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This may be the most life-threatening, and life-changing, moment for most Americans since the September 11 attacks. The Defense Department has historically played a central role in global pandemic response abroad — most recently, the U.S. response efforts to Ebola in West Africa, Now, it should help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 virus right here at home. There are three ways the department needs to lean in now, with hospital beds, vaccines, and money.
Secretary Mark Esper and senior military leaders have already taken some action to slow the spread of the virus to U.S. troops around the world by focusing first on the health of the force – including robust travel restrictions. While their health and readiness should remain a priority, the department now also needs to begin actively supporting a national response that will more directly mitigate the virus’ impact on the American public, and begin planning for the worst-case scenarios.The above excerpt was originally published in Defense One.