Many Navy physicians serving on board ship or in remote, unsupervised billets are undertrained and must be phased out of such assignments, Defense Department medical officials have announced.
The move to upgrade physician quality was ordered by Dr. Edward Martin, acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. He concluded the military no longer can risk having undertrained doctors provide unsupervised care. The doctors in question are called general medical officers (GMOs). There are roughly 1,500 on active duty, mostly in the Navy and Air Force. They serve primarily on ships, with Fleet Marine Force units, in undersea medicine, or as flight surgeons.
GMOs are medical school graduates who spend only one year as interns. That single year of graduate medical education is far short of the training required to be a board-certified physician. At least 11 states will not even grant a license to doctors with so little training.