Medical support for the Israel Defense Forces: lessons for the United States

by William M. Hix

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The Israel Defense Force (IDF) limits its medical support structure to a small number of field medical units. The IDF relies almost entirely on civilian rather than military hospitals for inpatient care, both in peacetime and in wartime. By contrast, the U.S. military maintains a substantial infrastructure of fixed military hospitals, much of it devoted to the treatment of dependents and retirees. The option of reducing the size of this infrastructure by relying more on civilian hospitals along the lines of the IDF model offers potential savings in manpower, would allow the Military Departments and the Department of Defense to focus more on their core functions, and could even enhance the readiness of the medical force.

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