The stop movement orders the Pentagon issued last month to suspend PCS and temporary duty moves will likely be extended into the summer, according to Air Force Chief of Staff Dave Goldfein.
The hold on military moves was implemented to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19 and expires on May 11. But Goldfein doesn’t think that military families will be PCS’ing immediately.
“May 12, we’re not that much better than when we’re sitting here today,” Goldfein said during a Facebook live event Monday.
“My sense is that we’re probably going to see an extension of the stop movement for some period of time,” he said.
According to Goldfein, a big consideration for the Pentagon is schools resuming in the fall. Goldfein said military officials are eyeing whether extending the stop movement order another 60 days until the middle of July would allow families to get in place while also balancing COVID-19 precautions.
“If families are going to move, we want to get families in place before school starts,” Goldfein said.
Although Goldfein couldn’t provide a definitive answer for how long the stop movement order would last, he said he expects Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will make a decision this week or the following week.
The Pentagon’s stop movement orders expanded Esper’s previous orders to block international travel, and bars all travel among service members and their families, including travel relocating to another duty station.
“These restrictions are necessary to preserve force readiness, limit the continuing spread of the virus, and preserve the health and welfare of Service members, DoD civilian employees, their families, and the local communities in which we live,” Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist said in a memo signed March 13.
The Pentagon announced Wednesday 1,975 service members have tested positive for COVID-19, along with 422 civilians, 347 dependents, and 184 contractors. Among DoD personnel, five civilians, two contractors and a service member have died from the virus.
President Trump predicted over the weekend that the U.S. would see “a lot of death” this week, and Tuesday marked the highest death count the U.S. has seen in a single day due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the New York Times’ database.
The U.S. has more than 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.