Joint Task Force Civil Support wrapped up their mission as part of the whole-of-government COVID-19 vaccination response on June 21, 2021. The command initiated its assistance to the U.S. vaccination effort in early February, and during that time supported the administering of more than 1.87 million vaccines to communities throughout the United States.
During the COVID-19 vaccine effort, JTF-CS primarily acted as a command and control headquarters for U.S. Army North, which is U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command. JTF-CS enabled joint teams from every branch of the Armed Forces, with more than 2,500 service members sustaining 22 Community Vaccination Centers across 14 states and territories.
The Department of Defense was chosen to aid FEMA through the federal validation process, where it was determined the DoD could assist in this national effort to vaccinate the American people. Specifically, the DoD contains expeditionary capabilities and availability to deploy on short notice, something not readily available in other federal agencies or in the private sector.
The level of assistance the DoD’s COVID vaccination response provided would not have been possible without the professionalism and dedication of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, who comprise of America’s fighting force.
In a message to those men and women, Maj. Gen. Jeff Van, Joint Task Force Civil Support commanding general, addressed the importance of answering the nation’s call. “I am very proud of this team and to be a part of this whole-of-government effort to expedite vaccinations for those in need. As of yesterday, JTF-CS has been able to help execute more than 1.71 million vaccination shots,” said Van. “All of the service members and DoD civilians have a lot of pride and satisfaction knowing we've helped so many people by slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
As a part of the Joint Force Land Component Command team, JTF-CS provided a foundation for the deployment and operation of large-scale medical and logistical vaccination teams. These teams varied in size and scale, from 25 to 230 service members per team, depending on the location and size of the vaccination effort. These teams provided medical personnel to prepare and administer the vaccine and additional general purpose personnel in administrative roles to supplement the functioning of the site.
These agile and tailorable teams collaborated with other federal, state, and local agencies, to include the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, serving at vaccination centers in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Cleveland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Tennessee and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Every one of the aforementioned state-run CVCs were at the request of the individual state and FEMA, with the DoD providing the manpower to facilitate the day-to-day operations within the CVC.
“As I’ve gone to the various centers and visited the service members — Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen, overwhelmingly embraced this mission. For many, this was an opportunity to help our fellow Americans in America,” said Van. “Primarily in the military we are going somewhere else in the world to encourage U.S. interests and objectives, and there’s a lot of pride in being able to provide assistance to neighborhoods and communities in the homeland that have been hit so hard by the pandemic, which helps get our country back to normal.”
As of June 2021, JTF-CS-led CVC teams administered nearly 40 percent of the 5 million vaccinations given by state-ran, federally supported sites and provided more than half of the manpower in the JFLCC’s role of the whole-of-government effort to slow the spread of the virus for the nation.