- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Trump administration is looking at issuing a “stop loss” order in the war on coronavirus that would prevent troops from leaving service once their enlistments ended, according to a Pentagon source.

The source said the Defense Department might empower service secretaries to suspend certain laws regulating retirements, all with an eye to reducing troop exits.

In a second move, the Defense Department is looking at amending mobilization orders that could keep reservists on active duty in certain theaters beyond their orders.

The military is already tapping into its cadre of medical personnel, mobilizing reserves and Guardsmen.

On March 13, the Pentagon issued a sweeping “stop movement” order to keep personnel in place as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19 disease.

“This restriction will halt all domestic travel, including Permanent Change of Station, and Temporary Duty,” said Deputy Defense Secretary David L. Norquist. This restriction will also pause civilian hiring at DoD installations and components for persons who do not reside within the hiring entity’s local commuting area.”

He added, “The Department will continue to issue additional guidance with regard to the COVID-19 as conditions warrant. Our goal is to remain ahead of the virus spread so our military force remains effective and ready.”

Military.com reported in March that the Army is asking retired soldiers with various medical skills if they want to rejoin in some capacity to battle the virus in hospital frontlines.

The tally of confirmed infections is growing in the ranks to over 1,400.

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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