Trump issues order to bring former troops back to active duty to assist in coronavirus response
26 mins ago
President Trump issued an order Friday night that permits the Pentagon to bring former U.S. troops and members of the National Guard and Reserve back to active duty to augment forces already involved in the U.S. military’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, senior U.S. officials said.
Alex Brandon/AP President Trump speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on Friday.
Trump signed an executive order that allows Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper to order units and individual members “and certain Individual Ready Reserve” members, Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement released just after midnight on Saturday morning. The Individual Ready Reserve comprises former active-duty and reserve service members, who are commonly considered out of the military and rarely recalled.
Hoffman, who could not be reached for comment early Saturday, said that decisions about which people may be activated are still being reviewed. The statement did not address whether anyone will be involuntarily recalled.
“Generally, these members will be persons in Headquarters units and persons with high demand medical capabilities whose call-up would not adversely affect their civilian communities,” Hoffman’s statement said.
Before relying on any National Guard Reserve forces, Esper and the Department of Health and Human Services will consult with state officials, Hoffman added. Governors have control of their own National Guard forces in most cases.
Slide 1 of 50: US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (C) and Representatives Kevin McCarthy (L) and Steny Hoyer show the bill to the press after the House passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill, on March 27, 2020, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC - The House approved by a voice vote a $2.2 trillion rescue package, the largest economic stimulus package in American history, to aid a US economy and health care system battered by the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo by
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The world is battling the COVID-19 outbreak that the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, which has claimed more than 20,000 lives and infected more than 500,000 people around the world.
(Pictured) US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (C) and Representatives Kevin McCarthy (L) and Steny Hoyer show the bill to the press after the House passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill, on March 27 at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C.
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General view of Park Avenue from 28th Street uptown after it was announced that some streets will be shut as lockdown continues in response to the coronavirus outbreak on March 27 in New York City.
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People leave a food distribution center in Boston on March 27.
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The USNS Mercy enters the Port of Los Angeles on March 27. The The 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship is expected to help take the load off Los Angeles area hospitals as they treat coronavirus patients.
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Joe Coover monitors his 3D printer as it produces a protective mask that he will give out for free to combat coronavirus disease in Oklahoma City on March 27.
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A sign with corrected spelling, tells visitors the playground at the Community Park is closed until further notice due to COVID-19 on March 27 in Zelienople, Pennsylvania.
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Members of the National Guard gather at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which is being turned into a hospital to help fight coronavirus cases on March 27 in New York City.
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A sign warning against COVID-19 is seen in front of a closed restaurant on March 27 in Phoenix, Arizona.
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A flag that reads "#We Got This Seattle" flies on the roof of the Space Needle on March 26 in Seattle.
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A sign displays a message outside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center which is being partially converted into a temporary hospital in Manhattan on March 26.
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Juliette rings a "closing bell" as NYSE-AMEX floor traders work in an off-site trading office they built when the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) closed, in Brooklyn on March 26.
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California National Guard troops package food bags to assist elderly volunteer workers in home confinement on March 26 in Indio.
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Dax Davis plays during a daycare for children of healthcare workers and first responders at Midway Elementary School, with regular hand washing breaks in the schedule on March 26 in Des Moines.
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A warning sign at Whitehall Terminal warns ferry riders to practice social distancing while commuting in Manhattan on March 26.
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Empty barbecue grills are seen on a sunny day at Jones Beach State Park on March 26 in Nassau County.
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Oriole Park at Camden Yards is closed on what would've been Opening Day on March 26 in Baltimore. The Orioles were slated to host the New York Yankees at the park, but the season has been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
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A large sign encourages people to practice social distancing by standing six feet apart as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, outside the Brooklyn's Prospect Park in New York on March 26.
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President Donald Trump speaks as Vice President Mike Pence looks on during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in the White House on March 26 in Washington, D.C.
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A worker sews face masks at SugarHouse Industries on March 26 in Midvale, Utah. SugarHouse Industries, a Utah company that usually manufactures boat tops and covers, has reconfigured its operation amid the spread of the coronavirus to produce face shields and masks.
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Super Shoes in Manchester, New Hampshire is closed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis on March 26.
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The New York Public Library is closed due to the spread of the coronavirus on March 26 in New York City.
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The Holland America cruise ship Maasdam pulls into San Diego Bay enroute to docking at B Street Pier on March 26 in San Diego, California. The Maasdam was denied permission to dock and disembark in Hawaii due to fears passengers may have the coronavirus forcing it to continue on to San Diego in order to allow passengers to get off.
