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    Air Force Surgeon General briefs Senate on future of Air Force medicine

    Lt. Gen. Robert I. Miller

    Photo By Andy Morataya | Lt. Gen. Robert I. Miller read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Air Force Medical Service   

    Lt. Gen. Robert Miller, U.S. Air Force Surgeon General, testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense at a hearing on the Defense Health Program on March 29.

    For the first time since assuming his role, Miller spoke in front of subcommittee members on the current state of the Air Force Medical Service, the future of Air Force medicine, and his key priorities to remain ready for the next fight.

    “My priorities are to first, generate high-performing Airmen and Guardians by prioritizing training, maximizing medical availability, and optimizing human performance,” said Miller. “Second, enhance joint combatant commander capabilities by increasing the agility of patient movement, improving the medical supply chain, and increasing global health engagements. And third, maximize human capital and strategic resources by breaking down barriers and inequity, incorporating policies focused on diversity and inclusion, and equipping Airmen to evolve for tomorrow’s fight.”

    Miller stressed the need to modernize key AFMS capabilities and platforms to keep up with an evolving, dynamic contested environment.

    “Toward these goals, the AFMS is re-imagining the design and future of our readiness capabilities such as aeromedical evacuation and critical care air transport teams,” said Miller. “We must build on past successes, but be willing to break the cultural norms that say, ‘things have always been done this way.’”

    Miller discussed how he is prioritizing training, specifically, the importance of partnerships with the Defense Health Agency and other non-Department of Defense entities.

    “More than 80% of uniformed AFMS medics work and train in military treatment facilities, which serve as one of our key readiness training platforms,” said Miller. “It is critical we maintain a strong partnership with DHA to ensure the Military Health System continues to sustain this vital source for clinical training and currency.”

    Miller emphasized the importance of preparing tonight for tomorrow’ battlespace.

    “Future conflicts may see medics needing to hold and treat patients in deployed settings for longer periods than in the past,” said Miller. “We are actively evaluating how our teams can remain agile and leverage technology to provide Trusted Care…anytime, anywhere.”

    Members of the subcommittee asked a range of questions on topics, including mental health and suicide prevention, as well as research and innovation. The AFMS has been improving access to mental health care through a Mental Health Targeted Care concept where Airmen and Guardians are matched with the appropriate level and type of care for their specific needs.

    The subcommittee’s ranking member, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, asked how the services plan to adapt and modernize their respective programs.

    “Air Force medicine is equally concerned about the requirements and how to best support the warfighters from the various combatant commands,” said Miller. “In particular, aeromedical evacuation and en route care is an area that we will continue to emphasize. Our CCATT, or critical care air transport teams, …will continue to evolve. In addition, the experience of COVID in these last few years have made us want to relook at our readiness structure and so we are taking a [detailed look at our CCAT] team composition.”

    The subcommittee’s chair, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, closed the hearing recognizing the efforts each of the services’ medical departments are doing to support the nation.

    “Thank you… for all your work,” said Tester. “Know that the work that you guys do, dealing with active duty military, transition, mental health, and all the other things you have talked about in your opening statements…is not only important for our military, but it is important for our country overall.”

    The full hearing can be viewed here. []



    Date Taken: 03.29.2022
    Date Posted: 03.29.2022 13:46
    Story ID: 417397
    Location: FALLS CHURCH, VA, US

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