Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has decided to approve a Joint Chiefs of Staff recommendation to place all U.S. military personnel returning from Ebola response missions in West Africa under a 21-day quarantine. Other than the statement below, issued today by Pentagon press spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, no other information has been released on details of the controlled monitoring of military personnel.
“This morning, Secretary Hagel signed an order that validated a recommendation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to place all U.S. military service members returning from Ebola response efforts in West Africa into a 21-day controlled monitoring regimen,” the statement read. “This order will apply to all military services that are contributing personnel to the fight against Ebola at its source.
“The secretary has also directed that the Joint Chiefs develop, for his review within 15 days, a detailed implementation plan for how this controlled monitoring will be applied across the force that takes into account the size and scope of the logistics required for this effort.
“In addition, the secretary directed that the Joint Chiefs conduct a review of this new regimen within 45 days from now. This review will offer a recommendation on whether or not such controlled monitoring should continue based on what we learn and observe from the initial waves of personnel returning from Operation United Assistance.
“The secretary believes these initial steps are prudent given the large number of military personnel transiting from their home base and West Africa and the unique logistical demands and impact this deployment has on the force. The secretary’s highest priority is the safety and security of our men and women in uniform and their families,” the statement concludes.