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NEWS | Dec. 22, 2023

AR-MEDCOM’s CG hosts senior leader forum to discuss LSCO, LSMO transformation

By Sgt. 1st Class Neil McCabe Army Reserve Medical Command

The Army Reserve Medical Command’s commanding general hosted its 2023 Senior Leader Forum, with its commanders and top NCOs, joined by 12 general officers from the Army Reserve's sister medical commands and the Army Reserve’s military medical community, here from Dec.1 through Dec. 3, as a part of the command’s Be All You Can Be Week, a week focused on bringing senior Army Reserve medical leaders together to create a common operating picture.

“I would suggest we set aside our parochial interest,” said Maj. Gen. W. Scott Lynn, who is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and a senior member of the American Society of Neuroradiology.

The general said military medicine had to respond to the changes in the military and society—and decide what to change and what not to change.

Lynn said he welcomed the input and participation from the leadership teams from the other two-star medical commands in the Army Reserve, the 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support), Fort Douglas, Utah, and 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support), Forest Park, Georgia, as well as other military medical professionals.

The general said as the Army transforms to execute Large Scale Combat Operations, or LSCO, and Large Scale Mobilization Operations, or LSMO, what U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle called the “The Total Army Medical Enterprise,” must adjust.

“Active-duty, Army Reserve and National Guard, we’re part of that—we’re working as a team with them,” he said.

"Sometimes, they don't know how we can support them. Sometimes, we don't know how they need to be supported," Lynn said.

"We're complementary to each other; we cannot compete with each other," he said.

Brig. Gen. Jennifer Marrast-Most, a deputy commanding general at the 807th MCDS, said the Senior Leader Forum was a very productive exercise.

“These workshops that we do are very important,” the general said.

"You get to see your colleagues in person, share ideas, work through some friction points," she said. "Just bringing everyone under one roof where you can collaboratively get information and give information; that's what makes Army medicine work."

AR-MEDCOM’s organizational transformation

Col. Eden Coelho, AR-MEDCOM’s assistant chief of staff for operations, said that in the planning for the forum, the staff was conscious of Lynn's intent to bring internal and external agencies together to communicate AR-MEDCOM’s transformation and modernization efforts for 2030.

Coelho said the commanding general is deliberately analyzing how the medical enterprise, specifically AR-MEDCOM, supports the warfighter as Big Army reconfigures away from counterinsurgency to the LSMO and LSCO requirements.

"Transformation does not happen overnight; we are operationalizing AR-MEDCOM to support the gaps identified by Army Medicine,” she said.

“When it came to our sister commands, the 807th and the 3rd, we wanted to make sure that our transformation efforts were communicated up and out, and our zero-sum growth structure was understood by all agencies,” she said.

The colonel said one of the changes is that AR-MEDCOM units will deploy intact, whereas now it is most common to mobilize individual "Warrior Medics" or small groups of Soldiers outside their unit organization.

“The focus is operationalizing AR-MEDCOM organizations, deploying the guidon and flag bearer in support of identified gaps in Army medicine," the colonel said. "Those gaps may be in a brick-and-mortar facility or against a near-peer or peer-adversary in an unknown location."

AR-MEDCOM’s organizational transformation

Unlike the 807th and the 3rd, the Army Reserve Medical Command is a Generating Force that has the flexibility to address changes in customer signals from Big Army. The other two medical commands are part of the operating force, indistinguishable from active-duty medical units, organized, trained and equipped to deploy and fight.

AR-MEDCOM is composed of eight distinct units, including the Medical Readiness and Training Command, a one-star command; the Army Medical Department Professional Management Command, four Medical Area Medical Support Groups, 10 Medical Operational Readiness Units, 42 Medical Support Units, 16 Blood Detachments, 13 Veterinary Detachments and 18 Troop Medical Clinics.

Under the MRTC are the three Regional Training Sites Medical, known as RTS MED’s, as well as training brigades and battalions. The AMEDD Professional Management Command provides support and centralized credentialing for cadets, students, and military medical professionals. The MARSG’s are regional brigade elements, which support and manage Medical Operational Readiness Units, Medical Support Units, Blood Detachments, Veterinary Detachments, and Troop Medical Clinics.

