Tuesday, March 31, 2020

US Military helping fight Covid-19

How To Join the Military Police in the Marine Corps 

The Corona virus pandemic has created massive changes in our society. It has impacted the way we live, work, and interact with one another, and the scary part is that we haven’t reached the peak of this virus yet. To stop the spread and “flatten the curve,” especially in hot-spots such as New York, California, and Washington, the Trump administration issued an order to activate the National Guard these places. Few weeks later, Governors from the remaining 47 states as well as the Mayor of DC called their national guards in addition to thousands of active duty personnel and reservists. All in all, as of last week, there were nearly 13000 thousand National Guards personnel activated to help in the relief efforts. Presently, the military role is minor, but I anticipate a greater participation in medical efforts, supply chain, and even law enforcement to contain and stop the spread of covid-19. 

Because of the strong organization skills and discipline, the military can provide manpower, organization, and logistics quicker than any organization. They can clean and disinfect common areas or medical facilities, screen and in-process patients at understaffed hospitals, stock shelves if supply chains break down, or support medical personnel and local police if requested. As announced by the DOD, military laboratories and hospital ships will be deployed to help California and New York as their hospital systems are overrun and severely understaffed. 

Moreover, not only can they help but also there’s a possibility they could collaborate with local police to enforce mandatory quarantine and stay-at-home orders if the president ever instituted one. Many countries that have seen progress in containing the spread of the virus (Russian, South Korea) did so by instituting and enforcing nationwide strict stay-at-home and/or curfew orders. If similar measures are taken in the US, I doubt that local police officers alone could enforce them. Obviously, the military cannot be expected to lead the effort, but I think they should be part of the equation as they possess speed and capacity – two things that critical in a pandemic fight. For example, in the past three weeks alone, the National Guard has mobilized more personnel for the covid-19 response than are on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s entire payroll. As the virus spreads and manpower needs increase, the improbable military involvement might be the last resort.

Despite the obvious benefit of military involvement, there are also many downsides. As many critics have pointed, military men and women are trained as police, and thus might find themselves in situation citizens’ rights are violated or in situation where they are unsure what kind of force to use. Nevertheless, though improbable, we must prepare ourselves for a similar as it’s been done before and may as well happen again.

Source: Washington Post & NY Times

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