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Letter to the Hon. Mark Esper, Secretary of the Dept. of Defense - Haaland Joins Crow On Bipartisan Letter Urging Pentagon to Take All Necessary Steps to Protect Service Members and Military Families During Coronavirus Outbreak


Dear Secretary Esper:

We write to express our strong support to the servicemembers and employees of the Department of Defense (DOD) as you confront the growing threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognize the critical role that the Department serves in providing urgently needed medical care and humanitarian relief to suffering populations across the world. When Japan was wrecked by an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in 2011, more than 18,000 personnel and 140 aircraft supported the subsequent disaster response mission. In the wake of the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, more than 8,000 military and 400 U.S. Public Health Service personnel participated in the DOD-led Operation United Assurance that was integral to halting the epidemic. Now, as our country is bracing for a significant disruption to everyday life and our medical facilities face a daunting healthcare challenge, we expect that the Department of Defense will once again play an indispensable role in our national emergency response effort.

As the Department prepares to face this threat, we request that you take all necessary measures to provide care and support to military families; ensure servicemembers and civilian personnel called upon to provide humanitarian relief have the necessary equipment to safely perform their mission; and mitigate the impact of the virus on our communities. We stand ready to provide additional resources you may require to provide for the health and safety of the American people.