The Pentagon is struggling to stay ahead of the expanding coronavirus pandemic as early missteps start piling up, a scattershot response sows confusion and the Navy is forced to sideline an aircraft carrier.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt, a 5,000-person aircraft carrier meant to be patrolling the Pacific and South China Sea, is instead sitting dockside in Guam indefinitely as the number of infected sailors rises daily. Infections started cropping up after an early March port call in Vietnam, which Pentagon leaders say had about 16 known virus cases at the time.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he’s leaving key decisions about how to address the outbreak to local commanders. But as infections mount and more warriors are sidelined, Pentagon leaders will face difficult questions about how to stay fully ready to confront rivals from North Korea to Iran and how to signal unflagging resolve to such adversaries.
Read the full article and more in Bloomberg.