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Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Official photo for Dr Lester Martinez LopezThe Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD[HA]) is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD[P&R]) for all Department of Defense health and force health protection policies, programs, activities, and the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. In carrying out these responsibilities, the ASD(HA) exercises authority, direction, and control through the Defense Health Agency over the DOD medical and dental personnel authorizations and policy, facilities, programs, funding, and other consolidated resources.


The ASDHA ensures the effective execution of the DOD medical mission, providing and maintaining readiness for medical services and support to members of the Military Services, their families and others entitled to or eligible for DOD medical care and benefits. Learn more about ASDHA responsibilities and functions in DOD Directive 5136.01.


Promote more effective and efficient health operations through enhanced enterprise-wide shared services.

  • Deliver more comprehensive primary care and integrated health services using advanced patient-centered medical homes.
  • Coordinate care over time and across treatment settings to improve outcomes in the management of chronic illnesses.
  • Match personnel, infrastructure, and funding to current missions, future missions, and population demand.
  • Establish more inter-Service standards/metrics, and standard process to promote learning and continuous improvement.
  • Create enhanced value in military medical markets using an integrated approach in 5-year business plans.
  • Align incentives with health and readiness outcomes to reward value creation.

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Last Updated: July 11, 2023
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