Issue Briefs

How Coronavirus Could Permanently Transform The U.S. Military

How Coronavirus Could Permanently Transform The U.S. Military

Loren B. Thompson.

April 20, 2020

Much of official Washington seems to believe that once the coronavirus crisis passes, the nation can get back to normal. That might turn out to not be the case. There may never be a reliable vaccine to ward off COVID-19, just as there has never been a vaccine for the common cold. Even if there is, it will take a long time arriving–maybe years. In the meantime, the military will have to adjust its training and operations to minimize the danger of spreading infection. That is no small thing. Beyond that, every bad actor in the world now realizes that the world’s sole remaining superpower can be crippled by mere microbes, at a time when thousands of scientists around the globe have the skills to fashion novel pathogens. This will all have to be factored into U.S. security plans, and it makes any return to what used to be called “normal” unlikely. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.

Loren B. Thompson is a Senior Adviser at GPI, Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Thompson holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University.