Just back from a recent trip to Iraq, VA Secretary James Peake, told Washington-based defense reporters Thursday (see above) that electronic health records are being kept very early on in the treatment process for wounded service members and are being passed along to better prepare medical personnel in Germany and back in the US. “I look at these two systems as a continuity,” Peake said of the DOD and VA health care apparatuses, adding that he hopes to see the use of electronic records increase even more. Eliminating paperwork will be a critical aspect of reducing the enormous backlog the VA is experiencing in processing disability and benefit claims, he said. A younger, tech-savvy workforce will be better able to determine if an injury is related to military service, he noted. Calling the claims bureaucracy a “1945 process,” Peake said 65 percent of the claims process is spent just gathering information on paper, a process that could be immeasurably helped with greater information sharing between DOD and VA.
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.