Military on COVID-19 Readiness
The Defence Secretary has recently announced that the Ministry of Defence (MOD), will put an additional 10,000 military personnel on a higher state of readiness.
The MOD will also be placing reserves on standby to support public services as part of a new “COVID Support Force”.
Such actions will be taken in a timely way and at the request from government or civil authorities that request support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Limited Military Intervention
So far the military invovlement has been minimal, assissting with repatriation flights from China and Japan. They have also been providing specialist miliaty planners to Local Resillience Forums who are providing support to public services, local authorities and emergency services.
Alongside these measures, the MOD can now announce that futer preparations are underway to help support public services if required, these measures include:
- Up to 10,000 additional personnel will be placed at a state of rediness, so that they are able to assist and support public services. This is on top of the current 10,000 already on alert.
- 150 military personnel will be trained to drive oxygen tankers in order to support the NHS, if required. Training shall commence from Monday.
- Measures have already been taken to enable the call out for Reservists, should they be required
- On a scientific level, scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are support Public Health England’s (PHE) effort to understand and tackle the virus head on.
Speaking, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
The men and women of our armed forces stand ready to protect Britain and her citizens from all threats, including COVID-19. The unique flexibility and dedication of the services means that we are able to provide assistance across the whole of society in this time of need.
“From me downwards the entirety of the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces are dedicated to getting the nation through this global pandemic.”
Most recent the government has called upon the army to help local authorities with flooding, giving them well-rehearsed mechanisms.
The military is fully engaged with other government departments to fully understand how best it can support the ongoing COVID-19 crisis over the coming weeks and, if necessary, months.
Major General Charlie Stickland Assitance Chief of the Defence Staff Operations and Commitments said:
“Putting more personnel at a higher state of readiness and having our Reserves on standby gives us greater flexibility to support public services as and when they require our assistance.
“The COVID Support Force, potentially drawing upon our highly skilled scientists at Defence Science and Technology and Laboratory or oxygen tanker drivers, will form part of a whole force effort to support the country during its time of need. Our servicemen and women are committed to maintain our operational output and delivering any support the government requires.”