Impact of Coronavirus on DOD
Pamela Berkowsky is a Fulbright scholar and former Pentagon official with expertise in disaster preparedness and response. As a senior executive consultant to the South Florida Defense Alliance, she has focused on defense innovation and resiliency issues. As the number positive cases of coronavirus continue to grow around the world, the Department of Defense has not been exempt from the impact of this global pandemic. There are widespread effects on the defense industrial base, the civilian & military workforce, contractors, recruiting, installations, training, readiness and operating tempo. It has also put a spotlight on DOD’s role in supporting civil authorities, as the Department’s assets have become a critical part of the nation’s domestic coronavirus response. The President has activated the National Guard in multiple states under Title 32 authority, several governors have activated their Guard units under state authority, the Army Corps of Engineers is building surge hospital facilities in hard hit locations, and the Navy has deployed its hospital ships to the two coasts. The President also issued an order permitting the Pentagon to recall to active duty reservists and veterans to augment the DOD assets already involved in pandemic response. As the number of positive cases continues to increase on deployed ships, DOD installations and contractor facilities, it is likely that DOD involvement in pandemic response in support of civil authority will continue to grow as well, especially in the logistics, transportation, emergency response and medical support arenas.