Pentagon to extend troop movement freeze to June 30
Defense Secretary Mark Esper will extend the travel ban on service members to June 30, more than a month past when it was set to end, the Pentagon’s top personnel official said Saturday.
The new order will be effective on Monday, and Esper will formally review the policy every 15 days to see if the date can be moved up “while aligning with President Trump’s opening up America again guidelines,” Matthew Donovan, undersecretary for personnel and readiness, told reporters.
The original 60-day stop-movement order — which applies to all U.S. forces, civilian personnel and families — was put in place last month in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus among troops. That order was set to expire May 11.
Donovan said the new order, which has yet to be signed, will include eased restrictions, with more exemptions allowed as the military prepares for numerous permanent change-of-station moves.
He estimated roughly 100,000 people will be moved this summer. Details on which restrictions will be eased were not provided.
Travel for recruiting and entry-level training is also allowed, as is travel for medical reasons.
As of Friday, there were nearly 3,000 recorded cases of coronavirus among service members, as well as another 1,863 cases among Defense Department civilians, contractors and dependents.