Message from Military Health System Leadership

By Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Military Health System Team,

Greetings from our nation’s capital and the combined headquarters of our Military Health System. On behalf of the Service Surgeons’ General and your Health Affairs leadership,  I want to thank you for all the hard work you are doing around the world in providing quality health care to our nation’s 9.7 million service members, their families and our veterans.  Everywhere I travel, I am simply amazed at the talent, the passion and the professionalism of our worldwide health care team.

Beginning this month, I will be sharing with you a monthly joint message from your Military Health System leadership team.  The purpose of this message is keep you informed of the issues we are confronting together – and how we plan to organize and lead the Military Health System in the future.

The hallmark of our effort is to build a stronger, even more unified team. We come together every week, at the Senior Military Medical Advisory Council, where the leadership proactively discusses how we can best lead, serve and support the force.

In August, we conducted a two day joint leadership offsite at the Pentagon to discuss our strategic plan for 2013.  We will be sending out a separate communication on the outcome of that offsite.  But, part of our offsite was also dedicated to the MHS Governance decisions made by the Deputy Secretary of Defense in March 2012. All of us in the Military Health System are committed to a fully collaborative and transparent process with our intent to make our already high-performing system even stronger.

There will be three significant areas of focus – consistent with the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s decision in March.  The first is to establish a Defense Health Agency that will have the structure and authority to drive common clinical and business processes across the enterprise.  The second focus area involves Multi-Service markets, and to provide additional authority in areas such as budget, work force and work load to a single market manager in designated markets.  And finally, with the conclusion of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) activities in the National Capital Region, we will transition to a more permanent organizational structure for the NCR.  This will be done by establishing a NCR Medical Directorate within the Defense Health Agency, into which we will transition Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical Command (CAPMED).

A number of our staff from Health Affairs, the Tricare Management Activity and the Army, Navy and Air Force headquarters are involved in the implementation planning work. Our recommendations will be submitted to the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense in January 2013.

The four of us are committed to keeping you informed of our progress, and improved transparency in the decisions we make together. We are still in the planning stage at this time. Our decisions will be rooted in sound leadership principles and business practices with a keen eye on our responsibility to better manage increasingly precious resources for the future. Our goal remains the same — and that is to ensure the medical readiness of our Service members and to provide a ready medical force able to deliver the best medical services anywhere in the world, under any conditions, to all our beneficiaries.

 Again, on behalf of the entire MHS leadership team, we want to thank you for all you are doing and wish you continued success.


Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs


Editor’s note: This message was coordinated by the following:

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, Surgeon General, United States Army

Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, Surgeon General, United States Navy

Lt. Gen Thomas Travis, Surgeon General, United States Air Force