This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, May 22. It explores what the military has done to combat Covid-19 and how the military has in turn been affected by the virus.
The Department of Defense’s (DoD) deployments to fight the pandemic continue to decline as civilian medical facilities can generally handle the load.
- Deployed active duty personnel are down 17 percent to 8,000 from last week, and reserve personnel are down 37 percent to 520.
- National Guard activations continue to hold steady at 46,000 from the past two weeks.
- Army Corps of Engineers is down to 15 FEMA missions, from 26 last week. The corps has completed 34 of 38 planned alternative care facilities, and its deployed personnel have dropped to 580, down from 605 last week.
Global deployments by Navy and Coast Guard ships continue; deployments by Marine and Army units are planned but still pending.
Defense industry is returning to normal operations but with a few facilities still closed and widespread absenteeism. Absenteeism is caused mainly by a lack of childcare due to closed schools rather than by the disease directly.
It is still unclear what DoD’s role will be in co-leading Operation Warp Speed, the effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. Press releases so far have come from the Department of Health and Human Services.
- May 26: DoD establishes deployment and redeployment procedures. These follow what have become best practices. Before deploying: 14-day isolation, screening, testing, and isolation of infected individuals. Redeploying servicemembers will be screened and, where indicated, isolated for 14 days. Servicemembers will take their own temperatures twice a day. Requirements can be waived in emergencies.
- May 26: The National Guard Association pressed Congress to enact legislation to give National Guard personnel activated for Covid-19 six months of Tricare coverage after their federally-funded Title 32 duty ends.
- May 26: The Air Force graduated its first group of recruits from the recently-activated auxiliary basic training facility at Keesler AFB. Having proven the concept, the Air Force will continue to use the facility, thus allowing more recruits to move through training under pandemic restrictions like social distancing.
- May 27: The saga of the USS Roosevelt continues. The Navy has completed its investigation into actions surrounding the infection aboard ship and the relief of the captain. The investigation results have been turned over to the Chief of Naval Operations but are not known publicly.
- May 28: Boeing began its first non-voluntary layoffs of just under 7,000 employees from its commercial business. However, its defense related components have been relatively protected with fewer than 100 non-voluntary layoffs.
Military Cases of Covid-19
As of Friday, May 29, there have been 14,801 confirmed cases of coronavirus within DoD. Of the current cases, 6,278 were military service members, 1,475 dependents, 1,083 civilians, and 613 contractors. 428 of these cases required hospitalization, and there have been 36 deaths (up from 32 last week). 5,316 have recovered. How DoD cases have been trending over time is broken down below, by total cases; active cases in the DoD; and across the military services.
Covid-19 Response: Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Personnel Trends
Army Corps of Engineers: Covid-19 Mission and Personnel Trends
FEMA Mission Assignments: 15 open (down from a high of 51). 49 of these missions are now closed.
Alternate Care Facilities (ACFs): 38 contracts awarded, of which 34 are complete.
This weekly update is made possible by the International Security Program at CSIS.
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)