Background and Problem Statement
The U.S. Joint medical force faces many challenges because of increased global military requirements and warfighting complexity, which is amplified and complicated by competition for scarce military health and medical capabilities. Global warfighting scenarios, especially those in the Pacific and European theaters, present complex planning and operations challenges that necessitate a holistic approach to health and medical requirements across the Joint spectrum. The character of warfare is also shifting and effectively complicating the resourcing, allocating, apportioning, and assigning forces. These changes drive the Services’ decisions on capabilities development and modernization efforts and impact capacity requirements, not only through Geographic Combatant Commanders plans, but across a broad spectrum of global perspectives. In the rapidly evolving defense enterprise, it is more difficult than ever to maintain an aggregate view of the Joint medical force posture that incorporates Joint and independent Service systems, technologies, processes, personnel accounting systems, and cultural vectors.
These compelling challenges span diverse areas that require proper categorization of force elements, unit availability and status, personnel availability, equipment readiness and status, and individual and unit readiness. The Joint Staff must be capable of forecasting, with a high degree of certainty, using algorithmic analytics that provide the ability to visualize the total force for optimized speed to decision. Specifically, optimized speed to decision is critical to decrease risk to strategy, risk to mission and campaign, and risk to force. Moreover, this optimization provides enhanced joint operational medical support prepared to rapidly task organize, assemble, and integrate from disparate locations for missions across a broad range of military operations in austere and increasingly contested environments with the goal of increased survivability. A globally unified approach is needed to assess and analyze the combined military force as a holistic and combined portfolio of medical capabilities and capacity, which is achieved through planning and employment of an integrable medical Joint medical force with optimized force mix and distribution.
The enormity of global requirements on the U.S. military directly correlates to Joint medical requirements; yet, despite this, there is currently no technical means to capture the total medical requirement across abroad range of planned and imagined operations. The Joint Staff currently has a myopic ability to visualize the total military problem space to include inability to assess the total medical requirement, aggregation of capability-to-requirement solutions, and discrete attributes, such as time phasing across Joint, interagency, and Service requirements.
The span of medical requirements materializes in many different forms and from every level of the military, from small unit training and readiness requirements to top-down politico-military requirements. Capturing these expansive medical requirements across geographic combatant commands, land, air, and sea domains; across four Services; and from external non-military sources is daunting. However, there are advanced algorithmic and visualization technologies that enable solutions to managing complex data analysis and visualization problems.
Speed to decision is an important aspect to providing solutions in the modern military plans and operations environment and is necessary to respond to military and political leaders in hours versus days and weeks. Advanced data science and analytics enables a sophisticated, accurate, repeatable, and accelerated means to properly anticipate and frame problems, create multiple viable courses of action and optimize critical decision pathways. Combined with deep subject matter expertise, an advanced analytics approach will create conditions for high velocity Joint medical planning and operations.
The Office of the Joint Staff Surgeon (OJSS) requires support to gather vast amounts of data, policy, and operating parameters from disparate technical data systems, stakeholders, and policy documents across the Joint operational medical enterprise. The ability for the OJSS staff to repeatedly execute an accurate analysis in a timely manner is paramount and cannot happen without the appropriate technical solution set. Ultimately, the solution set must enable:
- data quality assurance and a unified analytic/modeling capability,
- a common data operating picture across the Joint operational medical enterprise,
- an accurate portrayal of key risk measures (including force posture, risk to force, risk to mission, and related decision space), and
- actionable courses of action (COAs) for key operational stakeholders (including the Combatant Commands [CCMDs], the Services, and the Defense Health Agency [DHA]).
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