An ever-expanding global military mission necessitates quick and accurate identification of biological hazards, whether naturally occurring or man-made. Coupled with an ever-present threat of biological attack, an expanded U.S. presence in worn-torn locations like Southwest Asia presents unique public health challenges. We must heed modern day "lessons learned" from Operation Desert Shield and the Soviet Afghanistan Campaign and guard against rapid incapacitation of troop strength from endemic disease and biological attack. To minimize readiness impacts, field hygiene is enforced, and research on better medical countermeasures such as antibiotics and vaccines continues. However, there are no preventions or remedies for all military-relevant infectious diseases or biological agents. A deployable, streamlined, self-contained diagnostic and public health surveillance laboratory capability with a reach-back communication is critical to meeting global readiness challenges. Current deployable laboratory packages comprise primarily diagnostic or environmental sample testing capabilities. Discussion will focus on critical components needed to improve existing laboratory assets, and to facilitate deployment of small, specialized packages far forward. The ideal laboratory model described will become an essential tool for the Combatant or Incident Commander to maintain force projection in the expeditionary environment.