By Buddy Blouin
The military is an inherently dangerous profession. Even if you never see the battlefield, you’ll be pushing your body and mind to the limits to transform into the best version of yourself, should your need to answer the call. From training-related injuries to general healthcare for military members and their families, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) helps ensure everyone is receiving the right healthcare for their needs.

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What Is the Defense Health Agency?

The Defense Health Agency is an organization that was created by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in 2013 to provide military members, their families, and other eligible personnel, such as Veterans, with healthcare services. Its creation was part of a larger effort to revamp and improve healthcare for the military community. Today, the DHA manages the Military Health System (MHS), which consists of over 70 hospitals and clinics internationally.

Its History and Purpose

The inception of the DHA by the DoD was part of the military’s effort to improve healthcare services for military members, their families, and Veterans. In 2018, a four-year transition period began to gain more control over the DoD’s 400+ medical facilities. Today, the DHA is a joint effort for all branches of the military, providing affordable, quality healthcare for those eligible. It continues to advance integration and innovation and ensure that America’s military is medically ready for whatever duty they may be called upon. Featuring a workforce of around 140,000 worldwide, both civilians and military personnel come together to ensure the DHA completes its mission. Some of its core functions include:
  • Managing military health facilities.
  • Assisting with combat support.
  • Delivering the TRICARE Health Plan to 9.6 million beneficiaries.
  • Rolling out and operating MHS Genesis.
  • Training and education for better health.

2023 Is Ushering in New Leadership

Nearly a decade after its creation, the DHA is still going strong. Now, Defense Health Agency leadership will continue to maximize its healthcare services as Maj. Gen. Telita Crosland, an Army General, is taking charge. Crosland is succeeding Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place after his retirement in December 2022. She previously served as the Army's Deputy Surgeon General, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and was the head of the Army Medical Department at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. "General Crosland has shown exactly the kind of perseverance, dedication, and excellence that will serve her, and us, so well in her new position," said the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Seileen Mullen. One of the first hurdles Crosland will have to overcome is overseeing the so far troubled transition of all military health facilities to MHS Genesis, an electronic health records system that has had issues being implemented throughout its rollout. "I'm thankful for this opportunity and grateful to this team, and excited about partnering with our surgeons general, our industry partners, and our patients during a dynamic period in health care. I love what we do in our military health system in service to our country and those we are privileged to serve,” said Maj. Gen. Crosland. Her legacy on top of the Defense Health Agency organizational chart is yet to be written, but if history is any indication, the organization is in the right hands. Crosland’s experience, passion, and skill are all the perfect complements to deliver on a difficult mission to provide top-notch healthcare to the military community.

Does Defense Health Agency Oversee Special Ops?

No, the DHA isn’t involved in special operations. The organization is focused on delivering healthcare to the U.S. military. Defense Health Agency jobs pertain to the health sector and are critical components in ensuring our nation’s fighting force is ready to go. In conclusion, the Defense Health Agency helps the military community heal and prevent negative health effects with the best healthcare possible at an affordable cost for those fighting, their families, and Veterans.

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Image: OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff




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