Surgeon General's Corner: Navy Medicine: “Building the Future Force”
By Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., U.S. Navy Surgeon General
Our mission spans the globe, from U.S. hospitals within the TRICARE network, to our operational fleet and fleet Marine forces, overseas hospitals, medical battalions, research units, and hospital ships. None of this would be possible without a razor sharp focus on taking care of our people. Integral to that is having a highly skilled and diverse people with the right education and training in order to deliver cutting- edge health care, anytime, anywhere, in support of the full range of military operations, from the benefit mission at home, to the research and development advancements that save lives, to the combat casualty care we provide, from the battlefield to the bedside.
This month I’d like to highlight some of our programs and recent accomplishments designed specifically to build and sustain the future force of Navy Medicine. Our personnel are the single most important asset in our organization, constituting about 70 percent of our operations and maintenance (O&M ) budget. How we educate, train, organize, and lead our people is critical to mission accomplishment. This includes Active Duty and Reserve personnel, officers and enlisted, civilians, and contractors. Our Total Force Concept, also called our Medical Manpower Strategy, does just that. It begins with measuring how to best allocate our limited resources and diversity of our talent across the enterprise.
Over a year ago, we began an enterprise-wide assessment of the size, specialty levels, and distribution of our Total Force billet requirements and personnel inventories. This yielded the development of several assessment tools. MedMACRE is one such tool that provides an analytical defense for sizing our force, especially for less than full mobilization scenarios and issues relating to Force Specialty Mix. Our Demand Based Staffing Tool is another that provides a regional and command level management instrument that takes inputs from MedMACRE to help create uniform requirements. The Fit-to-Fill Assessments help identify who is doing the work and where the work is being done. Lastly, Total Force Assessments provide more transparent assessments of force mix, distribution, and Military Training Facility workload, and are used in partnership with BUMED, regions, and commands.
Our Total Force Concept is about standardizing how we allocate, recruit, retain, educate, train, and incentivize the right work force for the right mission across the enterprise in order to eliminate gaps and overlaps, increase efficiencies through resource sharing, and integrate learning strategies. Another major piece of this is our Medical Education Training Campus (METC), now the largest consolidation of service training in defense history. Located in San Antonio, METC is a fully integrated tri-service education and training school to prepare Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen. METC will leverage the assets of all defense health-care practitioners in order to support about 9,000 students daily.
We are also increasing our outreach across the board. BUMED recently became a stakeholder in the CHINFO-run “Outreach: America’s Navy” national community relations effort. We will be participating in nearly half of the 21 Navy Weeks across the country in 2011 and more than 80 speaking and community outreach events nationwide.
Equally important is our continued focus on developing diversity in the Navy. I credit this success to our Diversity Action Plan that aligns to the CNO’s five pronged approach of effective strategic communications, training, outreach, mentorship, and accountability. Diversity is a strategic imperative that we must embrace if we are to remain a competitive force.
It is my honor to represent you as your Surgeon General. Thank you for everything you do, and most of all, thank you for your service.