While the U.S. military is tasked with homeland defense and security, in this article Mark Nevitt highlights on the military’s role domestically to provide aid and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. military is currently engaged in the largest domestic operation in American history.
The article evaluates the responses of different branches of the military and argues that the current public health crisis could be an opportunity to reevaluate the governance of domestic military operations. Nevitt addresses the emergency authorities relied on to address the virus, what governs the military’s role to enforce laws, and the military as a provider of emergency aid and relief at the state and local levels.
Without a vaccine, writes Jennifer Daskal, the United States and other countries are struggling with different tools to stem COVID-19. A critically important one is health surveillance. Previous crises, such as 9/11, also led to restrictions—but often secret—on civil liberties. A pandemic’s surveillance response has a different goal: to educate and inform. Health surveillance provides officials and the public with valuable information on rising hotspots, when to test after exposure, and monitoring compliance with quarantine orders.
Daskal adds to this topical debate by outlining various types of surveillance schemes and associated technology—public or private, universal or targeted, mandated or consent-based—as well as the U.S. legal and policy considerations that each system will face. Professor Daskal argues that, despite the challenges, good health and good privacy can and should go hand in hand.
The Hon. James E. Baker writes that Defense Production Act (DPA) was enacted to provide the federal government with the authority to systematically mobilize the industrial capacity of the nation to address national security emergencies. While it has been primarily used to prioritize DoD contracts and to incentivize the production of goods for which there is otherwise too small a market, it may prove to be useful in combatting the effects of COVID-19.
If the DPA were to be used to its fullest extent, it may become an important authority for producing a COVID-19 vaccine at scale; for constructing a long-term, secure, and independent medical supply chain; and stimulating the economy by making the U.S. a global arsenal of public health.
In his examination of the DPA, Baker outlines the ways it has been used both during and before the pandemic, considers real and perceived concerns over its potential use, and highlights issues that should be addressed as soon as possible. He further provides three lessons that can be learned from the DPA’s non-use and suggests methods to ensure the adequate preparation for challenges yet to come.