House lawmakers want to retain the 18,000 military medical billets that the Pentagon plans to close to transfer personnel to other operational and modernization priorities, Federal News Network reported Monday. The House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee issued its marks of the 2020 defense authorization bill to prevent the Department of Defense from reducing or realigning military medical personnel.
Lawmakers expressed concern that the agency is cutting the billets too soon. Through the defense bill the personnel subcommittee wants to require DoD to study the manpower and availability of healthcare services in local areas before approving the realignment plan. However, DoD already started reducing military medical billets, with 2,000 areas already left vacant in April. The agency intends to move the remaining 16,000 into other non-medical areas in early 2020s.
“We’re working with our personnel command to identify those that have got critical impact to the fleet and to remote areas and put personnel in those locations as we work through this,” said Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, surgeon general of the Navy.