Strategists from the Defense Department are working on how to best return to normal operations following the Corona Virus pandemic, according to Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Rath Hoffman.
Due to the very essence of military operations being a full time, 24-hour operation, shutting down is not an option Hoffman said at a Pentagon news conference on Friday, April 24th. However, exercises had been curtailed, training was limited and movement of personnel was halted among other measures in an effort to help flatten the curve of Corona Virus infections.
“We’ll be evaluating many different areas,” Hoffman said. “One is training — how are we protecting our trainees, and how are we keeping the pipeline full? We’re continuing to look at that, continuing to adopt and adapt so that we can pursue full training classes in the future. Planners at the U.S. Transportation Command are working hard to figure out how to optimally move personnel to their next duty stations and ports.
The stop-movement order goes until June 30 and is being followed closely by Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper. “But once it is lifted — and the secretary is reevaluating that every 15 days — how are we going to deal with the backlog of individuals that need to move throughout the world?” Hoffman said.
DOD has done a good job of protecting strategic forces, Hoffman said, but officials are still evaluating the process to see if there aren’t better ways to do this in the future.
“We’ll be evaluating many different areas,” he said. “One is training — how are we protecting our trainees, and how are we keeping the pipeline full? We’re continuing to look at that, continuing to adopt and adapt so that we can pursue full training classes in the future.”
The virus will still be around in the future, therefore, DOD planners are looking at the testing program, and officials are putting the final touches on the system it will employ and getting the supplies that will be needed. DOD scientists and doctors are also heavily involved in developing a vaccine and for treatment protocols for Corona Virus, Hoffman said. “We’re going to be doing that for months and months going forward,” he added.
The DOD is also interested in replenishing the stockpile of equipment within the industrial base in case of future crises, and to produce more equipment for the Corona Virus fight, he said.
The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort will soon leave New York City, Hoffman stated. The medical ship will return to its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, to restock and get ready for another mission, if needed. “We’ll be looking to [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] to identify where that next location is; they are the federal government’s lead on this, and so they’re the ones who will be tasking us,” he said.
Hoffman claimed “modest progress” in mitigating the virus in the epicenter of the Nation’s crisis, calling that “a welcome sign.” The rate of infections in New York is declining, he noted, adding that there are still many places where this is not the case, and that the department stands ready to assist.
As of today, we have more than 60,000 personnel deployed nationwide, including 4,400 medical professionals on the front lines,” Hoffman said.