The Department of Defense is trying to figure out how to resume normal operations after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
“We’re eager to fully resume normal operations and are putting plans in place for that transition,” Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, told reporters in Washington on April 24.
Officials are evaluating a number of areas, including training. They want to protect trainees but keep the number of recruits being moved through the system at appropriate levels.
“We’re continuing to look at that, and continuing to adopt and adapt so that we can pursue full training classes in the future,” Hoffman said.
Esper in March ordered a halt on most personnel movement in early March, extending it later in the month to all troops and their families around the world.
Esper’s order originally went into May but was extended to June 30.
Once the order is lifted, Hoffman said, top military officials will reevaluate the situation every 15 days, including looking at how to deal “with the backlog of individuals that need to move throughout the world.”
“It’s a complex issue,” he said.
The military has been involved with clinical trials for possible treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged from mainland China last year. That work will continue, along with efforts to boost the number of tests the military has.
Officials are also looking at the military’s industrial suppliers, making sure the companies can continue to provide crucial equipment. The military will examine how to help the vendors for some of the most critical products.
The Pentagon’s stockpiles of such products, including personal protective equipment such as masks, was drawn down by the distribution of items to states through federal agencies.
“We’re looking at what do we need to do to not only rebuild that stockpile to where we have sufficient supplies for our own use, but where our stockpile needs to be for a future pandemic or future crisis for the department, and then additionally, just ensuring that we have the capability and that our vendors and suppliers can provide that,” Hoffman said.
A final component is analyzing how to assist allies and partners around the world as they deal with the pandemic.
Some changes are in store. One example is potentially adding extra screening time before personnel deploy, such as isolating groups of sailors before they board ships and go to sea.