U.S. military members should expect an updated decision about stop-movement orders related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic from the Pentagon within the next couple of weeks, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said April 6.
The Department of Defense in March issued a stop movement order for all non-mission-critical personnel through May 11. However, Goldfein told airmen in a Facebook Live interview Monday that he anticipates the stop movement order will be extended as current models show that the United States may see an increase in the amount of positive COVID-19 cases through April and May, with cases cusping in June before a recovery begins in July and August.
The secretary of defense met with senior service leadership Monday morning, where Goldfein asked what the plan was for travel restrictions, he said.
“The question everybody is asking is, ‘What happens on May 12?’” he said. “Crystal ball only, my sense is that we’re probably going to see an extension of the stop movement for some period of time.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has tasked Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matt Donovan to determine whether an extension should be imposed from the Office of the Secretary of Defense over the whole department, or whether Esper should allow the services to determine what happens on May 12, Goldfein continued.
He emphasized that the Pentagon is taking families with children into consideration, noting that families scheduled to move over the summer would want to be in place before late August or September.
“If families are going to move, we want to get families in place before school starts,” he said, adding that he is currently anticipating a 60-day travel hold through July.
“I don’t have a definitive decision for you, but I will tell you that it was discussed today, and I believe the SECDEF is looking to make a decision on that either this week or next,” Goldfein said.