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December 18, 1996

For Military Medicine, 'Nothing in the World Constant but Inconstancy'

JAMA. 1996;276(23):1859-1861. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540230009004

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CHANGES SWEEPING across medicine in this country are having global implications for US physicians in uniform.

Prevailing opinion, as expressed at the 103rd annual meeting of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS), seems to be that the military part of the medical community is undergoing the most widespread upheaval in its history.

These changes—unprecedented in scope and rapidity—follow the end of the Cold War, speakers at the AMSUS meeting emphasized.

In particular, despite an ongoing reduction in the armed forces' size, facilities, and resources, US military medicine still must care for the troops, their families, and some retirees.

This must be done while US military medicine is supporting more and longer deployments like the now-extended mission in Bosnia, but still remaining prepared to treat casualties in case of combat.

At the same time, the AMSUS speakers note, US military medicine is facing more varied, more widely