in the Maritime Domain
NAVY’S SURGEON GENERAL SHIFTS FOCUS TO SAVING LIVES IN NAVAL COMBAT
What are Navy Medicine’s primary roles?
FAISON: We are coming out of the nation’s longest
war and back to a world where we didn’t get a peace
dividend. A large percentage of the Navy is forward
deployed or stationed forward on any given day, on
point to rapidly respond. The Navy is an expeditionary
force for rapid response no matter where crises occurs
in the world — whether political, humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.
My job is to do two things: No. 1, keep the Navy
healthy and on the job and keep their families healthy,
because you can’t worry about your job if you’re worried about your family. No. 2 is to keep the medical
force ready to go forward tonight if called upon to save
lives, to protect the force, keep them alive and, ultimately, return them home safely to their families.
What are your top strategic priorities?
FAISON: The first is readiness, which has two components. The first is the readiness of the force. Our Navy
today is the most highly trained, specialized, educated
Navy our nation has ever had. When I was a lieutenant,
there might have been 10-15 guys on my ship who
could do a particular job. Today, because of specialization in the systems on ships, and the length of our
training pipelines, there might be two or three. Every
Sailor is important to the mission.
The second component is to keep the medical force
ready. We have the highest combat survival in history. If you had a survivable injury on the battlefield
in OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom] and OEF [Operation
Enduring Freedom], toward the end of that conflict, you
had well over a 90 percent chance of survival. That’s
unprecedented in the history of military medicine.
If you look at the causes of that, there were three.
The first was the amazing, heroic performance
of our young corpsmen who went forward under
fire at great personal peril to themselves to stabilize and resuscitate casualties and rapidly evacuate
As surgeon general of the Navy
and chief of the Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery, VICE
ADM. FORREST FAISON
is responsible for keeping the
Navy and Marine Corps and their
families healthy, and the Navy’s
medical force ready to deploy
forward to save lives.
With a specialty in neurodevelopmental pediatrics, he
has acquired a broad range of experience in hospitals
and other medical facilities — with the Fleet Marine
Force, with telemedicine, on a cruiser and with an
He has commanded the Naval Hospital at Camp
Pendleton, Calif.; the U.S. Expeditionary Medical
Facility and U.S. Medical Task Force, Kuwait; and Navy
Medicine West and the Naval Medical Center San
Diego. He coordinated the Navy’s medical response to
the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan as
part of Operation Tomodachi.
From 2013 to 2015, Faison served as the deputy
surgeon general of the Navy and deputy chief, Bureau
of Medicine and Surgery. He assumed duty as the 38th
surgeon general of the Navy on Dec. 15, 2015. His
priorities are readiness of the medical force, maintain-ing the health of Sailors, Marines and their families, and
expanding partnerships with government agencies and
academia to tackle tough medical challenges.
Faison discussed the priorities of Navy Medicine with
Managing Editor Richard R. Burgess.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 10 SEAPOWER JUNE 2017