Battlefield medicine has come a long way. But that progress could be lost

When the U.S. launched its invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s, it had been a decade since a full-scale deployment of American troops.

That's why when the wars started a lot of the medical corps' experience came from big city emergency rooms.

But a few years into the wars, the military was facing hundreds of casualties each month between Afghanistan and Iraq.

Military surgeons were seeing wounds requiring double amputations, the kind of thing you might never encounter before serving in a war zone.

The military was able to turn that real world experience into breakthroughs in battlefield care. Some of them were simple tweaks like pop up surgical teams that set up close to the battlefield.

Over the course of the war, small innovations like this tripled the survival rate for the most critically injured troops, according to one study

Now that the post 9/11 wars have ended, some veteran military doctors say those gains are at risk.

The Pentagon has tried to cut its healthcare costs by outsourcing medical care to the private sector. And that could hurt battlefield medicine in a future war.