- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2014

The Pentagon is slowly expanding its plan to establish a command center in Monrovia, Liberia, to limit the spread of the Ebola virus.

Army officials said Friday that it would send an additional 1,800 troops to the country, bumping up the presence of soldiers participating in Operation United Assistance to 3,200. Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said during a press conference at the Pentagon that military officials are prepared to send up to 4,000 soldiers to Liberia.

The Army initially announced Tuesday that it would send 1,400 soldiers, most of them hailing from the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, along with combat engineers from other units to support a new headquarters in the Ebola-ravaged region of Africa.

That first batch of troops will now be joined by 1,800 soldiers from various bases throughout the country.

Soldiers who have been tapped for Operation United Assistance will have received immunizations for chickenpox, influenza, hepatitis, yellow fever and others prior to their October deployment, according to the Army Times. They will also be well versed in regionally specific training on Ebola prevention.

The soldiers will build 17 100-bed hospital facilities and a health care facility for patients infected with the Ebola virus.

Pentagon officials say that the process of establishing the center has been slow going because soldiers are trying to build a headquarters facility from the ground up in an “austere environment.”

“It is a challenge,” a senior Pentagon official said. “We’re well-versed and well-trained on how to do it, but it’s not as easy as it seems, especially when you’re starting from scratch.”

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