U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, Chairman of the Joint Staff U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramon “CZ” Colon-Lopez conducted a virtual town hall on Tuesday, providing an overview of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the U.S. military.

Esper outlined three primary objectives for the DOD during the pandemic, the top being the protection of U.S. forces, dependents, contractors and civilians. He further provided a summary of the DOD’s contribution to the COVID-19 response: deploying national guardsmen, setting up Army field hospitals, deploying Navy hospital ships, as well as vaccine and therapeutic treatment research at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

In general the Secretary of Defense deferred to the CDC’s best practices for hygiene and accurate coronavirus information. Furthermore Esper warned about online rumors about COVID-19, saying the DOD will soon be launching a website to dispel online misinformation.

As far as with the Pentagon’s work plan moving forward, he said that would be determined on how the response to coronavirus unfolds. “We’re going to telework as long as necessary,” said Esper. “To ensure we’re beyond the coronavirus crisis. It’s going to be weeks for sure, maybe months.”

Photo by DoD // Lisa Ferdinando