President Donald Trump announced at Friday’s coronavirus task force briefing that he has granted the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security the “authority to activate the ready reserve components of the Armed Forces” to help battle the pandemic.
“This 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,” Trump told the reporters gathered in the White House Brady Briefing Room. “We have a lot of people, retirees, — great, great people — who have come back in who have offered to help the nation in this extraordinary time of need.”
The text of the executive order states that the reserves shall not be activated for more than 24 months or service, and the total active units shall not exceed 1,000,000.
Trump previously approved the National Guard to carry out approved coronavirus missions to operate in three of the states hit worst by the coronavirus pandemic: California, New York, and Washington.
The president signed the Phase 3 coronavirus stimulus bill into law earlier on Friday after a week of deliberation in Congress.