NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (NNS) -- The Navy Surgeon General addressed Navy Medicine's role in international humanitarian assistance and global health diplomacy in support of the Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., April 11.
"The Navy has been doing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief for years and it is of crucial importance," said Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., U.S. Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. "We are the best suited for these missions because we can deploy medical capabilities around the world in a matter of hours and never skip a beat."
The theme of this year's exposition is "Internationally Engaged: Ensuring Freedom of the Seas," and in that vein, Robinson highlighted many of Navy Medicine's international engagements and partnerships.
Robinson discussed Navy Medicine's role in support of the Japanese relief efforts, especially Operation Tomodachi. According to Robinson, the Navy has upwards of 500 medical personnel working in direct support of Tomodachi, including more than 30 radiation health officers and technicians supporting every service and joint command in the region.
Robinson cited the importance of the Navy hospital ships and how the interagency and multinational missions they conduct demonstrate the key role of 'whole of government" solutions. He praised missions like Operation Continuing Promise 2011, currently underway in South and Central America and the Caribbean, with 13 partnering and host nations and multiple governmental and non-governmental organizations, in an effort to build emergency preparedness in the region and forge future partnerships.
"The difference in civilian and Navy Medicine is our adaptability and flexibility to surge medical capacity anywhere in the world while maintaining quality patient and family-centered care at home," said Robinson. "That is what our hospital ships and expeditionary medical forces are all about."
Robinson also highlighted the important strides Navy Medicine is making in global health diplomacy in areas around the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan.
"We are committed to helping bolster Afghanistan's medical capability, as well as, many other places around the world," said Robinson. "Our global medical partnerships are important to us as they are critical to helping us preserve stability in these regions. We have seen tremendous success in this area in multiple parts of the world and will remain steadfast in our commitment to them."
The annual Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition brings together the U.S. defense industrial base, private-sector U.S. companies and key military decision makers in a forum where open discussion and interaction is encouraged.
This year's event features more than 150 exhibits, five professional development seminars, daily floor speaker sessions, and the new Maritime Energy pavilion where speakers will discuss the current and future energy initiatives of the sea services.
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