Our military leadership says it will not disclose particulars of how many people are COVID-19 positive in which units and on which ships or at what bases.
Why? The public answer is that it might give our (potential) enemies information about our readiness. The non-public reasoning has been that it does not want China or Russia to know how much damage it could do if they intentionally released a biological agent in advance of an attack on us.
Frankly, I find both of those positions to be ridiculous.
Whether the carrier Franklin Roosevelt has maybe 500 virus cases out of a crew of 5,000 is not a signal of incapacitation. It can sail, supply and do recon without its large contingent of yeoman and women in non-critical jobs.
As for that biological agent issue, it would take a totally callous nation with Hitlerian leadership and no regard for worldwide respect to unleash biological warfare. It’s really unthinkable.
Might North Korea start trouble with the South or China with Taiwan if it appeared we were tied up fighting a medical issue within our armed forces? Possible but highly improbable because of the number of reserve people and equipment America has. And that matter of worldwide approbation remains.
I’m not overly concerned about RIMPAC so long as the all-nation crew members are kept aboard their ships or in quarantined quarters on Pearl Harbor Naval Base. No Waikiki “liberty” — although that would not be a very exciting night out now that all bars and restaurants are closed.
There certainly are exceptions to my tell-the-public argument.
Let’s say the Air Force (or Space Command) finds a bug in our missile interceptors which requires them all to be recalled for fixes. Should we broadcast that? No. That would be foolish and threaten our immediate defense.
But the House and Senate intelligence committees should be notified so somebody starts looking into who screwed up.
The virus invasion of our troops is something with the ability to affect us all as home bases for ground troops and ports for sea-going troops.
Knowing is important.