The Army Medical Department (AMEDD).
Medical programs for armies, from antiquity to the present, have been designed and operated to prevent physical and mental diseases and disabilities, and to preserve and promote health among all personnel essential to the military effort. With varying degrees of potential efficacy, conditioned by the state of knowledge and by the enterprise of leaders and their followers, these programs have provided for the application of measures of control not only in strictly military situations but also in civilian populations in the environment of war areas when conditions in such groups were threats to the health of troops or possible hindrances to the progress of campaigns. These programs have been, and must be, intelligent combinations of measures which rest upon the responsibility of the individual person and of public health activities which are the responsibility of the community. .
Military preventive medicine is in fact the public health of the community of the Army. Like civilian preventive medicine, military preventive medicine is the total of all those activities projected to keep well people well, or, as is so often said in the Army situation, to keep the soldier fit to fight. To this end, in the modern view, health is regarded as a positive thing, not to be expected as a gift of nature or of God, but something .
that must be fought for and cherished regardless of cost in order to maintain the fighting efficiency of the Army. Furthermore, as prevention is so much less expensive than curative medicine demanded by outbreaks of disease, a good control program, well operated, saves large sums of money and averts enormous economic losses.
For insight into the characteristics and operations of military preventive medicine, attention must be paid to the influences exerted by the Army's structure and composition, and by its mission, government, and procedures.