Tags: Coronavirus | esper | national guard | pentagon

Mark Esper: National Guard Can Enforce Orders to Stay Home

members of the national guard are shown in new york
Members of the Army National Guard cross the street by the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on March 31, 2020 in New York City. (Angela Weiss /AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 April 2020 08:32 AM

The National Guard can be used to enforce individual states' stay-at-home orders as the coronavirus pandemic forces nationwide closures and restrictions, Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed.

Speaking with CBS Evening News Tuesday night, Esper was asked whether the guard can be deployed to enforce the rules.

"That would be an option for the governors," Esper said. "Again, the guard is active in all 50 states and territories. I'm very proud of what our guardsmen are doing, but we have a whole lot more capacity out there in the guard right now to do more."

Esper added that the National Guard normally responds to natural disasters like hurricanes, not outbreaks of a deadly virus. More than 4,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 and several states have issued orders for residents to stay at home unless they need to buy groceries, see a doctor, pick up food at a restaurant, or exercise.

"You know, we typically think of [the] National Guard dealing with a hurricane in a state or a series of tornadoes," Esper said. "In this case right now, we have 54 hurricanes out there in every single state and territory, and we know they're going to grow in size and in their power."

President Donald Trump has not instituted a national lockdown, but he cautioned all Americans Tuesday that they should "be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We're going to go through a very tough two weeks."

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The National Guard can be used to enforce individual states' stay-at-home orders as the coronavirus pandemic forces nationwide closures and restrictions, Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed.
esper, national guard, pentagon
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2020-32-01
Wednesday, 01 April 2020 08:32 AM
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