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Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Defense

March 31, 2020
By David Vergun

DOD Mounts Multifaceted Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The Defense Department is rapidly ramping up its efforts to fight COVID-19 and assist federal, state and local governments in their efforts.

Some of DOD's activities include:

New York

The Army Corps of Engineers alternate care facility, constructed at the Javits Convention Center in New York City, is now fully operational. The temporary hospital can hold up to 2,910 beds, relieving some of the demand placed on local hospitals.

Also, the hospital ship USNS Comfort docked in New York City yesterday and began taking patients today.

The ship's medical team will be providing a broad spectrum of medical care, allowing local hospitals to concentrate their efforts on COVID-19 patients.


The hospital ship USNS Mercy is docked in Los Angeles; the medical team began seeing its first patients March 29.

The ship's personnel care for trauma and acute care patients and can also perform surgeries, freeing local hospitals to focus on COVID-19 patients.

Also in Los Angeles, National Guardsmen are setting up a medical shelter at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Guard has set up two other medical shelters elsewhere in the state.

Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia National Guard members mobilized March 24 to support multiple civilian agencies, including Mayor Muriel Bowser's office, the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Metropolitan Police Department.

The Guard is currently manning street closure checkpoints and will provide support for medical screening, transportation, logistics and other duties, as needed.


The Connecticut National Guard is providing logistical support for the state's health care system by assisting in distribution of personal protective equipment, medical supplies and medical equipment.

The Guard is also erecting shelters with electricity that will be used for COVID-19 patients.

South Carolina

South Carolina National Guardsmen are transporting personal protective equipment and other supplies to the 46 counties in the state to support the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.


Members of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the 111th Attack Wing are supporting the Pennsylvania National Guard in a variety of missions including providing a Montgomery County community-based testing site with medical staff. They are also providing logistics support for the creation of the 250 non-acute-patient Federal Emergency Management Agency medical station at the Glen Mills School, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

Texas and Michigan

The Army Corps of Engineers today began the initial planning and assessment for the possible conversion of existing buildings into alternate care sites throughout the two states. These actions, which are under the direction of FEMA, are part of eight mission-critical assignments to address possible medical facility shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversion projects are expected to cost $1.1 billion.

Across the United States and U.S. Military Abroad

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is helping to deliver 3 million COVID-19 test kit swabs in support of U.S. medical professionals stateside, and military members in Europe.

The Defense Logistics Agency will spend $84.4 million to buy 8,000 ventilators with an initial delivery of 1,400 by early May.

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