Decoding Readiness: Towards a Ready Military Healthcare Force

Matthew R. D'angelo, Diane Seibert, Matthew D. Welder, Ronald M. Cervero, Steven J. Durning

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

4 Citations (Scopus)


A strategic priority for Secretary of Defense Mattis’ and the Department of Defense is to optimize military readiness to produce a “lethal” fighting force. As the country transitions from regional conflicts and refocuses to future threats some may wonder “what is military readiness and how do we ready healthcare forces for war?” Readiness is defined as “The ability of military forces to fight and meet the demands of assigned missions.” Although military readiness has become a recent focus of intense discussion in the media, its definition within the Pentagon and Halls of Congress remains can differ.

Readiness becomes particularly complex when one considers how to ready a healthcare force for war. A Ready Healthcare Force (RHF) emerges when the members of the military healthcare team are prepared to provide care in operational settings to include a combat zone. This manuscript will explore the concept of military readiness and examine how “readiness” is operationalized in both combatant units and the military healthcare system (MHS). Through this exploration, the authors propose an operational definition for a RHF and a conceptual model to examine military healthcare readiness that incorporates professional practice with the unique requirements of providing care in the operational setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number5-6
Early online date23 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • military healthcare
  • military personnel
  • military readiness


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