Tensions grow as leaders try to balance the strength of the force, the safety of their soldiers, and the morale of families.
As COVID-19 continues to spread in the Nation, schools are continuing to close indefinitely leaving families with additional strains as many hourly workers are laid off or told to go home. Financial stresses, childcare concerns, and lack of some supplies in grocery stores are becoming all too real for us all.
From a leadership perspective, training must continue at the Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS). With a lack of recruiting numbers, recruiters closing doors and going online, and typical attrition rates within the force the regiment requires Green Berets. Coronavirus or not, SF instructors are still going. Weeks are still spent out in the field training the next wave of soldiers. While this may be the safest place to protect the soldiers, families at home are struggling: Military spouses are taking on even more than ever while their SF instructor husbands continue to train, causing additional stress on their relationships.
The situation will be compounded by the potential costs of treatment. Twenty-seven million Americans are uninsured. Public health experts predict that tens of thousands and possibly millions across the United States will likely need to be hospitalized for COVID-19 in the foreseeable future. And Congress has yet to adequately address the problem. On March 18, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which covers testing costs, but it doesn’t do anything to address the treatment costs. Most people will not need to be hospitalized and can recover at home, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Those who do need to go to the ICU can likely expect big bills, even if they are covered by great insurance. And the cost could be as much as $35,000 for the uninsured. This could affect the availability of roleplayers.
The coronavirus pandemic is stressing our military’s ability to keep its troops ready to fight as 124 service members, members of their families, and civilian workers had already contracted the disease as of Friday.
The Pentagon, in seeking to halt the spread of the virus, has canceled or postponed major war-training exercises, closed recruiting centers, quarantined thousands of troops, and placed limits on foreign and domestic travel. This could degrade everything from the maintenance of warplanes to troops’ effectiveness in combat.
With more demands globally and the SECDEF enforcing a 1:2 dwell ratio leaders are forced to produce more Green Berets and keep the training at the SWCS going. Although families are stressed now more than ever, the SWCS train must continue to roll.