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Chairman of Joint Chiefs, Cyber chief, others quarantining after a top Coast Guard official tests positive for COVID-19

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley hosts a press briefing in the Pentagon Briefing Room, Washington D.C., May 5, 2020. (DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard)
October 06, 2020

The nation’s top military leaders are now quarantining after potential exposure to the coronavirus, defense officials said on Tuesday.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff attended multiple meetings at the Pentagon with Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Charles Ray, who later tested positive for the virus on Monday, the Pentagon confirmed in a statement to American Military News.

As many as 14 officials involved in the meetings came into contact with Adm. Ray, the Associated Press reported.

A Department of Defense official told Washington Times that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley was quarantined, along with eight other leaders:

  • General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff
  • Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations
  • General James McConville, Army Chief of Staff
  • General Charles Brown, Air Force Chief of Staff
  • General John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations
  • General Daniel Hokanson, Chief of the National Guard Bureau
  • General Paul Nakasone, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Agency
  • General Gary Thomas, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps

The military leaders began quarantining at home, although they all tested negative for the virus at the time.

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“We are aware that Vice Commandant Ray has tested positive for COVID-19 and that he was at the Pentagon last week for meetings with other senior military leaders. Some meeting attendees included other Service Chiefs. We are conducting additional contact tracing and taking appropriate precautions to protect the force and the mission. Out of an abundance of caution, all potential close contacts from these meetings are self-quarantining and have been tested this morning. No Pentagon contacts have exhibited symptoms and we have no additional positive tests to report at this time.” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement to American Military News.

“There is no change to the operational readiness or mission capability of the U.S. Armed Forces. Senior military leaders are able to remain fully mission capable and perform their duties from an alternative work location,” he said.

Gen. Milley tested negative on Tuesday morning, defense officials said.