Squadron independent duty medical technician-paramedic, addresses injuries on a simulated patient during a tactical combat casualty care course, in Okeechobee, Florida. The course tests and reinforces participants’ lifesaving medical skills while they are in high-stress, ...

Photo
Sep 26, 2016

Orient Shield

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force medics carry a casualty from an ambulance to a JGSDF helicopter while a U.S. Army medic calls directions during a bilateral medical training exercise.

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force medics carry a casualty from an ambulance to a JGSDF helicopter while a U.S. Army medic calls directions during a bilateral medical training exercise.

Photo
Sep 23, 2016

MEDEVAC Helicopter

It is important for Soldiers to know what to expect when a MEDEVAC helicopter arrives and how to approach the helicopters, load patients aboard and how to interact with their crew chief and flight medic in order to do ground handoffs. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Chlosta)

It is important for Soldiers to know what to expect when a MEDEVAC helicopter arrives and how to approach the helicopters, load patients aboard and how to interact with their crew chief and flight medic in order to do ground handoffs. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Chlosta)

Photo
Sep 20, 2016

Big Rescue Kanagawa 2016

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Reginaldo Cagampan, left, and Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Rocky Pambid, members of the U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Emergency Response Team, treat a simulated patient during the 2016 Big Rescue Kanagawa Disaster Prevention Joint Drill in Yokosuka city, Japan. Multiple agencies took part in the drill including the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force, as well as personnel from the Japan Self-Defense Force and Japanese government agencies. (U.S. Navy photo by Greg Mitchell)

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Reginaldo Cagampan, left, and Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Rocky Pambid, members of the U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Emergency Response Team, treat a simulated patient during the 2016 Big Rescue Kanagawa Disaster Prevention Joint Drill in Yokosuka city, Japan. Multiple agencies took part in the drill including the U.S. Navy, Army ...

Photo
Sep 20, 2016

Ukrainian soldiers on field litter ambulances

A Ukrainian Soldier uses hand signals during a ground guide exercise of field litter ambulance familiarization on the driving range at Yavoriv Training Area, Ukraine. A team of medics and a mechanic from 557th Medical Company and 212th Combat Support Hospital are working together to conduct field littler ambulance and medical equipment  familiarization with the Ukrainian military. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Jeku)

A Ukrainian Soldier uses hand signals during a ground guide exercise of field litter ambulance familiarization on the driving range at Yavoriv Training Area, Ukraine. A team of medics and a mechanic from 557th Medical Company and 212th Combat Support Hospital are working together to conduct field littler ambulance and medical equipment ...

Last Updated: January 19, 2024
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery