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How is the Military Protecting My Service Member During COVID-19?

Current as of Oct. 6, 2021


The Department of Defense remains committed to the health and safety of military members and their families. This time of coronavirus disease 2019 is no different. The DOD continues to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies to stop the spread. The DOD offers free resources through Military OneSource. Each program helps with different military-life challenges or seasons.

Testing and Surveillance for COVID-19

Learn about the DOD’s expanded testing for coronavirus disease 2019 and other measures to detect the disease early and stop its spread.

Protecting against COVID-19

Your local government set guidelines to keep the community healthy. The DOD has taken these steps to help keep military members healthy:

  • Authorized telework when duties allow
  • Started daily health screening for jobs where remote work isn’t possible
  • Restricted personnel movement and travel (now resuming in phases as local conditions allow)
  • Required face masks of all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in areas of high community transmission
  • Required face masks of those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the level of community transmission, while performing DOD duties, whether on military installations or at other locations including in common areas, shared workspaces and outdoor shared spaces
  • Required frequent handwashing and social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines for all individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are performing DOD duties
  • Began tiered COVID-19 testing of military personnel
  • Required risk assessments for service members, DOD civilian employees and DOD contractor personnel prior to travel
  • Authorized pre-travel and restriction of movement-associated testing for official international air travel at military medical treatment facilities for DOD civilian employees and members of the selected reserve including members of the National Guard

Installations are taking additional precautions. Read about your service member’s location.

Protecting your service member during deployment and redeployment

As deployments and redeployments resume, the DOD prioritizes:

  • Protecting military and civilian personnel and their families
  • Safeguarding our national security capabilities
  • Supporting the nationwide response to the pandemic

When your service member deploys or redeploys, safety measures will include:

  • A viral test for COVID-19 one to three days before departure; exceptions to testing may be made for those who are:
    • Fully recovered from a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19
    • Fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Appropriate screening at the assigned place of duty or point of embarkation
  • Assessment of exposure history, temperature and any COVID-19 signs and symptoms and past test results
  • Consultation with a DOD health care provider if direct screening isn’t possible
  • Evaluation and testing, if necessary, of anyone with a fever or affirmative responses to screening questions
  • Isolation following DOD guidance for anyone who tests positive during screening or meets the clinical case definition of probable infection
  • Mandatory 10-day restriction of movement for all non-vaccinated service members before deploying outside the United States (or after arrival, with permission)
    • ROM may be reduced to seven days with a negative viral test administered within 48 hours prior to the end of the seven-day ROM.
    • An exception to ROM may be made for those who fully recovered from COVID-19 within three months of travel.
  • Viral testing for COVID-19 one to three days prior to redeployment from outside the U.S.
    • An exception to viral testing prior to redeployment may be made for those traveling on military or contracted commercial airlift.
  • Viral testing for COVID-19 three to five days after travel
    • Individuals fully recovered from COVID-19 within the last three months are not required to undergo viral testing before or after travel unless they are symptomatic.
  • Mandatory assessment before redeployment from within the U.S. to see if 10-day restriction of movement is indicated
  • ROM for 10 days after redeploying from outside the U.S., or seven days with a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the seven-day ROM

Protecting your service member’s pay and benefits

COVID-19 has changed routines around the world. This includes many service members’ duties and training. The DOD understands that can heighten anxiety so it has acted to protect pay and benefits.

Financial assistance and counseling

Closures have strained finances for many. Resources are available to help service members, including:

Military OneSource is here 24/7 to keep you informed. Visit our Coronavirus Updates for Our Military Community page.

For DOD updates for the military community on COVID-19, view these sites:

Installation Program Directory

Find programs and services at your local installation.