WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – A Rhode Island lawmaker says the United States military should be activated to assist the nation as it grapples with the coronavirus outbreak.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said the military can help build field hospitals, mobile medical units and utilize unfilled beds in military hospitals. He said military resources can make all the difference, especially during unprecedented times like this.
Vice President Mike Pence said the country’s coronavirus taskforce is considering all options.
“The president has tasked us to evaluate, make available and to consider every request from governors for either field hospitals, expanding facilities or the Army Corps of Engineers that could retrofit existing buildings,” Pence said.
On Monday, Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs said deploying the military is always challenging, but can be done.
“Our deployable hospitals range in size and range in capabilities, and are very much focused and designed to take care of those in combat,” he said.
Experts like Kelly Magsamen, vice president for national security and international policy for the Center for American progress, say the military is ready and willing to serve, but can’t lose sight of their daily mission to defend the country.
“The Department of Defense doesn’t have the luxury to just hit the pause button on all of the overseas threats,” Magsamen said. “But it’s really incumbent on the Defense Department leadership to actually activate the department in support of a national effort.”
Right now, National Guard troops are assisting five states and more troops could be deployed to other communities soon.
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