JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — The Medical Capability Integration Directorate (MED CDID) organized the Medical Evacuation Limited Objective Experiment (LOE) from February 14-17. Spearheaded by the Medical Evacuation Concepts & Capabilities Division (MECCD) and the Experimentation Division, this highly successful event centered on the theme: "Evacuating the Army of 2030."
Colonel James J. Jones, MED CDID director, stressed that "efficiently evacuating casualties from land, air, and sea domains remains our top priority." This marks the first genuine coordination between ground and air medical evacuation units since the last Army Medical Evacuation Conference (AMEC) in 2010. Such synchronization is crucial as the Army transitions from two decades of Counterinsurgency (COIN) operations to focusing on Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO).
The extensive knowledge and experience of participants, encompassing senior leaders to company and platoon levels, played a vital role in the event's success. Col. Samuel Fricks, Chief of MECCD, remarked, "This event offered company command teams the chance to move beyond their training calendars and incorporate the front line into discussions on modernization, future concepts, and strategy—an essential step towards cultivating a forward-thinking, well-informed force."
The MEDEVAC LOE commenced with informational briefings designed to align the comprehension of present and future challenges among ground and air evacuation community stakeholders. Discussions covered topics such as concepts, modernization initiatives, program updates, implications of peer/near-peer threats, current gaps and challenges, and the medical modernization strategy. Furthermore, an overview of the medical concept and the current state of the Army Medical Evacuation System was provided.
A highlight of the event was the presentation by distinguished guest speaker, Ret. Col. Ben Knisley, titled "Medical Support to LSCO: A Retrospective on Operation Desert Storm." Knisley, who served as the Lead Medical Planner under General Norman Schwarzkopf during Desert Storm, offered invaluable insights to the audience. He remarked, "It's the same song, but it's different. Geography will dictate what you have to do and when you have to do it," alluding to the vast array of challenges LSCO poses for the future force.
During the event, attendees tackled evacuation challenges through moderator-led, scenario-driven vignettes. Participants deliberated on the roles, responsibilities, and capabilities required to synchronize, coordinate, resource, and execute both ground and air MEDEVAC operations across the expansive LSCO battlespace. Additionally, participants were tasked with contemplating patient regulation, intra-theater multimodal patient movement, and the coordination of the Army Health System (AHS) with Maneuver, Sustainment, and Joint Force elements to effectively implement casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) in support of the overarching evacuation plan.
Insights gained from the event were utilized to address the LOE's learning demands, which aimed to tackle the most challenging gaps in evacuation procedures. Preliminary findings pinpointed potential non-materiel and materiel solutions to address capability and/or capacity shortfalls associated with Medical Evacuation for the Army of 2030. These insights were presented to senior leaders and communicated with Lt. Gen. Scott McKean, deputy commanding general Army Futures Command and director of the Futures and Concepts Center.
The information captured from this event will help shape subsequent experimentation planned for later this year. These findings will also inform future initiatives, such as casualty evacuation at echelon; intra-theater multimodal patient movement; theater medical evacuation; the transportation and treatment of contaminated and/or biologically hazardous casualties, and their impact on medical units.
The MEDEVAC LOE served as an outstanding forum for Army medical personnel and evacuation stakeholders to convene and address the most urgent concerns related to "Evacuating the Army of 2030." The event offered a unique opportunity for knowledge and expertise sharing, allowing attendees to depart with an enhanced understanding of managing complex situations in the future operating environment. Ultimately, the MEDEVAC LOE proved to be a tremendous success, and MED CDID eagerly anticipates hosting similar events in the future.