Holiday Message from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

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MHS Team:

I’m honored to be performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

Having been a part of this extraordinary organization for several years, and having spent most of my career in military medicine, I know both its important work and the outstanding talent of our personnel accomplishing our important work.  In my experience, few match the skills and expertise of those within the Military Health System.

Your tireless dedication to our Service members and their families has always been an inspiration. That’s perhaps never been more apparent than over this past year. You not only ensured we met our readiness mission, you helped us navigate truly unprecedented changes and challenges—and military medicine and the people and communities we serve are stronger for it.

Together, we led critical, system-wide modernization efforts, and completed all market standups in the U.S. under the direction of the DHA. The MHS assumed a leadership role in responding to the pandemic, both within DoD and our larger communities. To date, we’ve administered more than 6.5 million COVID-19 vaccines, ensured the military got vaccinated to protect themselves and their teammates against COVID-19, and supported many more vaccinations at civilian sites around the United States. 

And of course, this was all done while continuing to deliver the exceptional, world-class care our beneficiaries deserve and expect. Thank you!

The year ahead will undoubtedly present new challenges—and I’m confident in our ability to respond. Your many efforts have positioned the entire enterprise for future success, and I look forward to taking this work on together.

Finally, as friends and family gather in the coming days, it’s vital that we continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and we continue to employ prudent public health measures.  Omicron is spreading quickly, and the best way to ensure a safe holiday season for everyone is by getting your shots and boosters.  In addition, this can be a difficult time for some of our personnel, so please stay vigilant and aware of the needs of your teammates. Finally, in the coming weeks, some of you will deploy to help our Nation weather the Omicron wave. For those mobilizing and those maintaining our exceptional care, thank you!

As I noted, it’s been an extremely busy year.  I want to encourage you to try to take time to recharge and reflect on all that you’ve accomplished. Your colleagues, our beneficiaries, and our Country are incredibly grateful.

From our MHS family to all of yours, wishing you a very joyous and safe holiday season!

Dr. David J. Smith, M.D.

Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense – Health Affairs

Department of Defense           

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