Tags: Ebola Outbreak | troops | africa | mission | deployment

Gen. Dempsey: US Troops' Ebola Deployment Could Last 18 Months

By    |   Thursday, 06 November 2014 07:43 PM

The military's Ebola mission in West Africa could last 18 months, Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday.

In a Pentagon news release, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reiterated the assertion that troops deployed to Liberia and Senegal aren't providing direct care, but rather are "stabilizing the environment and giving confidence to the health care workers that if they do come down with the disease, they'll be cared for."

"We think we're making some progress in Liberia," he said. "Sierra Leone is not trending favorably, and nor is Guinea."

There are 1,934 Defense Department personnel deployed to the region — 1,759 in Liberia and 175 in Senegal — and that could increase to about 4,000, Stars and Stripes reports.

"Is it a four-year mission? Probably not. But I bet it’s every bit of 18 months, which would be three rotations of six-month deployments," Dempsey told an audience at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs on Thursday, Stars and Stripes reports.

Dempsey also told the audience the mission was not a humanitarian effort, but a "stability operation" — a loaded term within Washington policy circles since it recalls the long campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the newspaper notes.

In February, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said budget restraints precluded any further large-scale stability operations.

"The fight against Ebola is a stability operation.... We’re trying to bring stability to a region of West Africa that is inherently unstable and to contain that disease there and … try to stabilize" the area, he told the audience.

"You can call it what you want," he said, "but it’s a stability operation … [even though] we said that we’re not going to do stability operations."

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The military's Ebola mission in West Africa could last 18 months, Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday.
troops, africa, mission, deployment
Thursday, 06 November 2014 07:43 PM
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