Rep. Cisneros Joins 65 House Colleagues Urging the President to Mobilize DOD Resources Against the Coronavirus

March 18, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Representative Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., member of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter signed by 65 of his House colleagues to President Trump, calling on him to utilize Department of Defense (DOD) resources to combat the coronavirus, COVID-19. The letter can be found here.

“Given the severity and scope of this crisis, we believe it is necessary to engage all elements of our national power in formulating an effective homeland defense,” wrote the Members. “DOD has a range of assets that can be utilized to help contain, treat, and ultimately prevent spread of the virus. We hope that you will proactively prepare and use these resources in support of civilian authorities, as appropriate, rather than wait for an escalating crisis to force your hand.

The letter goes on to highlight a number of ways DOD authorities, resources, and capabilities could be used to support the response to COVID-19, citing current authorities and past precedent. Some of these options include constructing mobile hospitals, aiding vaccine research and development, manufacturing emergency equipment, and making some equipment – like ventilators – available when possible. 

The House members also asked the President to inform them within 82 hours of any planned employment of these authorities and resources so Congress can provide a proper response and funding.

The House members specifically asked for the following assets to be readied or deployed:

  • Mobile hospital units and supplemental bed capacity
  • Ventilators and other emergency equipment
  • Vaccine development
  • Emergency funds
  • Army Corps of Engineers