Showing posts with label medical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label medical. Show all posts

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Defense News

Preserving COIN as a Capability. As the military moves away from the Iraq and Afghan conflicts (although the move is slower than we thought) it will be leaving some military capabilities behind (like counterinsurgency). Read Steven Metz's comments on how to preserve some of those capabilities in "How the US Military Can Preserve Seldom-Used Capabilities"World Politics Review, Friday 26, 2016.

"Force of the Future" - Rough Landing. "Defense officials' hopes for sweeping personnel reforms were crushed by Senate Republicans on Thursday who attacked the ideas as 'an outrageous waste of time' and the Pentagon's pick to implement them as unfit to serve".  Read "The Pentagon's 'Force of the Future' plan just got trashed in Congress"Military Times, February 25, 2016.

Combat Vet Now at HMS Works to Improve Life for Amputees. A combat medic with a tour in Iraq is now at Harvard Medical School and is working to bring relief to war vets with amputations. Read more in "Veteran wants to improve the quality of life for amputees", Harvard Gazette, February 18, 2016.

India's Military and Women in Combat. The United States is not the only military conducting social experiments with women in combat units. India is joining a handful of countries that permit women to take on combat roles. Read more in "India's Military to Allow Women in Combat Roles", The Diplomat, February 26, 2016.

Future of the Army. Conrad Crane provides us his thoughts on the report done by the Commission on the Future of the Army in "7 Issues the Future of the Army Commission Should Have Spent More Time On"War on the Rocks, February 25, 2016. 1) Once cut, the Army is not easily expandable, 2) how to better integrate active and reserve components, 3) deficiencies in force structure and capabilities, 4) an expanded discussion of stability operations and counterinsurgency (my note: the most important failure in my view), 5) explicit analysis of force size and structure recommendations, 6) real discussion of risk, and 7) contractors on the battlefield.

Do We Still Need the Draft? David Barno and Nora Bensahel says Yes! Read "Why We Still Need the Draft", War on the Rocks, February 23, 2016.

Military Terminology. Ever wonder what a military term or phrase mean't. Know you can know. The Department of Defense just updated Joint Publication 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, 15 January 2016.

Conscription - Fact and Myth. The defense community is buzzing about the draft (selective service) now that women are able to fully-integrate into combat and SOF units (equal rights, equal responsibility thing). So lots of commentary about it. Read Phillip Carter's thoughts in "The Zombie Myths of Conscription", War on the Rocks, February 25, 2016.

Contractors - Denied Benefits & Care. Contractors who work in war zones (I am one of them) are covered by medical insurance under the Defense Base Act. This insurance pays for medical care and disability benefits for workers injured on the job as well as death benefits for those killed. While the insurance companies reap millions of dollars in profits every year they are very stingy in paying out benefits to deserving contractors. Read more in "Injured war zone contractors fight to get care", Los Angeles Times, Feb 27, 2016.

Journal of Strategic Studies. This new issue (Volume 39, Issue 1, 2016) is now available. Articles include China's strategic Air Force, an anatomy of authoritarian counterinsurgency, contractor support to US and UK military operations, impediments to fighting the Islamic State, and civil-military relations in Pakistan and India.

Learn about the U.S. Army's Acting Secretary. Patrick Murphy got out of the Army as a Captain after having done a tour in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was one of the first veterans elected to Congress in the post-9/11 era. He is now the Acting Secretary for the Army. Big move up! Read "Army's new top civilian leader: former paratrooper, congressman"Army Times, February 24, 2016.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

AAF Medics Teach Lifesaving Skills to ANA

The Afghan Air Force (AAF) is sending out small medical teams to teach MEDEVAC procedures to medics of the Afghan National Army (ANA). Recently two AAF flight medics traveled to Herat in western Afghanistan to train 19 ANA soldiers in the fundamentals of loading and offloading patients from the Mi-17 helicopter and the C-208 Cessna Caravan (a small fixed-wing aircraft). Both of these aircraft are used by the AAF to transport wounded and injured members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to medical care. While the Mi-17 can land in areas without an airstrip the C-208 has greater range (but requires an airstrip). Sometimes both aircraft are used in combination to transport the injured and wounded - called a hub-and-spoke principle of casualty evacuation. Read more in "Afghan Air Force medics teach lifesaving skills to ANA troops", RS News, January 28, 2014. (Photo by Capt. Jeff M. Nagan, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing).

