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Air Force medical leadership discuss AFMED structure during week-long conference

  • Published
  • By Shireen Bedi
  • Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs

Editor's note: Prior to June 12, 2024, the Air Force Medical Command was referred to as AFMED. The Secretary of Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force signed the Air Force Medical Command Program Action Directive on June 12 authorizing the establishment of the command as a direct reporting unit to the CSAF. Per the PAD, the new organizational structure’s official name is Air Force Medical Command and it is abbreviated AFMEDCOM.

Air Force medical leaders hosted a week-long strategy planning conference August 14 to 18 to solidify details to standup the Air Force Medical Command, or AFMED.

Medical leaders, including Lt. Gen. Robert Miller, U.S. Air Force Surgeon General, and more than 60 senior leaders across the Air Force Medical Service, including major command surgeons, met to codify what AFMED will look like and collaborate on how to best achieve initial operating capability by October.

The conference opened with the Honorable Kristyn E. Jones, the acting Under Secretary of the Air Force, and was facilitated by a small team of program analysts and planners from Headquarters Air Force.

During the week, senior leaders developed and discussed multiple courses of action to make a recommendation for DAF senior leadership approval. The leaders identified advantages and limitations, while ensuring AFMED meets the intent of promoting readiness and providing support to leaders at military treatment facilities on Air Force and Space Force installations.

“Our leaders remained focused on discussing the possible AFMED structure, which will ensure our success in supporting our readiness interests and support of the Defense Health Agency in delivering the best care to our Airmen and beneficiaries,” said Miller. “The next step is to take the ideas we've generated and develop the best course of action that meets the overall intent of this new direction.”

In small groups, senior leaders analyzed the manning and support needed to stand up the possible AFMED structures.

“Our overall goal was to design a structure that ensured a medically ready force and ready medics, the success of the Air Force’s Force Generation goals, the ability to provide readiness and training support to installations, and care for our warfighters and beneficiaries,” said Col. Michael Fea, Department of the Air Force’s Medical Operations deputy director.

As Brig. Gen. Jeannine Ryder, 59th Medical Wing Commander, explained, the conference brought together a group of Air Force medical leaders with diverse backgrounds and experiences to discuss AFMED’s structure. The success of AFMED will serve to benefit those at the MTF level, allowing them to focus on their installation’s requirements.

“Our medics are working hard to bring safe, accessible care to all beneficiaries while also supporting mission requirements at their installations,” said Ryder. “There are multiple priorities with many stakeholders. AFMED will allow some of these challenges to be brought to a general officer for support, advocacy, and communication with stakeholders. It will allow our current MTF directors and medical group commanders to focus on their mission, and allow those at the senior level to work the multi-layer issues with DHA leadership.”

From this meeting, AFMS leadership will provide the recommended course of action for AFMED’s structure for consideration by Department of the Air Force leadership, including the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and the Secretary of the Air Force. This will lay the groundwork to ensure AFMED meets its intended goals and is fully operational by October 2024.

“We have intentionally partnered with [Department of the Air Force] leaders to ensure we address potential impacts and barriers that could have an effect on our medics and those we serve,” said Chief Master Sgt. Dawn Kolczynski, Chief, Medical Enlisted Force. “We need to accelerate change, but we are doing it deliberately to ensure we are able to organize, train and equip for the future fight.”

For more information, please access the AFMED Frequently Asked Questions. (Note: This site is restricted and requires a common access card; users without a common access card will receive a website error message)