Obama Authorizes Guard, Reserve Call-Up For Ebola
President Barack Obama is authorizing the Pentagon to call up reserve and National Guard troops if they are needed to assist in the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The U.S. has already committed to sending up to 4,000 military personnel to West Africa to provide logistics and help build treatment units to confront the rapidly spreading and deadly virus.
Obama signed an executive order Thursday that permits the Pentagon to use the reservists and Guard troops.
Obama also notified top congressional officials of his move.
Nearly 4,500 people have died from the Ebola outbreak, most of them in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The White House has said the troops will not be providing direct health care aid.
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers are criticizing the government response to the arrival of Ebola on U.S. shores.
The criticism came at a House hearing where top public health officials have been defending their actions.
Republican Fred Upton of Michigan, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, said Americans are "scared.'' He said, "People's lives are at stake, and the response so far has been unacceptable.''
Dr. Thomas Frieden, who heads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he remains confident in the ability of the U.S. health care system to fight Ebola.