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

C-17 Flying Hospital

A news article describes the C-17 Globemastter III that is a 'flying hospital'. It is used for MEDEVACs from the war zone to a hospital for patients requiring advanced care. In the case of Afghanistan, the C-17 would transport the patient(s) from Bagram or Kandahar to Landstuhl, Germany. Read more in "The Flying Hospital That Rushes Wounded Soldiers to Safety", Danger Room by, January 5, 2015.

News - Brain Injuries

A "SEAL Breacher Study" will explore the way that Navy SEAL brains are affected by repeated blasts. Two researchers will conduct the study. A 'breacher' is someone who uses explosives to blow open a door. The researchers will use specific brain-scanning equipment and will study 10 former Navy SEALs who recently left the service. Read more in "Are Navy SEALs affected by repeated blasts", U-T San Diego, December 10, 2014.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

State of Afghan Midwifery

The Afghanistan Country Office of the United Nations Population Fund has published a report entitled State of Afghanistan's Midwifery 2014. Participating organizations include the World Health Organization, USAID, and others. Topics covered in the report include "Midwives save lives", "Midwifery in Afghanistan: before 2002", "Revitalizing midwifery: 2002 to today", "Midwifery today", and "Afghanistan's way forward". The report is an Adobe Acrobt PDF, 42 pages long, and 2 MBs big. You can read online or download the report at this link.

Friday, December 5, 2014

AAN - Access to Health Care

The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) has published an online article entitled "Between Rhetoric and Reality: Access to health care and its limitations" (December 2, 2014). Frank Dorner and Lena Langbein look at the rhetoric of political and military actors about healthcare and what is actually happening at ground level in Afghanistan - as seen by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). They list a number of health care shortcomings such as the growing humanitarian needs due to the ongoing armed conflict, medical clinics far from people's homes, health care that poor Afghans cannot afford, and lack of skilled female personnel in rural areas.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mefloquine and Mental Health

A recent news article about Mefloquine (Lariam) calls into question the medication used to fight malarial. According to UK studies Soldiers given Mefloquine are four times as likely to suffer from mental health problems. Lariam was developed by the US Army in the 1970s for preventing and treating malaria. In April 2013, prompted by the risks of psychosis and suicide, the US labeled it a drug of last resort. The United States Special Operations Command banned its use over a year ago. However, British soldiers are still given the drug. Read more in "Soldiers still suffering serious mental illness linked to controversial anti-malarial drug Lariam", The Independent, November 28, 2014.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tuberculosis in Afghanistan

Japan and the World Health Organization (WHO) are engaging in a partnership to combat tuberculosis (TB) in Afghanistan. The agreement provides funding for $12 million (USD) for the procurement of anti-tuberculosis medicines and implementation of other activities related to fighting TB in Afghanistan. In 2013, 58,000 new TB cases were documented with 13,000 deaths. Learn more in a press release by WHO (29 November 2014).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chronic Insomnia Among Afghan War Veterans

A new medical study has determined that Iraq and Afghan war veterans from the Army had the highest rate of chronic insomnia among the armed services over a long decade of war. Personnel with chronic insomnia were more likely to have high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. 41 per cent of returning veterans from combat zones reported problems sleeping. The results of the study were published in a recent issue of the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report. The highest incidents were among those who served in infantry, artillery, armor, and motor transport. With the prevalence of IEDs along the roadways for Iraq and Afghanistan it is understandable that 'motor transport' would have similar rates as the traditional combat arms. Read more in "Soldiers lost a lot of sleep in Iraq, Afghanistan", San Antonio Express News, November 4, 2014.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Afghans Struggle to Save Their Wounded

Starting in mid-2013 and going into 2014 ISAF started to refuse to fly almost all requests for MEDEVACs from the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Whether this was the right or wrong thing to do depends on your perspective and the circumstances of each individual incident. Certainly if you were the Afghan soldier who bled to death on the battlefield while you looked up and saw helicopters flying overhead it sucked. If you were the team leader of a Security Force Assistance Advisory Team (SFAAT) supporting an infantry kandak or a Special Forces ODA team leader advising the Afghan Local Police and your higher headquarters denied a request from you for a MEDEVAC you were put in a bad situation; especially as the Afghan died in front of you. If you were at a higher level within ISAF attempting to get the Afghans to use their own MEDEVAC capability then you were "doing the right thing" in forcing the Afghans to use their ground ambulances and their very basic field hospitals. But the bottom line is the Afghans, "our allies", were bleeding to death on the battlefield and dying in Afghan hospitals because of lack of medicine, qualified doctors, field hospitals, corruption . . . and an ISAF refusal to fly MEDEVACs.

