Health Care: LT. GEN. RONALD J. PLACE
DIRECTOR, DEFENSE HEALTH AGENCY, FALLS CHURCH
Place oversees a Department of Defense agency responsible for providing a medically ready force during peace and war. For Place, that includes leading a staff of nearly 140,000 and overseeing a budget of more than $54 billion.
Place has directed the Defense Health Agency since September 2019, leading it through a worldwide pandemic, including reports of vaccine resistance among some troops. As of late 2021, the agency reported more than 95% of the country’s 1.4 million active-duty troops had received at least one dose of vaccines against COVID-19 as mandatory deadlines loomed.
Place has also been responsible for the agency’s efforts to assume authority of military medical and dental treatment facilities from the various service departments to the DHA; the agency is now in the process of bringing overseas facilities under its control. DHA also manages the TRICARE health benefit for 9.6 million beneficiaries.
Place deployed to Afghanistan as a combat surgeon in October 2001. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of South Dakota, his medical degree from Creighton University and a master’s degree from the National War College.