Trump opens the door to calling up former active service members for coronavirus fight

"This will allow us to mobilize medical emergency and emergency personnel to help fight the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members including retirees," Trump told reporters Friday.

The order gives the Secretary of Defense the authority to invite members, but so far there are no indications that this will happen. Such a call is usually used when the military needs specific skill sets.

"Decisions about which individuals can be activated are still being considered. Generally, these members will be individuals in headquarters units and people in high demand medical ability whose call would not adversely affect their civilian communities," said Jonathan Hoffman, Pentagon's chief of staff. , it said in a statement late Friday.


"This is a dynamic situation. We do not currently have an expected number of expected activations, but the department now has full authorization to perform activations as needed," Hoffman said.

In most cases, after making their military commitments, service members will enter into what is known as the Individual Ready Reserve.

That clear reserve status requires no active participation, which means that the vast majority of service members consider being in this status the same as being outside the military. Most service members are in that term for a period of years.

There have been a handful of cases lately where members of this reserve have been called to active duty – such as at the height of both Iraq wars.

Trump said Friday that "we have many people, retirees. Great, great military people. They are coming back, who have offered to support the nation in this extraordinary time of need."

"And they come in again. They don't say: & # 39; How much? & # 39; They don't say," What do we get paid? "They just want to come back. beautiful, "he added.

The US Army, too reached out this week to retired medical personnel in order to possibly volunteer to support coronavirus response efforts. In an email obtained by CNN, the Army on Wednesday urged retired personnel in search of "voluntary recall of retired soldiers" with specific medical specialties.

An Army spokesman had told CNN that "they measure the availability and capabilities of our retired medical personnel to potentially assist with COVID-19 pandemic response efforts if needed."

The spokesman made it clear that the Army does not want to interfere with any civilian medical needs, adding that "this information request will in no way interfere with the care they need to provide to their communities; it is for future planning purposes only and is entirely voluntary."

More than 800,000 retired soldiers received the alert to gauge their willingness to assist with the Candid-19 pandemic response, the Army said in a statement Thursday, adding that "to date it has more than 9,000" expressed interest.

"The first response has been very positive," the statement says.


This story has been updated with additional background information.


CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.

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