DOD policy chief tests positive for COVID-19, other senior leaders exposed

By Tony Bertuca / November 20, 2020 at 10:01 AM

Acting Under Secretary Defense for Policy Anthony Tata has tested positive for COVID-19 and will isolate at home for the next 14 days, according to chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

Hoffman said Tata tested positive after meeting with Lithuanian Minister of Defence Raimundas Karoblis, who has also tested positive. Karoblis visited the Pentagon on Nov. 13 and met with multiple senior leaders, including acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller. Additionally, Karoblis met last week with the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy.

All DOD officials who met with Karoblis have been tested for COVID-19 since being notified of Karoblis' diagnosis by the Lithuanian Embassy.

Hoffman said Miller and the service secretaries will not be quarantining "based on testing and mitigation measures that were in place during the Lithuanian delegation's visit and CDC guidelines."

Miller, meanwhile, traveled to Ft. Bragg, NC, on Wednesday to announce an organization change at DOD.

Hoffman said DOD would report any additional positive cases "as appropriate."

"We have and are continuing to conduct further contact tracing of DOD personnel who have had close contact with the Lithuanian delegation or Mr. Tata, and are taking appropriate precautions in accordance with CDC guidelines," Hoffman said. "Additionally, DOD personnel who had contact with the delegation have received or are receiving at this time rapid COVID tests as deemed necessary based on CDC protocols."