Obama Authorizes National Guard To Help Fight Ebola


ebola obama margaret chan handshake

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma after speaking at the United Nations meeting on the Ebola outbreak, in New York September 25, 2014. At right front, is World Health Organization Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama authorized the use of American military reservists on Thursday to support humanitarian aid efforts against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

In a letter to leaders of the US Congress, Obama said an unspecified number of reservists will be used to help activate duty personnel in support of the Ebola mission in West Africa.

It could include personnel like engineers, logistics staff, and communications specialists. No individuals or units has been identified yet for the call-up.


Earlier on Thursday, sources told NBC News that "eight engineers and logistical specialists from the Guard, both active-duty and reservists, would probably be included in the first deployment." They would be assisting in the construction of 17 Ebola treatment centers in Liberia.

"The president has laid out very clearly what the mission is. The Department of Defense has told the president that it will require about 4,000 Department of Defense personnel to execute the mission the president has directed them to execute," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday, according to USA Today. "What I don't know is the composition of that force."

Here's the full executive order, via Buzzfeed News.


(Reuters reporting By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and David Alexandria; Editing by Sandra Maler)