JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — The Medical Capability Integration Directorate (MED CDID) hosted the Hospitalization Limited Objective Experiment (LOE) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas from January 30 to February 3, 2023. The LOE focused on Role 3 hospitalization and how the scope and scale of large-scale combat operations (LSCO) impact the Army's ability to prioritize and control limited Army Health System capabilities in support of widely distributed Army, joint forces, and partner nations across a theater.
Role 3 hospitalization in a military operational setting means that patients are treated in a military treatment facility staffed and equipped to provide care to all categories of patients. This care includes resuscitation, initial wound surgery, damage control surgery, and postoperative treatment. Patients who are unable to tolerate and survive movement over long distances receive surgical care in a hospital as close to the supported unit as the tactical situation allows.
The LOE examined U.S. Army, Joint, and unified action partners’ hospitalization capabilities and capacity at multiple operational levels support the projected casualty streams of LSCO. One of the critical aspects of future hospitalization in LSCO is the medical units’ ability to keep pace with maneuver units as they progress across the battlefield.
“We must optimize ground, air, and sea capabilities to clear the battlefield; maximize return to duty far forward; and overcome contested logistics,” explained Col. James J. Jones, Director, MED CDID. “These remain the three main objectives in support of the warfighters.”
The facilitator-led experiment was vignette driven and included a myriad of hospitalization experts and joint and allied partners, all supported by academics. Participants in the LOE included Army Medical Department, operational force hospital command teams and representation from organizations such as the Defense Health Agency, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, the Institute for Medical Research, Medical Research Development Command (MRDC), U.S. Army Reserve representatives, Army Medical Logistics Command, the Health Facility Planning Agency, and the Office of the Surgeon General.
Brig. Gen. Michael Yost, deputy commanding general, 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support) emphasized that “almost 70% of Army Medicine is in the Army Reserves, we need to make sure we have a good training strategy for their hospitalization capabilities.”
Maj. Gen. Michael Talley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence reinforced this sentiment, stating that “Reserve units need training sets at home stations and must be integrated into future experiments and exercises. Older hospital sets can be repurposed for training.”
The vignettes supporting the narrative for the facilitated discussion focused on combat operations at the Division, Corps, and Theater levels. Maj. Gen. Mike Place, Chief of Staff, Office of The Surgeon General said, Future experimentation must focus on identifying gaps, innovative treatment options, and patient movement.
“All the services have hospitalization and evacuation requirements,” said Dawn Rosarius, the Principal Assistant for Acquisition for MRDC. But we need to look at how we work with our joint partners collaboration and coordination.
The Hospitalization LOE assessed concepts that describe the required medical hospitalization requirements across the depth and breadth of the theater in support of multi-domain operations. The findings from this experiment will inform future concepts for Army hospitalization in 2030 and beyond.
The preliminary results of the LOE were briefed to Army Medical Department and Joint Senior leaders on February 3, 2023. Future MED CDID events will continue to assess the importance of hospitalization in the future operating environment and the complex relationships within the medical enterprise amongst hospitalization, evacuation, treatment, and medical command and control.