While ISAF would tell you that things have gotten a lot better (in terms of ANSF capability to provide medical evacuation from the battlefield and hospital care), others would tell you a different story. Read more in "Special Report: Left to fight alone, Afghanistan battles to save wounded", Reuters, November 5, 2014.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Afghan War Amputees - A Harsh Future

The land of Afghanistan is scattered with mines from past conflicts - although many have been policed up there are still thousands lying beneath the surface waiting to be stepped on. In addition, one of the highest casualty producing methods employed by the Taliban is the use of IEDs or Improvised Explosive Devices. IEDs cause injuries among the civilian population as well as among members of the Afghan National Security Forces and International Security Assistance Force. Those Afghans who are wounded by IEDs usually suffer one or more amputations. Read more on this topic in "War amputees in Afghanistan face harsh lives of discrimination and poverty", The Washington Post, October 26, 2014.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

PTSD in Australian Military

A recent news article states that Australian veterans of the Afghan conflict have yet to show the effects of PTSD and that the " . . . true impression of the psychological impact was yet to be revealed".  Sometimes PTSD takes over 10 years to reveal itself as a problem that veterans will cope with. Read more in a news article by the Herald Sun.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Anthrax Reported in Badakhshan

Reports of over 40 cases of Anthrax have surfaced in Badakhshan province. Anthrax is a disease affecting both humans and animals. Read more in "Anthrax hits dozens of Badakhshan residents", Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies (CAPS), September 24, 2014.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Study - Some Wounded Could Have Survived Afghanistan

A team of medical professionals in Washington spent six months reviewing the autopsies of thousands of casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan and determined that some died from survivable wounds. Read more in "Are U.S. Soldiers Dying from Survivable Wounds?", The Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2104.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Report on Afghanistan - Medecins Sans Frontieres

The humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has published a report on Afghanistan entitled "Between Rhetoric and Reality: The ongoing struggle to access healthcare in Afghanistan" dated February 2014. MSF is a medical humanitarian organization that operates under the principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality. MSF has been working in Afghanistan since the early 1980s. MSF left the country in 2004 and returned in 2009 as humanitarian needs had markedly increased along with the deteriorating security conditions. Some of the topics covered in the report include how increased violence has escalated humanitarian needs, the politics of aid in war, "selective storytelling" about the Afghan health system, barriers to access to healthcare (due to war and insecurity, distance, cost, and gaps). You can access the report here on the MSF website (Adobe Acrobat PDF, 56 pages, and 167 MBs big).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Medical Report: Large Scale Psychological Disorders Among Afghan War Veterans

According to a recently published medical report by the Institute of Medicine a large proportion of veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq have at least one psychological disorder and many have more than one. Read more in "The Mental Health Toll of the Long Wars",, February 21, 2014.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ketamine Replaces Other Drugs at Point of Injury and During Medevacs in Afghanistan

For most of Operation Enduring Freedom casualties were treated with morphine and fentanyl to ease pain. However, in the past few years a new medical initiative to treat patients at the point of injury and during the initial MEDEVAC has taken place. The use of ketamine has proven to be effective as a substitute and according to a recent news release by the military. Read "4th Infantry Division continues ketamine initiative in Afghanistan", DVIDS, February 4, 2014.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tie Between Combat Experience and Mental Health

A recent study provides evidence that there is a tie between a military members mental health and the amount of exposure to combat. As the combat experiences mount the problems of mental health grow. Read a report published by Mental Health Advisory Team 9 (MHAT 9), Afghanistan, 10 October 2013 posted here on

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Advanced Medical Training Provided to ANSF at Kandahar Regional Military Hospital

Members of the NATO Role 3 Combat Hospital at Kandahar Airfield recently provided advanced medical training to staff of the Kandahar Regional Military Hospital (KRMH). The training covered a variety of topics on ventilators, which are machines designed to perform the breathing mechanisms for patients who cannot sufficiently do so on their own. Read more in "Medical training helps empower Afghan National Security Forces", DVIDS, February 6, 2014.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Medical Services Mean Fewer Child Deaths in Afghanistan

The growth of medical services and clinics in Afghanistan has made remarkable strides in the decrease of child deaths. In 2001 one in four children died before the age of five. In 2014 only one in ten die before the age of five. While still a very high death rate among children it is obvious that some gains have been made. Read more in "An Afghan Success Story: Fewer Child Deaths", NPR, February 4, 2014.