The Department of Defense (DOD), at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced this weekend that U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) is providing a 30-person medical support team to quickly, effectively, and safely respond in the event of additional Ebola cases in the United States.
USNORTHCOM is the military's geographic command responsible for homeland defense, civil support, and security cooperation. It is prepared to support this request and be part of a multi-disciplinary team that, if directed, will give our nation another layer of support providing the highest quality and safest care in responding to any future Ebola cases in the homeland.
This team is a deliberate infusion of some of the best medical personnel across all of our nation's military services. They will stand ready to help civilian medical professionals develop additional capabilities. Following infectious disease protocols and properly using personal protective equipment is essential to success. This DOD team will be prepared to help civilian agencies quickly develop the expertise that will keep their staff safe and prevent the spread of disease.
Training the medical support team at Fort Sam Houston, Texas makes sense for a variety of reasons. First, it is home to U.S. Army North, which is our primary headquarters for overseeing Defense Support to Civil Authority missions, such as DOD support to FEMA during a natural disaster. This is a very important function of our military that allows our men and women in uniform to quickly and effectively respond to the requests of civil authorities to save lives and prevent human suffering.
Second, there is a huge nucleus of joint military medical knowledge and training resources that exists in the San Antonio community. The Defense Health Agency's Medical Education and Training Campus and the Brooke Army Medical Center have a multitude of diverse resources and experts that can assist the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease in training this team.
The military health system is laser-focused on safety and continuous quality improvement. We believe the best way to accomplish this is through highly trained medics working in multidisciplinary, collegial, interactive teams. By partnering with and remaining in support of HHS, USNORTHCOM will ensure that all members of this medical support team, if requested, are well-assimilated into any facility, ensuring the best patient outcomes and optimal health care worker safety.