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With coronavirus spreading, the US military is dealing with a social-distancing problem

Amid the national effort to respond to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the US military has stepped up to assist as it works to protect its own personnel from the rapid spread of the disease.

Military leaders have scrambled to alter the force’s behavior to insulate their troops, but the nature of the military, that of a massed force working in close quarters, is a limitation on those efforts.

The White House and the Centers for Disease Control have promoted social distancing as a way to halt the spread of the disease, which is thought to be mainly between people within 6 feet of each other. Senior leaders and commanders have said they’re embracing those tactics.

“We are altering exercises, training, and our current day-to-day operations to ensure safety for all,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters Friday, saying that as of 7 p.m. on Thursday the Army had 45 coronavirus cases, including 21 soldiers.

The Army “is a people organization,” used to eating and working out together, McCarthy said, but “to prevent the spread of the virus, we must adhere to the social distancing guidelines of the CDC, such as quarantining and hand-washing.”

US European Command has “approximately 72,000 US uniformed military members, and at this very moment we have approximately 35 reportedly cases of the coronavirus,” Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, head of the command, said Friday morning.

“The measures we are taking are all of those that nations have put in place,” Wolters added. “One of the very effective ones that we believe is helping is social distancing, but all of the practices that you’re familiar with and all of us have read about in the news, we are embracing here in Europe.”

Wolters’ command is also overseeing the reduction of Defender-Europe 20, which was supposed to be the US Army’s biggest exercise in Europe in 25 years but has become one of many exercises to be reduced in size or canceled due to the coronavirus.

In the context of a large, multinational exercise, a disease like coronavirus is “something you’ve got to take the appropriate precautions [for], because it can spread quickly and have an immediate … impact on readiness and health of the force,” retired Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, who led European Command between 2016 and 2019, told Insider this week.

“I think the fact that they’ve limited the exercise, stopped the movement, those kind of things are indicative of that, and [European Command’s] taken the right precautions to ensure that they take care of the force first, as a first priority,” Scaparrotti added.

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Olivia Kroth
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TASS: About 1,000 Baltic Fleet motor rifle troops practice modern warfare tactics in drills — The exercises involve about 1,000 troops and over 70 items of military and special hardware, according to the Fleet’s press office — KALININGRAD, March 23. /TASS/. About 1,000 motor rifle troops from the Baltic Fleet’s army corps are involved in tactical drills with a live-fire exercise in the Kaliningrad Region, the Fleet’s press office reported on Monday. The battalion-level tactical drills “involve about 1,000 troops and over 70 items of military and special hardware, including BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, T-72 tanks, Akatsiya and Gvozdika self-propelled… Read more »

penrose
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penrose

The US military needs to take a long vacation. 250 years might be a good start.

Olivia Kroth
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TASS: Uragan multiple rocket launchers wipe out enemy command posts in Urals drills — The maneuvers involved more than 500 troops and about 100 items of military hardware, according to the Central Military District’s press office — MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. The teams of Uragan multiple launch rocket systems from Russia’s Central Military District eliminated the notional enemy’s dug-in command posts during drills at a training range in the Chelyabinsk Region, the District’s press office reported on Monday. “During the drills’ practical phase, the teams of Uragan multiple launch rocket systems acted jointly with operators of Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicles… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
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TASS: Russian Northern Fleet anti-aircraft gunners eliminate enemy armor in Arctic drills — The Pantsyr-S1 systems in service with the Northern Fleet on Kotelny Island are adapted to low temperatures, according to the Fleet’s press office — MURMANSK, March 23. /TASS/. The combat teams of Pantsyr-S1 surface-to-air missile/gun systems from the Northern Fleet’s tactical force stationed on Kotelny Island of the New Siberian Islands archipelago practiced delivering fire against ground targets during drills, the Fleet’s press office reported on Monday. “The anti-aircraft gunners delivered fire against the targets that simulated a notional enemy’s combat hardware. The mock-ups of armored personnel… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
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TASS: Russian troops eliminate overwhelming enemy forces during drills in Tajikistan — Overall, the exercises involved about 1,000 troops and more than 300 weapon systems, according to the Central Military District’s press office — MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. Motorized infantry, armored and artillery units of the 201st military base eliminated a notional enemy’s overwhelming force during drills in Tajikistan, the press office of Russia’s Central Military District reported on Monday. “Under the drills’ scenario, the notional enemy advanced on foot and on pick-up trucks towards Russian military facilities with the aim of eliminating the combat security force and carrying out… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
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TASS: Russia’s Black Sea Fleet forms crews for latest missile corvettes — The sailors will undergo general training and study technical means and shipboard equipment and armament — MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. The Black Sea Fleet has formed the crews for the latest missile corvettes Graivoron and Tsiklon, the Fleet’s press office reported on Monday. “The Black Sea Fleet has completed forming the crews for the small missile ships Graivoron and Tsiklon currently under construction at Shipyards. The crews are manned with officers and contract servicemen in the relevant military specialties,” the press office said in a statement. The new… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
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TASS: Caspian Flotilla ships kick off drills in southern Russia — The troops will practice various types of warfare both in the daytime and at night — MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. The crews of the Caspian Flotilla’s ships and marine infantry units kicked off joint command and staff drills with troops of Russia’s Southern Military District, the District’s press office reported on Monday. “The personnel of the Flotilla’s units and formations practiced loading supplies onto the ships and motor vehicles while the units of a separate marine infantry regiment prepared to perform a march to the Adanak and Turali training… Read more »

lynette cracknell chaplin
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lynette cracknell chaplin

It is impossible for an army to adhere to social distancing.

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