By Tom Philpott
The Army, Navy and Air Force are finalizing plans to eliminate over the next few years more than 17,000 uniformed medical billets — physicians, dentists, nurses, technicians, medics and support personnel.
The reduction will allow those billets to be repurposed as war fighters or combat-support skills to increase lethality and size of operational units. Another goal is to deepen the workload of remaining medical billets at base hospitals and clinics to strengthen medical skills and also to improve quality of care for beneficiaries, defense officials explained.
One senior service official shared the latest figures he has seen showing the uniformed Army medical staff falling by almost 7,300, the Navy by almost 5,300 and the Air Force by just over 5,300.