The Army is training medics to provide prolonged field care in case US forces don’t have “the luxury of air superiority” in future conflicts, Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Nadja West told reporters Thursday. The freedom of movement in recent conflicts allowed the Army to “evacuate our casualties at will,” West told the Defense Writers Group in Washington, D.C, noting one service member who received a head injury in Afghanistan was in surgery at a US hospital less than 24 hours later. She said the instruction will include how to perform life-saving, resuscitative surgery and manage the aftercare so that casualties can be maintained for long periods in an environment that’s “not as permissive.” “Trying to teach some of these techniques, we’re going to ask a lot of our medics,” said West, who also heads US Army Medical Command.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.