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US military says virus pandemic has no impact on operations

/ 07:13 AM March 28, 2020

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 24: Members of the California National Guard 115th Regional Support Group help pack boxes of fruit and other food at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley on March 24, 2020 in San Jose, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has deployed the California National Guard to help distribute food at food banks across the state that have seen a huge decline in volunteers that usually help sort and pack food for the needy. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

WASHINGTON — U.S. military operations abroad have not been impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, a senior U.S. general said Friday.

“There is no impact on the operations,” said General John Hyten, the vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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“The currently assigned missions that we have across the globe are still being executed with the same rules of engagement and the same construct that we’ve had a month ago or two months ago.”

The U.S. military will “continue to adjust as we get different requirements, but there’s been no impact on those missions due to the coronavirus,” he said.

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Hyten said the number of COVID-19 cases among U.S. forces overseas is “very small,” so “they have not impacted our ability to conduct operations.”

The Pentagon on Wednesday announced a two-month freeze on all planned troop movements around the world, including the deployment and the return home of personnel in theaters of war, in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

As of Friday the Pentagon reported 652 cases of COVID-19 among its military and civilian employees, and among Pentagon contractors. One contractor and a military spouse have died from the virus.

There are some 1.3 million military personnel on active duty, as well as 450,000 National Guard volunteers and some 600,000 reservists.

/MUF

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