President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order Thursday paving the way for the deployment of National Guard forces to Liberia to help contain the Ebola outbreak there, sources told NBC News.
The sources said that eight engineers and logistical specialists from the Guard, both active-duty and reservists, would probably be included in the first deployment. They are expected to help build 17 Ebola treatment centers, with 100 beds apiece. The sources said that no decision had been made.
Defense Department officials said that the executive order was necessary to speed the deployments, and would allow the president to send additional forces as needed. Health officials have recorded more than 2,400 Ebola deaths in Liberia, the highest of any country.