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Pentagon watchdog launches probe into Navy and infectious diseases

The Inspector General's investigation is separate from the Navy's review of how the chain of command handled the COVID-19 outbreak on USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Credit: Dvidshub

NORFOLK, Va. — The Pentagon is launching a new investigation into how well the Navy is dealing with coronavirus on its ships and submarines.

The new Department of Defense Inspector General probe is separate from the Navy's renewed study on what happened within the chain of command following the outbreak aboard the Theodore Roosevelt.

The IG is evaluating how well the Navy is implementing policy and procedures to deal with the spread of infectious diseases like coronavirus.

The total number of sailors who were infected is 1,159. One died. The captain got fired.

Senate Armed Services Committee member Tim Kaine says the new probe is warranted.

"Look, I think the IG's play a very valuable function for agencies under any administration," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

The new Department of Defense Inspector General probe is separate from the Navy's renewed study on what happened within the chain of command following the outbreak aboard the Theodore Roosevelt.

"There's enough of a controversy surrounding the Roosevelt in particular that the IG investigating what the Navy has done is appropriate," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

 According to a memo, the new study will involve the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and U.S. Pacific Fleet, with interviews being conducted via video and teleconference.

Kaine says much can be learned.

"I know the Navy is committed to getting this right and they're committed to using the tough experience aboard the Roosevelt to share insights with others," he said. "There's still a lot about this virus that we don't know. But the learning about what happened through the pain of the Roosevelt is learning that needs to be shared. And if it is, it can help others."

The Inspector General's Office says there's no timeline for the evaluation's completion.

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