Addressing Medical Concerns By Mission

The Air Force has been embedding medical professionals in mission areas, such as intelligence and remotely piloted aircraft operations, to identify and help address issues like mental fatigue and stress, Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Mark Ediger said in an interview Tuesday. Fatigue—not post-traumatic stress disorder—is the primary concern in those mission areas, he said, and physicians can help commanders adjust schedules or make other changes to help airmen manage the cognitive demands. The Air Force also has embedded medical support in other mission areas, such as physical therapists in special tactics units, to help battlefield airmen recover from injuries, Ediger said. “Now we’re looking at how we can judicially employ that kind of embedded medical support where we think it’s most needed,” he said.