Standby orders have been issued for Four-star Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy to take command of the United States if Washington is incapacitated by COVID-19 under these unprecedented circumstances. According to a report issued in Newsweek, the contingency plan was made by US military planners three weeks ago under the circumstances.
The extraordinary contingency plan was made in case of a catastrophic event. In the event that the president or executive branch of the federal government becomes unable to perform their duties, or if Washington D.C. needs to be evacuated, or if Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court are affected by the COVID-19 crisis Gen. Shaughnessy would take over.
With standby orders already given, it allows Gen. O’Shaughnessy the power to take control of the United States and grants him the power to impose martial law across the country if the need arises. In the event that Washington is crippled Gen. O’Shaughnessy would remain commander in chief until a new president is elected.
With the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, it is unknown what might occur with the United States government or the country at this time. The country has not faced anything like COVID-19 before.
The first confirmed COVID-19 case in the United States was on January 20, 2020. Since the first case of COVID-19, there have been 29,664 cases and 377 deaths in the United States with the highest number of victims concentrated in New York City. Globally there have been 335,377 cases and 14,611 deaths since the coronavirus COVID-19 began in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
President Trump on Friday declared New York a major disaster. Under the president’s declaration, it allows New York Governor Cuomo easier access to the FEMA disaster bill, medical supplies and other things needed in the crisis. It also allows the U.S. military to be activated to maintain control and allows the military to assist in building emergency hospitals and ICU units out of area hotels, arenas, and college dorms.
Gen. O’Shaughnessy serves as the commander of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Gen. Shaughnessy graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy 1986. He was a command pilot for the F-16 Fighting Falcon with more than 3,000 flight hours, and he also has 168 combat hours.
Gen. O’Shaughnessy has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Service Medal.