ARLINGTON, Virginia – The military is working on all kinds of means to defeat, destroy and kill the enemy in what the leadership believes is the next fight – a large-scale ground combat operation with multi-domain implications.
But an even bigger problem than defeating high-tech enemies is how to deal with what most experts agree will be a number of casualties like the United States has not seen. since World War II.
At a U.S. Army Association forum on Tuesday, top military medical leaders outlined some of the challenges they face.
“The future battlefield is an isolation field, with no possibility of evacuating the wounded or of resupplying,” said the brigadier. Gen. Anthony McQueen, Commanding General of Army Medical Research and Development.
McQueen noted some key demands that require solutions, including more blood on the battlefield to treat more casualties, more oxygen, and perhaps more medically trained soldiers to increase ‘hold’ capability. to hold the injured in place as the force fights for a safe evacuation. option.
The aim is to use technologies and procedures to extend the “Golden hour” – the critical moment after injury for survival – until âGolden Day,â McQueen said.
âThe equipment needs to become smaller, lighter and more robust,â he said. “And prolong life until the victim can achieve a higher level of care.”
Major-General Joe Robinson, commanding general of the 3rd Army Reserve Medical Command, detailed a “worst-case scenario”.
Imagine a company of mechanized combat infantry 20 miles from its parent organization. They face a long-range precision fire attack. Of the 120 soldiers on the ground, 25 were wounded and considered victims.
The company has four combat medics and a senior medic overseeing the immediate response to emergencies.
The senior doctor notes that there were five soldiers killed in action. These are off the list of treatments. He uses non-physicians to help apply tourniquets. But after about 15 minutes, the doctor’s first aid kit is empty.
This doctor had sent in requests for more medical equipment two weeks ago, but unbeknownst to him, a cyber attack cut off communications and the command never saw him.
The doctor files a report with the higher command, looking for more doctors on the spot.
But there has already been another attack and no doctor is available.
Does the main doctor stay on site to continue treating or does he move with the injured to a higher level of care?
Back at the battalion’s aid station, a medic and a medic with a small team of medic soldiers receive dozens of seriously injured as a result of this attack and others.
It is a situation never seen at this volume and speed in the lives of almost any soldier in service today.
This is just one example Robinson and others noted at Tuesday’s forum, which will motivate the military medical community as they fight to keep their needs a part of the larger push. modernization of the service.
There are some promising signs.
Improvements in communication networks allow telemedicine which would allow a less trained soldier to perform rescue procedures under the remote direction of a medic.
Some other armies also use unmanned vehicles to transport the wounded. It’s something the military is testing and experiencing as well, according to McQueen.
But before the future fight begins, Robinson noted that recent events have helped leaders see how they should operate.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the spring of 2020, Robinson called to find out what the attrition of medical staff was in Italy, which has been ravaged by the virus for months.
He found that there was 15-20% attrition every month.
âYou can’t compare that, we haven’t had that kind of combat loss rate in years,â said Robinson.
The command provided equipment and training for army medical personnel.
âI really thought we were sending these people into some type of war, not a gun war, but they could get an infection,â Robinson said.
In the first wave of deployments, the two-star said, only one soldier tested positive for COVID.
Todd South has written on crime, courts, government and the military for several publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-authored project on witness intimidation. Todd is a veteran of the Iraq War Marines.