Air Force’s Global S&T Vision

The Air Force’s June 2013 “Global Horizons” report looks at the future for science and technology. The report was created by experts across government, industry, academia, national laboratories, federally funded research and development centers, and international partners to analyze the challenges facing the future for global research and development.

One section discusses the Air Force’s vision for the future pharmaceutical and healthcare sector and points out that the global cost growth of this sector is unsustainable.  The costs are accelerated by the expense and time to bring a new drug to market, the ineffectiveness of breakthrough and block buster drugs, and the rise in age-related and preventable chronic diseases.

According to the report, it is fortunate that there is global proliferation of mobile, sensing, and data technology that has produced the necessary drivers that will transform mobile health, nanomedicine, genomic sequencing, and big data.

The Air Force sees a potential threat with privacy/security in the near term that include malicious biohacking, external control and manipulation by adversaries, genetic and medical identify theft, and the difficulty to keep secrets especially with the use of social media.

However, new opportunities center on being able to monitor, diagnosis, treat, and develop the concept of the medical team to help the caregiver at home.  Opportunities for performance augmentation includes continuous performance feedback for self-improvement and individualized training regimens.

A major recommendation in the report, wants to the Air Force to study how to contribute to the potential savings of over $200 million annually with personalized medicine. The plan would be to analyze the ROI for Type 2 diabetes control by developing and using personalized health and wellness apps along with self- tracking devices. The Air Force would like to see a demonstration program conducted to validate the ROI specific to TRICARE-enrolled beneficiaries.

In the global marketplace, innovations have resulted from international investments. The World Health Organization and the Air Force Air Mobility Command recently deployed the Highly Infectious Patient Isolation Transport Unit that is able to transport, manage, and stabilize biologically contagious patients. The unit is FDA approved, airworthiness certified, and NATO litter compatible.

Also, by leveraging German capabilities, medical personnel are now able to perform extracorporeal membrane oxygenation using a heart-lung bypass device, while simultaneously providing cardiac and respiratory support to treat and transport severely wounded combat casualties.

Go to to view the Global Horizons Final Report (AF/ST TR 13-01 released June 21, 2013.

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