“General David D. Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations, tested positive today for COVID-19. He took the test today after learning that a close family member, with whom he had contact, tested positive for the virus,” the statement read. “In accordance with established COVID policies, General Thompson is self-quarantining and working remotely from home.”
The US Space Force is a newly formed military service branch structured within the Department of the Air Force that “trains, equips and maintains mission-ready space forces that provide missile warning, space domain awareness, positioning, navigation and timing, communications and space electronic warfare,” according to the US Defense Department.
Thompson isn’t the first Defense Department official to have been diagnosed with the virus. The vice commandant of the US Coast Guard, Adm. Charles Ray, tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month. His diagnosis prompted Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley and several members of the Pentagon’s senior leadership to quarantine.
Additionally, during the coronavirus outbreak among members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle who had attended a Rose Garden event earlier this month, at least one staffer — who is military personnel directly assigned to support the President in the Oval Office and residence — tested positive, according to a person familiar with the matter at the time.
The Defense Department has struggled with several coronavirus outbreaks during the pandemic. CNN reported earlier this month that the coronavirus had returned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the same aircraft carrier that experienced a major outbreak earlier this year, the handling of which caused the ship’s captain to be fired and led to the resignation of the acting Navy secretary.
In March, the department banned travel for members of the armed services, Defense Department civilian employees and their family members who are living on or serving at military properties to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
As of Wednesday morning, there had been 81,288 cases of coronavirus and 105 deaths from the virus among Defense Department personnel, according to department data. That includes military, civilian, dependents and contractors.