Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered on Wednesday that all U.S. troops who deploy to West Africa be put in 21-day “controlled monitoring,” effectively a quarantine, after their tours there are over as part of the Pentagon’s effort to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus. The decision was panned by some as excessive considering the troops will not be treating Ebola patients directly. But it speaks to a larger issue: Reassuring the troops and families involved that they will be OK.
While dozens of U.S. health workers have come back from work in Ebola-infected countries safely, they volunteered to go and have medical training. Service members, on the other hand, are required to go, regardless of any concerns they or their family members may have.