In the new configuration, MRTC optimizes critical medical training and exercise support battalions to perform multiple collective training exercises across the United States. MRTC and the RTS MED sites will increase training capacity and generate Ready Medical Forces to include Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multi-National partners.

In AR-MEDCOM’s transformation, the most significant changes center around the MARSG’s and the MORUs. The MARSG’s are set to be renamed Medical Support Brigades.

Medical Support Brigades will execute mission command and command and control of assigned and or attached deployable Army Reserve medical elements and provide regional and geographically aligned operational depth and staff augmentation in support of Combatant Command contingency requirements.

Another pivotal transformation effort is the MORU, which is set to be renamed Medical Expansion and Regulating Battalions.

The MERBs will execute medical mission command of assigned and/or attached elements and provide operational depth and personnel augmentation to the Military Health System, Combatant Command OPLANs, and emerging contingency operations.

The MERB will deploy to support theater hospitalization and patient movement, in addition to providing support and depth to the Joint Medical Force.

Operationalizing AR-MEDCOM’s MSB’s and MERB’s, modernizes and aligns our efforts against Army 2030 initiatives and known requirements.

Woodson: ‘The world is on fire’

Retired Maj. Gen. Jonathan Woodson, a former AR-MEDCOM commanding general, told the participants that the stakes for the military medical community are getting higher.

Woodson, who now serves as the president of the Bethesda, Maryland-based Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, compared the current geopolitical situation to the events in the 1930s that led to the Second World War.

“The world is on fire,” he said. “The rhetoric coming out of Russia is very concerning.”

In addition to the attention demanded by the Middle East, Woodson said the United States must keep track of the developments in the Indo-Pacific theater.

The People's Republic of China had a goal for world domination set for 2050, but he said Chinese President Xi Jinping has moved that goal to 2035.

In this new threatscape, he said that America's rivals can reach the homeland. "The CONUS is no longer a sanctuary."

Woodson said to meet the new challenges, the military medical community needed to deliver to the country three things: a medically-fit force, a medically-savvy force ready to deploy and a medical force with integrated capabilities.

The general, who served as the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and the director of the TRICARE management activity in President Barack Obama’s administration, drew upon the example of the F-35 Lightning II, the complex fighter jet with a $800,000 helmet that allows the pilots to view all relevant information from the plane’s different systems and externally from radar and other aircraft and ground control.

“My question is: ‘Where is our $800,000 helmet?’” the doctor said.

“Well, it's very important to bring senior leaders together to make sure they have a common operating picture of the strategic environment,” he said.

“Then, to make sure that they understand their responsibilities for supporting innovation in the system so that we're ready for the next fight,” Woodson said.

"The world is extraordinarily dynamic," he said. "Change is accelerating, and it's very important that senior leaders be oriented and brought into what the imperatives for change are."

Major Gen. Tracy L. Smith, the commanding general of the 63rd Readiness Division, Mountain View, California, said the forum was a success.

"I love being involved with Army Medicine, continuing to be involved with Army Medicine, and hearing our strategic approach, and I especially love to hear from Dr. Woodson about where we're going as a service and as a DoD joint force," she said.

The former AR-MEDCOM chief of staff said Lynn's approach is critical because he signals his turns and coordinates with the other two medical commands in the Army Reserve, 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) and 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support), where she was also the commanding general.

“It improves our ability to work with each other overall because not only is he talking about it, but he's actioning it in that regard,” the general, who was deputy surgeon for readiness, mobilization and reserve affairs in the Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon, said.

“I feel we've had a more integrated force over the last few years than we've ever had,” she said. “I really feel we are integrated, and we are working with each other more than we ever have before.”

Woodson said Lynn’s plan to transform the command meets the requirements of the changing missions.

"It repurposes the units on specific missions that are important to producing a ready medical force, and it will engage soldiers in meaningful missions, so I'm in full support of what he's doing," he said.

The retired general said repurposing AR-MEDCOM will pay its customers a better return on investment.

“I think he's doing the right things in orienting the AR-MEDCOM for this 2030 plan, and he definitely needs to continue to socialize it with higher command because I think it's the right thing to do at the right time.”