Senior Pentagon officials were potentially exposed to Covid-19 last week in a meeting with a foreign defense minister, and now a senior official – recently placed in office after a sudden shock at the Defense Ministry – has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
In a late Thursday night declarationPentagon chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the Lithuanian embassy informed the agency that Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis had tested positive for Covid-19. Karoblis met on November 13 with Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, Army and Air Force Secretaries, and Anthony Tata, currently the Defense Ministry’s top political official. Karoblis then met the Secretary of the Navy three days later.
In other words, the Lithuanian leader has met many people who help the Pentagon – and, by default, the US military – to function every day.
At the moment, most US officials look fine. But, according to the statement, Tata tested positive for Covid-19 after the visit, although it is not clear whether he contracted the virus during the meeting with Karoblis. As a result, Tata will stay at home for the next 14 days, the quarantine period recommended by the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention.
Photos of Karoblis, the Lithuanian Minister of Defense who later tested positive, meeting with the Acting Secretary of Defense, Secretaries of the Army and Air, and members of the Pennsylvania National Guard during his visit in the USA pic.twitter.com/Wej2W2VYft
– Dave Brown (@ dave_brown24) November 20, 2020
A US defense official told me that everything continues at the same pace in the Department of Defense despite the development. “No change in the posture of the Pentagon,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as they are not allowed to speak openly, “although individual departments are increasing teleworking.”
Hoffman said the Pentagon is still looking for people who have engaged with Karoblis and Tata and testing anyone who may have been exposed.
So the Department of Defense and its leadership have suffered a setback, but they are clearly taking the proper precautions, aren’t they? Not exactly.
Acting Defense Secretary fails to take necessary protective measures
In October, key military leaders – including Army General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with the military chiefs of the army, navy, air force, coast guard, space force, and Cyber Command – went into quarantine after a senior Coast Guard official tested positive for the coronavirus.
One might then assume that Miller and the duty secretaries would follow a similar protocol after meeting Karoblis. But this is not the case.
“As CDC COVID mitigation guidelines were followed during the Acting Secretary’s bilateral meeting with the Minister, as well as meetings with Mr. Tata, Acting Secretary of Defense Miller is not in quarantine.” , Hoffman said Thursday. declaration. “Likewise, each of the duty secretaries are not quarantined based on the tests and mitigation measures that were in place during the visit of the Lithuanian delegation and the guidelines of the CDC.”
Frankly, it’s irresponsible, but it’s part of the course for Miller. When he visited Fort Bragg and the USS Gerald Ford this week, he encouraged people to take off their masks, according to a Wall Street Journal reporter. Nancy Youssef. Plus, he kissed people on both sites.
Miller was unaware of his exposure to Covid-19 at the time, to be honest. Still, he has shown no willingness to respect social distancing or encourage personal protection measures since taking on the role last week.
It would be one thing if he was just a mid-level civil servant. But he is not: he is the secretary of defense. It is his duty to set a good example for those in his care. For the moment, he is failing badly.