Application of Medical Intelligence Prep of the Environment: A Review of Operational Vignettes

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Caci JB 15(4). 117 - 124 (Journal Article)

Medical intelligence is an underused or sometimes misapplied tool in the protection of our Soldiers and the execution of nonkinetic operations. The somewhat improved infrastructure of the operational environment in Iraq and Afghanistan led to an inevitable sense of complacency in regard to the threat of disease nonbattle injury (DNBI). The picture changed somewhat in 2010 with the advent of the village stability program and the establishment of SOF camps in austere locations with degraded living situations rife with exposure risks. In addition, the increasing deployments to unstable locations around the globe, reminiscent of typical Special Operations Forces (SOF) missions before the Global War on Terrorism, indicate a need for better preparation for deployment from the standpoint of disease risk and force health protection. A knowledge gap has developed because we simply did not need to apply as stringent an evaluation of DNBI risk in environments where improved life support mitigated the risk for us. The tools necessary to decrease or even eliminate the impact of DNBI exist but they must be shared and implemented. This article will present four vignettes from current and former SOF Force Health Protection personnel starting with a simple method of executing Medical Intelligence Prep of the Environment (MIPOE) and highlighting situations in which it either was or could have been implemented to mitigate risk and decrease the impact on mission accomplishment and individual operators. A follow-on article will present vignettes of the successful application of MIPOE to nonkinetic operations.

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