Military and Covid

Joe Valeri, Web Team

How the military, especially those deployed, are dealing with covid has been a question to many since the outbreak started. 

 

For one, travel has changed drastically, it’s not just public transportation. The Department of Defense is basing decisions of deployment locations on how the conditions of specific areas are currently doing. With operations and issues scattered throughout the middle east, the pandemic and deployment problems are taking a huge toll.

 

They’re minimizing risk with pre-deployment and redeployment covid screening. All deploying service members will complete Force Health Protection, which includes screening for exposure, testing for symptoms, and testing for consistency with DOD testing guidance. 

 

The Middle East is being impacted hugely by the virus. When it initially hit, it was during the worst time for the middle east. Since the US led international coalition secured the territorial defeat of ISIS three years ago, the Middle East has yet to achieve lasting peace. With Libya and Yemen in proxy wars and Syria still in a civil war, this is not an ideal time for a pandemic to happen. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions displaced. In Middle Eastern countries like these, the state capacity is non-existent, making the consequences of COVID-19 transformational, expanding reach to other militants and terrorist organizations as well as third party armed sub-state actors. That happening will make the spread to the rest of the middle east far greater and faster, which could be detrimental to those fighting these groups and organizations. Some fill the roles of others that provide services in rural and urban areas, however, coming from contaminated combat zones will be a massive risk towards the communities these soldiers/militants are now relocated to. 

 

Meanwhile, during this pandemic, militants and terrorist groups continue to brutally fight, taking little to no precautions, over resources and land. Not much has changed in the unorganized form of combat. The US, however, has held back as much as possible to redeploy troops. They are taking many precautions unlike terrorist organizations. Sometimes the men have to do their job and are deployed. There is no further information on the different equipment they use. Although, respirators and gas masks are mandatory for all troops to have now, as well as more forms of decontaminates. 

 

The combat side of things hasn’t changed that much since shooting your enemy can’t be changed much in the first place. Soldiers deployed together must now wear masks. In the brutal heat, how can you wear a mask when your life’s on the line? It’s just not ideal. If soldiers are going to urban scenes to fight, they should wear gas masks, not tiny cloth masks. Even that’s not ideal for a combat situation as a gas mask on a soldier’s face makes it a lot harder for them to aim down sights and clear a close quarters combat situation. Soldiers should continue to deploy and do their job the way they were trained to do.