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Congressman Biggs’ Letter to Department of Defense on Draft Guidance for Applicants with History of Confirmed COVID-19

May 11, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Biggs sent a letter to U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, expressing concerns about reports detailing the recent Military Entrance Processing Command draft guidance for the purpose of “rendering a medical qualification determination for an applicant with a history of confirmed COVID-19.”

Read the letter below:

May 11, 2020 

The Honorable Mark Esper
Secretary
Department of Defense 
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20313

Dear Mr. Secretary, 

Thank you for yours and President Trump’s efforts in leading our servicemembers through the Chinese-born coronavirus outbreak. As the various states begin to free their economies from draconian coronavirus restrictions, it is critical for the Department of Defense to immediately halt implementation of any related bureaucratic actions that threaten the honor to serve in the U.S. military. 

I am extremely concerned with reports on the recent Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM) draft guidance for the purpose of “rendering a medical qualification determination for an applicant with a history of confirmed COVID-19.” The draft guidance stated that an individual’s history with coronavirus would be “considered disqualifying” from joining the service. This new standard was quickly updated to apply to only those who had been hospitalized for coronavirus. Despite this update, my serious concern remains.

MEPCOM’s draft guidance may yield unintended consequences for coronavirus survivors and the military. If an individual can pass the Military Entrance Processing Station screening process - despite a hospitalization for coronavirus - they should be allowed to serve. I agree that more research is needed to study the long-term effects of coronavirus on the human body. However, I do not think that the lack of research available warrants permanently disqualifying patriotic Americans from serving in the military. 

For many across our country, the American-led coronavirus response has instilled a sense of patriotism and devotion to duty. We must honor that unique commitment. I respectfully request your prompt attention to this issue and immediately rescind this draft guidance. We must not let the Chinese Communist Party’s irresponsibility to control this virus infringe on our fellow Americans’ honorable desire to serve our country. 

Sincerely, 

Andy Biggs
Member of Congress