Obama's Next Executive Order: Sending The National Guard to Fight Ebola in Africa

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 2:35 PM
Obama's Next Executive Order: Sending The National Guard to Fight Ebola in Africa

President Obama will sign an executive order as soon as today deploying National Guard troops to Ebola stricken countries in West Africa according to a report from NBC News.

President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order Thursday paving the way for the deployment of National Guard forces to Liberia to help contain the Ebola outbreak there, sources told NBC News.

The sources said that eight engineers and logistical specialists from the Guard, both active-duty and reservists, would probably be included in the first deployment. They are expected to help build 17 Ebola treatment centers, with 100 beds apiece. The sources said that no decision had been made.

Fox News' Ed Henry confirmed this afternoon that a draft of the order is circulating through the White House and Pentagon.

A month ago President Obama announced the deployment of thousands of U.S. soldiers to Ebola stricken regions in Africa. The original number of soldiers deployed for the task was 3,000 but the Pentagon has upped that number to 4,000 this week. 

At this point it is unclear what National Guard troops will be tasked with doing or how they will be protected from contracting the disease once they arrive. Earlier this month we learned U.S. military soldiers and medical personnel will be handling Ebola infected blood samples.

The U.S. military mission to combat Ebola in West Africa is facing questions about the serious health risks American troops will encounter in heading to the epicenter of the deadly outbreak.

According to officials, a small group of trained military medical technicians on the ground will not be required to make direct contact with patients infected with the Ebola virus. However, they will have to handle infected blood samples, which Pentagon officials acknowledged Tuesday could be just as dangerous, if not more.

More information on this news will be available this afternoon.