Secretary of Defense Mark Esper enacted a 60-day stop movement order March 25 for all Department of Defense uniformed and civilian personnel and their sponsored family members overseas. This measure is taken to aid in further prevention of the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), to protect U.S. personnel and preserve the operational readiness of our global force.
Building upon previously enacted movement restrictions governing foreign travel, permanent change of station moves, temporary duty and personal leave, this stop movement order will also impact exercises, deployments, redeployments and other global force management activities. Approximately 90,000 service members slated to deploy or redeploy over the next 60 days will likely be impacted by this stop movement order.
Embedded within the order are mechanisms by which exceptions can be granted. Authorized exceptions to the order include:
- Travel by patients and medical providers for the purposes of medical treatment for DOD personnel and their families.
- Scheduled deployments/redeployments of U.S. Navy vessels and embarked units, provided they are in transit for 14 days and have met the restriction of movement (ROM) requirements associated with current force health protection guidance.
- Individuals who have already initiated travel.
- Individuals whose TDY ends while this order is in effect are authorized to return to their home station.
Additional exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case scenario where travel is deemed mission essential, humanitarian in nature or warranted due to extreme hardship. Such exceptions may be approved by Combatant Commanders, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or Secretaries of Military Departments.
Currently, this order is not expected to impact the continued drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, which is scheduled to be complete within 135 days following the signed agreement.
All authorized DOD travelers must adhere to department force health protection requirements during travel.