Overall the military’s healthcare system matches the average performance of the nation’s private health care providers, according to an intense review of the healthcare system, released Wednesday. But, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that’s not good enough. “We cannot accept average, we all know we can do better,” he said during a briefing at the Pentagon with Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, and other officials. Hagel said the 700-page report was the start of a process to make the MHS “not just an average system, but a leading system. That’s what our service members and their families deserve.” The Secretary said he directed Work and MHS officials to come back in 45 days with an action plan on improving the system. Much of the early emphasis appeared to be on improving the metrics and standards by which they could evaluate the system and their progress. The officials at the Pentagon briefing said they found no military hospital or clinic overall below standards, but there were “gaps,” and some areas at facilities that were not as good as others. They said access to care was meeting current standards, but noted differences in the evaluation from different sources. (DOD report; Caution, large-sized file)
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.