Short on COVID-19 Tests, DOD Divides Service Members into Four Priority Groups

Posted on Apr 22, 2020 06:23 pm

Active-duty service members will be divided into four groups to prioritize COVID-19 testing under a DOD policy announced Wednesday.

The first tier is comprised of those considered critical to the nation’s defense, including those fielding and operating nuclear weapons. The Pentagon currently has the capacity to test that group by the end of the month, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist said, according to CQ.

The second-tier service members are those Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten described as “engaged fielded forces around the world.”

Tier three includes forward-deployed and redeploying service members, with the rest of the 1.4 million active-duty service members in the fourth tier.

“Testing by itself does not enable us at this time to improve our readiness and availability,” Hyten said. “However, it is a powerful tool that’s helpful when complying with quarantine and other public health items that can improve our overall force availability.”

The availability of testing kits remains an issue, with about 9,000 tests being conducted each day. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said last week that he hopes 60,000 are being conducted each day by the end of May.

Army photo by Sgt. Deonte Rowell


Post courtesy of the Association of Defense Communities

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