European Military Medical Services 2023
Once again a very busy year for the European Military Medical Services!
After the Cold War and the Balkan Wars, Europe initially entered a relatively peaceful era at the beginning of the new millennium. Two decades of expeditionary deployments after 9/11, associated with the re-emergence of terrorism at home, have let Europe without war within its borders.
During this period, the military health services have developed new skills, new equipment and new doctrines to address the Grail of expeditionary medical support: the Golden Hour for combat injuries. Medical support of high intensity combats without air superiority and CBRN defence were both mostly seen as relics from a glorious past.
Then came the year 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has painfully reminded us that the risk of infectious diseases is still there, ready to jeopardise our societies and kill millions. After the two years needed to control this pandemic in Europe, the health services, civilian and military, were exhausted.
Just then the Russian forces extended their war begun in 2014 against Ukraine to the whole country. Post-pandemic recovery and COVID-19 lessons learnt process have to wait, as military-medical services are now dealing with the possibility of a high intensity war with a nuclear power in Europe!
Since, the Ukrainian military medical service is coping with trench diseases, gas gangrene, massive amount of blast and shrapnel injuries, CBRN defence, ground medical evacuation, etc. And the NATO allies are benchmarking: it’s time to learn and teach again these almost forgotten medical activities.
Another challenging revolution needs to be achieved as fast as possible for the medical support of all troops deployed close to the Baltic or the Black seas: beside re-developing all skills and knowledge from the last century, it is now time to implement remote medicine and tele consultations, health drones and robots, medical supply and stockpiling steered by artificial intelligence, … The past and the future of the medical support need to be available immediately.
In an attempt to illustrate all these new missions of our European military medical services, this issue gathered several articles and interviews from various horizons, describing capabilities, exercises and operations in this new Europe.