Feb. 17, 2021
Modernizing the Operational Design of the Medical Readiness Training Exercise
Each year, the U.S. military deploys hundreds of medics to see patients in direct patient care training exercises throughout the Americas, Asia, and other regions around the world. “More patients mean better training” is the mantra of mission planners, commanders, and public affairs teams. Only cursory efforts are made during these missions toward building partnerships and host-nation institutional capacity. Geographic combatant commanders, however, expect to leverage these operational readiness training exercises, funded by humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) dollars, to promote regional security and stability, while host nations want to improve their populations’ health, health systems, and institutional legitimacy. At great cost in money and opportunity, the legacy health fair–style medical readiness training exercise (MEDRETE) and its thousands of patients seen grossly underdeliver on all counts.