This seems to be a better way to deploy our military. Obama will announce a commitment to send 3,000 military personnel to Africa to fight the Ebola virus on its home soil.
The Obama administration is ramping up its response to west Africa’s Ebola crisis, preparing to assign 3,000 US military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local healthcare systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic.
Barack Obama is to announce the stepped-up effort on Tuesday during a visit to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta amid alarm that the outbreak could spread and the deadly virus could mutate into a more easily transmitted disease.
There have been appeals from the region and from aid organisations for a heightened US role in dealing with the outbreak, blamed for more than 2,200 deaths.
Administration officials said on Monday that the new initiatives aimed to train as many as 500 healthcare workers a week; erect 17 healthcare facilities in the region of 100 beds each; set up a joint command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to co-ordinate between US and international relief efforts; provide home healthcare kits to hundreds of thousands of households, including 50,000 that the US Agency for International Development will deliver to Liberia this week; and carry out a home and community-based campaign to train local populations on how to handle exposed patients.
The US effort will include medics and other personnel for treatment and training, engineers to help erect the treatment facilities and specialists in logistics to assist in patient transportation.
Officials said the cost of the effort would come from $500m in overseas contingency operations, such as the war in Afghanistan, that the Pentagon already had asked Congress to redirect to carry out humanitarian efforts in Iraq and west Africa.
The officials said it would take about two weeks to get US forces on the ground.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons, chairman of the Senate foreign relations African affairs subcommittee, said: “This humanitarian intervention should serve as a firewall against a global security crisis that has the potential to reach American soil.”
How about that? Using the military for good. I like it.