Trump issues order to bring former troops back to active duty to assist in coronavirus response
March 28, 2020
President Trump issued an order Friday night that permits the Pentagon to bring former U.S. troops and members of the National Guard and Reserve back to active duty to augment forces already involved in the U.S. military’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, senior U.S. officials said.
The president said Friday night that the decision will “allow us to mobilize medical, disaster and emergency response personnel to help wage our battle against the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members including retirees.”
The president did not clarify whether anyone will be involuntarily recalled to duty, but said some retirees have “offered to support the nation in this extraordinary time of need.”
“It’s really an incredible thing to see,” Trump said. “It’s beautiful.”
Trump’s executive order allows Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper to order units and individual members to duty, including “certain Individual Ready Reserve” members, Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement released just after midnight on Saturday morning. The Individual Ready Reserve comprises former active-duty and reserve service members, who are commonly considered out of the military and rarely recalled.
Hoffman, who could not be reached for comment early Saturday, said that decisions about which people may be activated are still being reviewed. The statement did not address whether anyone will be involuntarily recalled.