Army eblow bump (Air Force Staff Sgt. Crystal Housman)

DOD’s Esper outlines DOD pandemic response

The defense secretary on Monday outlined the Pentagon’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, and said he is eyeing a phased reopen and possibly more coronavirus stimulus funds to help offset costs to restock medical supplies and equipment used to fight the pandemic.

The Defense Department’s chief management office is mapping out a phased reopening of the Pentagon and other facilities to coincide with the White House's plan released April 16.

"We've remained ahead of the curve at every turn, and I'm very proud of what we've done at this point in time as we start to see some light at the end of the tunnel" DOD Secretary Mark Esper said at a Brookings Institution event May 4.

The military has 2 million service members; fewer than 5,000 have been infected and fewer than 100 have been hospitalized. This is a testament to the overall health of the force and to them following CDC guidance, Esper said. "So, at this point in time, we are in pretty good shape," he said. 

He noted the deployment of the Navy hospital ships, the more than 45,000 National Guardsmen and the more than 2,000 Army Corps of Engineers personnel working to expand hospital capacity. "We have thousands of medical professionals, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists [and] others who are out on the frontlines," he said.

"We want people at work. We want our base at work,” he said.

"We anticipate the likelihood for additional monies coming out if there's a fourth supplemental because we see a greater demand with regard to medical supplies," Esper said.

"We also know that we need to restock our shelves, our inventory when it comes to medical supplies and equipment, but we also want to continue priming the defense industrial base."

Reader comments

Wed, May 6, 2020

Our service organizations and members are absolutely the BEST

Wed, May 6, 2020

Our service organizations and members are absolutely the BEST

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