The US Army has launched a blood drive in a bid to guarantee the stocks needed to fight a war with China.
Military chiefs have ordered a complete overhaul of their supply chains to reduce dependence on the civilian population and foreign allies.
The American Red Cross warned last month that stocks in the US have plunged 25 per cent to ‘critically low levels’, with younger people less likely to donate.
Now Army brass has set about ensuring they will not be caught out by the logistical challenge of maintaining stocks on the other side of the Pacific if hostilities break out with America’s biggest strategic rival.
Major General Paula Lodi, commanding general of the 18th Medical Command warns that securing blood supplies will be a ‘significant challenge for us in our theater’
A U.S. Army Ranger Combat Medic conducts routine medical training during 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment’s task force training August 2019
China’s aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has been an increasingly threatening presence in the South China Sea
‘Blood supply and blood logistics is already challenging,’ said Major Nekkeya McGee of the Armed Services Blood Program.
‘The other part is the manufacturing, getting the products that we need, and people are just not coming out to donate.’
Attempts to secure supplies through agreements with friendly nations in the region is also ‘a big hurdle for us’, she admitted.
‘There are some nations where they want women to donate to women, men to donate to men,’ she explained.
‘And you’ve also got to look at the blood types. The United States has a very heavy O-blood type.’
The Armed Services Blood Program is introducing a new data collection system, called Theater Blood Mobile ‘just to figure out how we can predict the need’, in an operational setting, McGee said.
Many countries also have different safety protocols for the collection of blood donations and the new system is expected to help with ensuring the military know what they are getting.
‘I take that information and that helps me determine should I establish a blood sharing agreement and try to pursue that route? Or do I try to pursue the route of training them how to safely collect blood products?’ McGee told defenseone.com.
They also want to reduce dependence on France where all freeze-dried plasma is currently sent before being returned to the US.
Last year the Army began experimenting with drones to deliver blood and medical supplies during dangerous battlefield scenarios to wounded warriors.
On a training exercise in California led by the US with militaries of other nations, drones dropped simulated blood and other crucial medical supplies to soldiers as part of Project Crimson.
This type of technology would be deployed in circumstances where it wouldn’t be safe to send people on foot for help.
The drone is a vertical landing and take-off aircraft, so it does not need a runway or catapult launch to perform these life-saving missions, according to the Army.
The Rolo ‘walking blood bank’ program allows one soldier to transfer his or her blood to a wounded soldier in just a few minutes on the battlefield.
Johns Hopkins University researchers first demonstrated that blood could be delivered by drone in 2015
That feature allows soldiers to preserve life in the early phase immediately after an injury and help to facilitate transportation to an Army hospital.
‘We’ve got a range of things that we’re doing with blood from research and development with blood products, to blood sharing agreements with our partners,’ Major General Paula Lodi, commanding general of the 18th Medical Command, said on Monday at the AUSA conference.
‘From innovative ways on how to deliver and distribute and store blood on the battlefield, to protocols for expeditionary blood and our walking blood bank programs.
‘All four of those are pillars of how we’re getting after what we know is going to be a significant challenge for us in our theater.’
Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com