Defense Health Horizons (DHH) develops and delivers timely and insightful briefings, options analyses and other strategic and analytical tasks on request for Department of Defense (DoD) and Military Health System (MHS) decision makers. We are a resource entirely dedicated to addressing the administrative, population health, and clinical challenges facing the DoD and focus our efforts on advancing the goals of the MHS and the beneficiaries it serves. We are comprised of a small staff that creates high-impact ideas, policy recommendations, and suggestions to reduce challenges that may serve as barriers for policy adoption.

We were established in 2014 at the request of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA)) to recommend ideas and policy options to assist the ASD(HA), the Service Surgeons General, and the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to achieve the objectives of the MHS quadruple aim: readiness, population health, experience of care, and lower healthcare costs.

We benefit from the guidance of the DHH Steering Committee composed of nationally recognized experts in health systems design, patient safety, and innovation and includes clinicians, academics, and administrators from civilian and military sectors. We are a joint activity between Uniformed Services University (USU) and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF). DHH is funded through HJF while USU provides the infrastructure that includes faculty, staff, and trainees who can support the efforts of DHH.





Defense Health Horizons examines issues of relevance to the MHS and the services it supports. DHH is a DoD-sponsored policy analysis group organized to produce quick turnaround (generally 90 - 120 days) reports requiring limited resource investment. We provide leaders and policymakers with several potential courses of action and the likely consequences of each.

The DHH approach involves the following steps:

  1. Identification of an issue or relevance to the DHA/MHS by a leader within the DHA/MHS
  2. DHH receipt of a request to examine the issue
  3. Review by DHH staff and steering committee
  4. Identification and engagement of SMEs to consult on the project
  5. Research and documentation of the issue and potential courses of action
  6. Review by the DHH steering committee
  7. Finalization of the report and dissemination to DHA/MHS leadership



We collaborate with internal and external experts to research MHS opportunities for improvement. We identify, develop, and deliver quick turnaround (90 - 120 days) reports with 3-4 recommended courses of action with potential consequences in response to questions about issues the MHS is facing. We study trends, analyze the data, and summarize the findings in succinct reports that enable leaders to make informed decisions.


Despite its critical role assuring the health of the men and women who protect our nation, the military health system is poorly understood by the civilian health sector and by the policymakers charged with overseeing civilian health programs. Military and civilian systems face similar challenges regarding effective use of personnel, efficient organization of services, and surge capacity, and promoting population health. The military health system also faces particular challenges that warrant additional attention, such as managing readiness and balancing direct provision of care with purchased care. DHH sponsored the journal Health Affairs military thematic issue published in Summer 2019. By subjecting analysis of the military health system to peer review, and placing a spotlight on issues facing the military health system, this journal issue helped set the course for innovation and improvement in the MHS well into the future.



USU students and trainees can serve as part of the team to address important issues within the MHS. Students participate in reviewing evidence from the literature, collecting information relevant to the project, participating in team meetings, summarizing information, and drafting the final report. We welcome participation from students of various backgrounds and areas of specialty.

Two of the past projects that included student involvement were projects exploring options for GME structure in the MHS, and the projects that explored women’s reproductive health concerns.

Interested in participating? Contact us!