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Global Patient Movement Joint Advisory Board wraps up

U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Friedrichs, U.S. Transportation Command command surgeon, speaks to the Global Patient Movement Joint Advisory Board annual meeting held at USTRANSCOM Scott Air Force Base, Ill., April 10-12, 2018. The meeting focused on evolving modes of patient transportation in support of the warfighter. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Osmin Suguitan)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., April 12, 2018 -- U. S. Transportation Command wrapped up the annual Global Patient Movement Joint Advisory Board meeting here April 12, 2018. 

The central focus of the four-day session was evolving patient movement for support of the warfighter in order to be prepared for future conflicts.

“Although the air mobility enterprise stands ready to deliver an immediate force tonight, we must address several readiness concerns in our airlift and air refueling capabilities, as well as our patient movement system, to ensure we are able to meet our defense objectives in the future,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Darren McDew, USTRANSCOM commander.

This year’s advisory board is the largest USTRANSCOM has ever sponsored, with more than 175 members representing the joint force, interagency and international partners.

Col. Paul Friedrichs, USTRANSCOMs command surgeon, acknowledges the limits in patient movement are difficult to imagine, as all evidence is to the contrary. 

“We’ve made it look too easy.  We can bring our ill and injured home from the battlefield in 36 hours,” said Friedrichs. “Today’s plans are not the right solution for tomorrow’s problems. We have to tighten the partnership in logistics. We have to rebuild capacity. We need systems that support the way we will operate in contested, cyber-degraded environments.”

In addition to directing global patient movement for all Department of Defense activities, Friedrichs is also responsible for patient movement supporting civilian agencies during domestic emergencies. The board took time to study necessary preparations for the upcoming hurricane season. 

Additionally, the group developed draft policies for moving patients in an environment compromised by a chemical or biological attack.

“USTRANSCOM’s motto is ‘Together We Deliver’ and this meeting helped define how we will ensure we are ready to move America’s ill and injured to the care they need – today and in future conflicts,” said Friedrichs.

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