It appears that the Pentagon is making good on its plan to pursue development of a unified medical command. Earlier this year, the Air Force and Navy expressed concern about such a move, but now, according to Air Force Magazine contributing editor Tom Philpott, USAF, as the lone remaining holdout, has been overruled. If current plans pass muster with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, action to create a new command would begin in January 2007. The plan would partition medical care between the services and the new command, giving the command all standing hospitals and clinics and the services any field medical care and facilities. The Pentagon does not believe it needs Congressional approval to pursue this organizational reshuffling.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.