JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — With the U.S. Army’s shift from brigade-centric warfare to large-scale combat operations, multi-domain operations and force modernization, the role of the 68W combat medic must change to meet the Army’s needs.
Forging the way forward, the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, or MEDCoE, held a three-day working summit for the 68W combat medic career field, from September 26-28, 2022.
Organized by the MEDCoE Directorate of Training and Doctrine — or DoTD — the summit brought together subject matter experts from throughout the U.S. Army and Army Medicine functional areas. DoTD is the responsible agent for the development of individual and collective Army Medicine life-cycle resident and sustainment education and training programs, courses, and products for MEDCoE in accordance with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
The goal of the summit was to determine requirements for 68W modernization and address Army Medicine solutions across the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities and policy domains.
Maj. Gen. Michael Talley, MEDCoE commanding general, opened the summit by welcoming the participants and inviting them to bring together their best ideas to pave the path for the future of combat medics.
“We have the right leadership to drive change, and it starts here,” said Talley. “It’s not business as usual. We need to focus on what are the needs for future combat operations. It’s our job to determine what we need for skills.”
Operational forces will require combat medics to be more prepared and capable of providing medical support in large-scale combat operations and multi-domain operations. These will include prolonged care, treating disease and non-battle injury patients, providing blood closer to the point of injury, sustaining advanced skill requirements outside of the institutional training environment and integrating nonmedical personnel into unit casualty response procedures.
The summit included an overview of future threats in the operating environment and medical considerations, a summary of recent combat medic efforts and current tasks. As the conference progressed, the participants received additional briefings and separated into working groups.
The breakout groups facilitated discussions examining 68W individual tasks and integration in collective tasks. These groups identified gaps, developed requirements and provided recommendations for topics that require more detailed refinement. Some of the covered topics included sustainment and career progression, manning, enhanced curriculum and operational training.
At the end of the event, the attendees reviewed the working groups’ input to conduct a post-event analysis and a final report for leadership with plans for next year’s 68W summit.
Visit the MEDCoE website for more information on the center and DOTD