WASHINGTON, (BM) – Mark Esper issued an order to cease the movement of the US military, suspending travel and travel abroad for up to 60 days in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus.
This measure is the most ambitious to date in the US military and will affect American troops (forces) around the world. It is due to the fact that the Pentagon recorded 53 new cases of infection of military personnel, reports Reuters.
Esper said the order applies to all US troops, civilian personnel, and their families. However, he noted that there will be some exceptions.
As previously reported by Gazeta.Ru, Washington began to take the first steps of the prohibitive order in mid-March.
It was then that Pentagon officials announced significant restrictions on military personnel and their families around the world. All military personnel, military civil servants and their families traveling to / from places with a widespread disease designated as “warning level 3” (which currently includes Italy, South Korea and China) will “stop moving” for the next 60 days.
In addition, trips to places with “stable transmission”, designated in the USA as “warning level 2”, which currently includes Japan, Bahrain and the UK, will be prohibited for family members of military personnel and civilian personnel for two months. The selection of candidates for civilian and military positions will also be delayed.
In addition, from March 13, all departments and structures of the US Department of Defense must determine whether the official visit of US Department of Defense personnel to places other than those designated for Level 3 health alerts is an important mission. If not, the visit is canceled.
Exceptions will concern only a few cases: firstly, if the trip is defined as important for a particular mission; secondly, it is necessary for humanitarian reasons; thirdly, justified due to extreme difficulties.
The authority to approve these exceptions is vested in the respective US Air Force commanders.
The fight against coronavirus in the United States is not just about healthcare. In a pandemic, the Pentagon calls for “increased vigilance” regarding foreign investment. About this writes Defense News.
A senior Pentagon official is concerned that opposing countries in the United States may use the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic to acquire US-made technology.
In the past few years, the Pentagon has increasingly spoken out about fears that foreign nations, primarily China, are investing in US startup companies, whose technology can be essential to the national security of the United States. These startups were willing to accept Chinese funds in exchange for Beijing acquiring ownership or access to certain technologies.
U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Provision Ellen Lord and U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy Jen Santos spoke unanimously of these new threats – but only in general terms.
“I think that recent events provide great opportunities for attacks in this area. There is some uncertainty, at least with regard to small enterprises, in particular, regarding the continuation of the implementation of their contracts,” said Lord about the situation in the US military-industrial complex in a pandemic.
Treas Stevens, a venture capital fund partner and co-founder of Anduril Technologies, believes China is likely to try to take advantage of the economic downturn in the United States.
“Financing conditions in the USA, especially without a clearly formulated plan that goes beyond the principle of “day by day”, will not be good for companies that have difficulty working capital. China is likely to have good opportunities to take advantage of this situation,” he said, adding that if the defense ministry concentrates on supporting primarily the main US defense enterprises, this could exacerbate the problem.
The Pentagon is trying to counter China’s economic influence in two main ways. The first is the use of the US Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS), which is a protective tool that allows the US government to block foreign investment for reasons of national security.
Secondly, such a tool, while still in its early stages, is the Trusted Capital Marketplace program. As part of this plan, searches are being made for “patriotic investors.” It is assumed that they will invest in support of those companies that fill the gaps in the development of weapons identified by the US Department of Defense. For example, small unmanned aerial vehicles.
According to Jen Santos, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, two events have been held over the past few weeks that expressed concern that a coronavirus outbreak could affect the work of the United States Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS). At the same time, Santos did not go into any details.
“To protect our industrial base, we have tools to tackle hostile capital, such as expanding national security investment reviews within the United States Foreign Investment Committee, called CFIUS, and these tools are more important than ever,” she said.
“We simply cannot afford to allow this period of uncertainty to result in investments that pose a threat to the national security of the United States,” Santos added.
As for the scale of the pandemic, the number of people infected with a new type of coronavirus exceeded 400 thousand people, more than 18 thousand died. The virus has spread far beyond China, where it was first detected at the end of 2019.
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