April 16, 2020

National Guard Joins the Fight Against Coronavirus


KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • More than 30,000 National Guard troops have been mobilized to assist in the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.  
  • The National Guard is setting up medical testing facilities; providing ground transportation and logistics support for essential services; and assisting operations for state and local governments.
  • Congress provided $1.5 billion in the CARES Act for National Guard troops activated by their governors to fight the pandemic. FEMA also will reimburse states for costs and expenses associated with using the National Guard.   

State governors are using the National Guard to perform a variety of support roles to fight the coronavirus pandemic. So far, 34 states have mobilized their National Guard units. These states are receiving federal support to set up and operate medical testing facilities; provide ground transportation and logistics support; and conduct mortuary operations for state and local governments. Across the country, more than 30,000 National Guard troops have been activated in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

National Guard Mobilized with Federal Funding Support

National Guard

New York became the first state to utilize the National Guard on March 12, when the governor used his own authority to mobilize troops from his state to operate a health department command post. About 3,500 New York National Guard troops are now involved in the state’s response to the coronavirus. The pandemic has hit New York hard, and as a result National Guard troops are also assisting with necessary mortuary operations in New York City. National Guard troops are also operating at least 10 testing facilities in the state and transporting personal protective equipment.

National Guard Operations – Coronavirus Response

National Guard

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Washington Governor Jay Inslee activated their state’s National Guard troops to assist local food banks with the logistics of their distribution operations. The Georgia National Guard is being used to disinfect and clean facilities such as nursing homes. Cargo planes from the Illinois National Guard are being used to transport crucial medical equipment quickly.

President Trump activated the Stafford Act to approve the use of the National Guard for the coronavirus response on April 2. Under this law, the National Guard is authorized to provide disaster response, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse states for the costs. Under the activation orders, the governors stay in command of National Guard troops for the duration of the activation and are used in the priority areas identified by their governors and local leaders.

Congress provided $1.5 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for National Guard troops activated by their governors to fight the pandemic.