How COVID-19 Affects the Readiness of Our Military at Home, Overseas

Michael Wallace, an expert and program director for emergency and security studies in Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement, is a retired Navy intelligence officer and former senior intelligence analyst who worked on the Joint Chiefs of Staff Intelligence Directorate from 2013-2015. 

“We are starting to see the effects of the Coronavirus on the military, but especially on the Navy, Marine Corps and Army (including the National Guard). The most startling example is the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is currently docked in Guam and quarantining the majority of its crew. For strategic purposes, this means that the commander of the Indo-Pacific Command has lost an entire aircraft carrier and air wing to respond to aggression acts in the Pacific Area.” 

“The virus is affecting areas such as training (boot camp/basic training and pilot training) and intelligence production (you cannot work on classified material at home). Commanders are struggling with ways to keep their personnel healthy, so they can respond to national security emergencies that could arise.”

“The military is also responding to the current crisis by providing medical assistance to many different areas. The hospital ships, USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy, are currently in New York and Los Angeles, respectively, providing support to medical personnel. The military is not specially trained to respond to virus outbreaks. Still, it is providing trauma and other medical aid to relieve the burden on local civilian agencies dealing with the virus.”

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