April 18 (UPI) — Travel restrictions affecting military personnel will be extended to June 30, the Defense Department announced Saturday.
Matthew Donovan, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley made the decision “after careful consideration and assessment.”
“We understand the impact this has on our service members and their families. However, this is a necessary measure to keep our people safe and our military ready,” Donovan told reporters.
In mid-March Esper ordered restrictions on domestic and international travel for troops and their families which were to last 60 days — meaning they were set to expire May 11.
Esper hinted earlier this week that restrictions could be extended but did not specify a date.
Donovan did not rule out the possibility of an extension beyond the end of June, but also said restrictions will be reviewed every 15 days, which could result in the ban being lifted earlier.
Esper is not expected to sign the documents — which will include more detail on the particulars on the restrictions — until Monday, Donovan said.
He did say the new guidelines are “a little more liberal” and include exceptions for troop deployments and returns, recruiting and basic training, temporary duty travel or changes of station, travel needed for medical treatment, and travel for people leaving the military.