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              Researh Sevice






COVID-19: The Basics of Domestic Defense


Response



March 19, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, the Department of Defense (DOD) has been drawn steadily
into an ever more direct supporting role in the U.S. government's domestic response. Below are the
funding, authorities, and basic descriptions of foreseeable ways DOD might further contribute. Links in
this product connect to more detailed information on the highlighted subjects within CRS products or web
pages.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health
Emergency of International Concern on January 30, raised its global risk assessment to Very High on
February 28, and labeled the outbreak a pandemic on March 11. President Donald J. Trump declared a
U.S. national emergency on March 13. For more information on the domestic and international health
aspects of COVID-19, see CRS Report R46219, Overview of U.S. Domestic Response to Coronavirus
Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and CRS In Focus IFI 1421, COVID-19: Global Implications and Responses .
On Friday March 20, the Federal Emergency Management Agency assumed the lead agency role in
President Trump's Coronavirus Task Force under the National Response Framework (NRF) for national
emergencies. DOD participates in the national response to the crisis within the NRF.

Defense Funding

On March 14, 2020, the House passed by a vote of 363-40 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
(P.L. 116-127), Title II of which included $82 million for the Defense Health Program to waive all
TRICARE cost-sharing requirements related to COVID-19. On March 18, the Senate approved the bill by
a vote of 90-8. President Trump signed the bill the same day.
On March 17, the Trump Administration delivered to Congress an FY2020 supplemental appropriations
request for $45.8 billion to respond to the pandemic, including $8.3 billion in emergency funding for
DOD.
DOD proposed these Operation and Maintenance funds be allocated to its Emergency Response Fund
account to:

                                                              Congressional Research Service
                                                                https://crsreports.congress.gov
                                                                                   IN11273

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