SSN Memo

The Militarization of US Government Response to COVID-19 and What We Can Do About It

Policy field

About the author

CUNY Graduate School and University Center

Below is an excerpt from a memo written by Drake Logan for About Face: Veterans Against the War on March 23, 2020.

This memo had input on content by About Face veteran members Lisa Ling, Krystal Two Bulls, Maggie Martin, Erica Manley, Shawn Fischer, Jovanni Reyes, Matt W. Howard, Derek S. Matthews, and Ramon Mejía. Editorial guidance was provided by Clare Bayard, civilian ally to About Face. Authorship is always collective.

This document outlines six broad areas of current political need and opportunity as the US government ramps up the militarization of its response to the coronavirus epidemic. About Face is an organization of post-9/11 service-members and veterans who organize to end a foreign policy of permanent war and the use of military weapons, tactics, and values in communities across the United States.

We present this statement in order to generate further conversation on these points both within and beyond our organization, as well as to enter the national media conversation on coronavirus response. Please reach out to About Face if you are a member or civilian who would like to be involved in media work on these issues, or if you would like to help create further independent media.

We need to begin by tackling these six areas of political need and opportunity in the time of coronavirus: (1) We need to engage in and spread praxes of community-based defense instead of militarized security. (2) We need to draw careful lines between what is acceptable military response and what is categorically unacceptable. (3) We need to put coronavirus in context with the Global War on Terror (GwoT) and domestic militarism. (4) We need to take a stand on Coronavirus Capitalism. (5) We need to demand that the Department of Defense adequately protect its active-duty and reserve service-members from contracting coronavirus. And (6) We need to act in solidarity with international communities.