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Esper: ‘Light at the End of Tunnel but We’re Far from Being Out of the Woods’

Posted on Apr 09, 2020 07:26 pm

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said DOD is taking all steps it can during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect its people, preserve mission capabilities and support the national response. He made the remarks Thursday in a video town hall.

He outlined the steps the military is taking to help in coronavirus response, such as deploying Army field hospitals and Navy relief ships, helping develop potential vaccines, and calling up reservists to backfill medical needs.

Esper also said that there are fewer than 2,000 service members infected with COVID-19 and that those cases are mild to moderate.

“We see some light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re far from being out of the woods,” he said. “These are difficult times, but I’m sure we will get through it together and be more resilient on the other side.”

Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said there is no clear timeline yet on when some activities such as station moves can resume.

“We continue to maintain our top mission. That is making sure the United States remains safe and secure,” Esper said, adding that commanders have maintained mission-readiness. “I am absolutely confident we are able to handle any mission that comes our way.”

DOD photo by Lisa Ferdinando

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Post courtesy of the Association of Defense Communities

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