The US Department of Defense has issued a “stop-movement” order on all deployed military personnel for a minimum of 60-days to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
This order, from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, comes on the heels of continued regulation tightening on both the federal and state levels, all across the United States.
A movement freeze issued for all deployed members of the armed forces directs every member and controlling party to cease the movement of personnel completely, for the designated time-frame.
“Approximately 90,000 Service Members slated to deploy or redeploy over the next 60 days will likely be impacted by this stop movement order,” reads the press release by the DOD.
These measures have been put in order to stem the spread of COVID-19. Parties in question, currently overseas, are at high risk of spreading the virus should infection break through their ranks. In addition, the spread of the virus could be escalated if overseas service members were to return home.
On Tuesday, during a town hall meeting, DOD leaders were asked about the departments response to the spread of the coronavirus, and how it will affect the abilities of the US military.
“I’m fully confident that we will remain prepared to conduct all of our missions,” Esper said. “As this grows in scale and scope … we’re going to have to be very careful and take prudent measures to maintain that readiness.”
“[Coronavirus] could lead to social breakdowns. It could lead to political chaos, in certain countries. And we have to be attuned to that,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley said.
One major exclusion from the stop-movement order issued today is the United States Navy. Given a situation in which navy vessels are in transit for 14 days or more, disembarkment will not be halted.
With the recent deployment of DOD services in USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort to make landfall in Los Angeles and New York City respectively, a forces-wide stop-motion order would cease their relief efforts.
The Department of Defense also stipulated in their update that the drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan is “not expected” to be impacted by today’s order.
“It’s very, very important that we do what the professionals are telling us to do, which is flatten that curve,” added Milley during the town hall. “To do our part, so to speak, in order to reduce the probability and to mitigate the impact of this coronavirus globally, and nationally.”
Mere minutes after publishing their announcement of the stop-movement order, the DoD issued a statement regarding the first confirmed case of coronavirus within the Pentagon.