The Pentagon has formally ended their COVID-19 mandate for the Armed Forces.
Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) posted the official memo for Pentagon leaders on Twitter on Tuesday night. In the memo, the Secretary of Defense praises officials for their efforts to combat the virus throughout the pandemic. It goes on to explain the rolling back of COVID protocols.
Section 525 of the NDAA for FY 2023 requires me to rescind the mandate that members of the Armed Forces be vaccinated against COVID-19, issued in my August 24, 2021 memorandum, “Mandatory Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination of Department of Defense Service Members.” I hereby rescind the memorandum.
The Pentagon also rescinded the same mandate for members of the National Guard and the Ready Reserve.
The memo indicates that members of the Armed Forces who refused the vaccine will not be allowed to experience any “adverse actions” if they requested reprieve based on religious liberty.
The Secretaries of the Military Departments will update the records of requests, including letters of reprimand. The Secretaries of the Military Departments will further cease any ongoing reviews of current Service member religious, administrative, or medical accommodation requests solely for exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine or appeals of denials of such requests.
Roy called the move “an important step,” but emphasized that there is more to do. For now, those previously dismissed for their refusals to take the vaccine will have the right to have their records updated to strike any negative language or characterizations. It is not clear if any member of the Armed Forces unfairly dismissed will have a path to return to service.
Pentagon formally drops COVID-19 mandate. There is more to do here, but this is an important step.
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) January 11, 2023
For now, those previously dismissed for their refusals to take the vaccine will have the right to have their records updated to strike any negative language or characterizations. It is not clear if any member of the Armed Forces unfairly dismissed will have a path to return to service.
As RedState writer Streiff points out, this is about more than a vaccine. Someone needs to be held accountable for the horrific treatment of our service members who have only endeavored to serve our nation and protect our sovereignty.
The Department of Defense has become unaccountable. The new Republican House needs to take steps to stop the problem from getting worse. The next Republican president must take a page from George C. Marshall’s playbook, ignore rank and seniority, and immediately fill the military’s upper ranks with men focused on fighting and winning wars instead of the princely class that runs the Pentagon today.
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