Trump Orders Military Bases To Stop Releasing COVID-19 Infection Numbers
On Monday, Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah revealed in a statement that the military bases and combatant commands are ordered to stop publishing coronavirus case numbers, according to the Hill.
“As we continue to grapple with the novel nature of COVID19, we are constantly assessing and adapting not only how we respond to combatting the virus, but also how we share critical public health information with our communities,” Farah said.
“We will not report the aggregate number of individual service member cases at individual unit, base or Combatant Commands. We will continue to do our best to balance transparency in this crisis with operational security."
Farah said that the Defense Department and military service will still provide daily public release of aggregated case numbers.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Reuters last week that Pentagon is ordered to withhold “mission-specific information” to “protect operational security.”
“What we want to do is give you aggregated numbers. But we’re not going to disaggregate numbers because it could reveal information about where we may be affected at a higher rate than maybe some other places,” he said.
Thomas Modly, Acting Navy Secretary, also announced last week that his service will weigh transparency “against operational concerns as well as privacy concerns.”
And Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly last week told reporters that his service was “trying to be as responsive and transparent as possible” but must weigh that “against operational concerns as well as privacy concerns.”
According to the Hill, 569 active-duty service members have contracted the illness, as had 220 civilian personnel, 190 family members and 64 contractors as of Monday morning.