The serious danger that the COVID-19 novel coronavirus poses in the United States and the major impacts it will have on everyday life, in both the near and long terms, are becoming more and more apparent every day. As federal, state, and local government responses become more expansive, there have been growing questions about what role the U.S. military might have in the coming weeks and months.
The U.S. military certainly has valuable medical resources available, both in terms of providing immediate care and conducting research toward vaccines and other treatments, and certain State National Guards elements have deployed to help disinfect municipal facilities and otherwise assist with localized quarantines. However, the military’s standing contingency plans for how it would go about augmenting the U.S. Postal Service could be one the most obscure and useful things at its disposal and speaks to the immense logistical capabilities that it possesses that could be brought to bear, if required. This could be extremely valuable, if not outright critical if disruptions in various supply chains become severe or if there is a need to transport and distribute large amounts of supplies rapidly into quarantine zones.