Managing Readiness and Cost of the Medical Total ForceNew Publication Page
Military treatment facilities (MTFs), where active-duty physicians support the medical needs of military beneficiaries (including family members and dependents), do not offer enough medical workload to keep all active component physicians ready for deployment, causing a readiness challenge for the U.S. military medical force. Focusing on eight military physician specialties vital to critical care—anesthesiology, emergency medicine, general surgery, and five surgical specialties—IDA researchers found that the current total force (active and reserve components) could sustainably support 0.7 times the monthly series of deployment levels from 2001 through 2016 with ready providers. If all providers were ready, the current total force could support 2.2 times those deployment levels. Expanding the reserve component (RC) would increase readiness, but with diminishing returns since only active component (AC) physicians can satisfy the most urgent deployment demands.