The National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster in July 2014 was appointed the head of a training body that is in charge of drawing up pandemic guidelines for commanders, just two months before US soldiers deployed to Liberia to fight Ebola with inadequate training and protective gear, putting them at risk of becoming sick.
McMaster was the Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center and Deputy Commanding General, Futures, US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
from July 2014 until he was appointed Trump’s new National Security Adviser.
TRADOC has issued handbooks to commanders on how to handle pandemics.
McMaster’s TRADOC also supported the deployment of troops such as the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and other US troops to Liberia to contain the Ebola epidemic in 2014.
This blog noted in 2014 that the standard epidemic control measures had been stood down for the first US soldiers deploying to Liberia from US Army Africa, putting them at high risk of becoming infected.
By the end of September 2014, about 150 soldiers were working in the Ebola ridden capital of Liberia, Monrovia. They do not seem to have even been issued with basic protective clothing and training and they were not required to adhere to any isolation or quarantine procedures in accordance with the lax CDC, Federal government and also military guidelines they had been issued, presumably also from McMaster’s Tradoc.
However, by the end of September, awareness that soldiers potentially coming into contact with Ebola patients needed special protection was growing, and the 101st Airborne troops were given better protective gear and training before they deployed to Liberia in October.
In October, 2014, the US army also dramatically reversed its policy and started to implement standard isolation and quarantine procedures in defiance of the policies of the CDC, the Obama government and the original military guidelines, presumably also issued by McMaster’s TRADOC.
VICENZA, Italy — “Army leadership” unexpectedly decided to quarantine U.S. Army Africa troops as they returned to Italy from a mission in Liberia because they wanted to “reassure both our soldiers and family members,” Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams said by videoconference Tuesday.
Williams, who spent a month commanding those soldiers, was into his third day under quarantine along with 10 other soldiers. He was reportedly surprised to be greeted by workers in hazmat suits when he arrived by plane in Italy on Sunday.
“They wanted to take a more conservative approach,” said Williams, whose chief of staff less than a week ago emphasized that the returning troops would not be under quarantine.
The policy puts the Army at odds with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which on Monday issued new guidelines calling for voluntary, home quarantine for people returning from West Africa who are at the highest risk of contracting Ebola. The new guidelines outline various risk levels, with the highest being health care workers whose protective gear may have failed or who were stuck by a needle while caring for an Ebola patient.