With six of the seven members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff quarantining at home due to the coronavirus, the Pentagon is insisting that military readiness has not been affected, The Hill reported on Sunday.
“The Joint Chiefs and I remain in constant communication while in quarantine and the chain of command remains the same,” Chairman Gen. Mark Milley wrote on the Joint Staff Twitter account.
“There has been no impact on our ability to effectively plan, coordinate and synchronize efforts to defend our nation,” added Milley, who is also quarantining at home.
Milley and other top military leaders are self-quarantining after participating in a meeting last week with Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, according to The Hill.
Also testing positive was Marine Corps’s No. 2 officer, Gen. Gary Thomas, who attended the meeting instead of Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.
The Pentagon said no other top military leaders in the meeting have tested positive.
Critics have raised concerns about why more precautions were not taken to protect the nation’s top military leaders.
But chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman insisted the Department of Defense has been following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “guidelines since April with respect to temperature testing, social distancing, and the wearing of masks to the greatest extent when social distancing is not possible.”
Mackenzie Eaglen, a former congressional adviser on defense now with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said, however, “there is no way to make the optics look better,” saying the various statements put out by the military “signals that they are worried about the projection of even the perception of weakness.”
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