DOD promises 'after action' review on COVID-19 response

By Tony Bertuca / April 14, 2020 at 3:53 PM

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said today the Pentagon will conduct an "after action" review of its response to COVID-19 in the hopes it can harvest all "lessons learned."

The post-COVID-19 world is "not going to be business as usual," for the U.S. military, Milley said.

"We've got to take a hard look at how we as a military and we as a Department of Defense conduct operations in the future," he said. "When we get on the back side of this -- whenever that happens -- we intend to lead an after action review."

Milley said DOD has already "activated" specialists tasked with "collecting" data that would be assessed during the review, including in operational, logistical, tactical and public affairs areas.

"There's going to be lots and lots and lots of lessons learned," he said. "We do intend to do that rigorously."

Milley said he hoped DOD's review could also include the Trump administration's "whole of government" response to COVID-19.

The pledge to conduct a full review at DOD comes as the Trump administration has been criticized for not acting quickly enough to address the COVID-19 outbreak when military leaders first warned of it earlier this year.

The department's coronavirus response has also been marred by controversy, with acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly stepping down after criticizing the captain of an aircraft carrier who sounded the alarm about a COVID-19 outbreak aboard his ship. One sailor who was previously aboard the ship has died and the captain whom Modly relieved is being treated for coronavirus on Guam.