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An Iowa Department of Transportation digital sign displays a message over a highway in response to the spread of COVID-19 on March 26 in Des Moines, Iowa.
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A view of an unusually quiet Copley Square on March 25 in Boston, Massachusetts. A “stay at home” order was put into effect by Governor Charlie Baker in an attempt to slow the coronavirus.
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The statue of Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson is shown outside Nationals Park, home to the World Series Champion Washington Nationals, which looks deserted on the date which was previously scheduled for Opening Day, on March 26, in Washington, DC.
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Pine Glen Elementary School teachers wave to their students as they take part in a car parade through their school district, in Burlington, Massachusetts, on March 26.
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Jaime Casady uses an electrostatic sprayer to disinfect a shop in Seattle, Washington on March 26.
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People stand in line to get tested for the coronavirus at Elmhurst Hospital Center in the Queens borough of New York City, on March 26.
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An aerial view shows the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, shortly before sunset, with lighter than normal traffic, on March 25, in Los Angeles, California.
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In this image from video, the final vote of 96-0 shows passage of the $2.2 trillion economic rescue package in response to the pandemic, passed by the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on March 25.
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President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on the coronavirus, outbreak flanked by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (R) and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House in Washington, D.C on March 25.
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A sign is shown at the Salt Lake City International Airport Wednesday on March 25 in Salt Lake City. Many airline flights are nearly empty as virus undercuts travel.
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A man has his temperature taken at a control point on a covered footbridge to be screened for symptoms before entering the Dell Deton Medical Center at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas on March 25.
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A man crosses the unusually quiet Hollywood Boulevard near the shuttered Pantages Theatre as the coronavirus pandemic continues on March 25 in Los Angeles.
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Exterior of the Dodgers Stadium on the eve of Major League Baseball's opening day which has been postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus on March 25 in Los Angeles.
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A police officer mans the entrance to a coronavirus testing center in Hansen Dam Park on March 25 in Pacoima, California.
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Dylan Kyriacopoulos, left, and his fiance Mary Williams visit an empty Lincoln Memorial in Washington on March 25. Officials have urged Washington residents to stay home to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
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People stand apart at a closed ticket counter at Grand Central Station on March 25 in New York City.
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A man bikes past boarded up businesses while walking his dog on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 25.
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Medical personnel are silhouetted against the back of a tent before the start of coronavirus testing in the parking lot on March 25 in Tampa, Fla. The testing is being done by appointment only.
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Pedestrians keep their distance in downtown Portland, Maine, just hours before a stay-at-home order goes into effect on March 25 to close all but essential workplaces in the city.
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A Florida Army National Guard looks on as people get tested for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing center at Marlins Park on March 25 in Miami.
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A woman takes a picture of a sign in front of the closed Department of Labor on March 25 in New York.
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Lobsang Tseten meditates and practices breathing exercises alone to maintain social distancing at a playground, on March 25, in New York.
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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talks briefly with reporters after arriving at the U.S. Capitol with White House Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on March 24 in Washington, D.C.
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Firefighters, police officers and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) respond to a medical call amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Seattle, Washington on March 24.
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Beach access has been closed after the announcement of a lockdown in Del Mar, California on March 24.
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Coba the Spectacled Owl is brought to see the Humboldt penguins while the zoo is closed to visitors, which will cause a $1.9 million loss, at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on March 24.
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Stay home, Ohio. Stop COVID-19 sign is seen in Dayton, Ohio on March 24.
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Medics clean their equipment after transporting a patient into Life Care Center of Kirkland. The long-term care facility is linked to confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, in Kirkland, Washington, on March 24.
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“As this is a dynamic situation, we do not currently have a projected number of expected activations, but the Department is now fully authorized to make activations as needed,” Hoffman said. “We will provide updates as they become available.”
The executive order, released by the White House, states that anyone recalled can remain on active duty for up to 24 months straight.
The Pentagon already has dispatched its two Navy hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy, to New York and Los Angeles, respectively, and deployed Army hospital units to other locations. The hospital ships are heavily staffed with military reservists.
Earlier this week, the Army sent a message to some veterans who served in medical fields to ask whether they would be interested in serving in the coronavirus response. Service officials were interested in people who previously served in eight jobs: critical care officer, anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist, critical care nurse, nurse practitioner, emergency-room nurse, respiratory specialist and medic.
“When the Nation called — you answered, and now, that call may come again,” wrote Lt. Gen. Thomas C. Seamands.