U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will ensure that all National Guard and reserve members are vaccinated against COVID-19 or face wage losses and other consequences, according to a memo released Tuesday. I ordered.
The order was issued during a dispute between the Pentagon and the National Guard in Oklahoma, central United States, over the Pentagon’s coronavirus vaccine obligations.
A memo sent by Austin to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief of Military Service, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Preparation stated that federal funds should not be used to pay any obligations. Performed by unvaccinated troops that are not Pentagon exempt.
The National Guard responds to both the Governor and the President, but is paid federal for the training and other activities needed to maintain the National Guard status.
According to Austin’s memo, National Guard personnel who have not been vaccinated by the Army and Air Force vaccination deadlines are unable to train or train, are punished for unreasonable absences, and affect the number of days accumulated for retirement. To do.
“In a sense, this memo relieves the stress of members of the Oklahoma Guard (because it provides clear guidance and removes the question of which authority they should listen to,” said the Center’s army. He told VOA on Wednesday for Veterans and Director of Social Programs, Catherine Kuzminsky, Center for a New American Security.
The US Secretary of Defense required all service members to be vaccinated with COVID-19 earlier this year, leaving the service department with a deadline for vaccination compliance.
However, on November 2, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt requested Austin to withdraw the requirements of the Oklahoma Guard. He then appointed Brigadier General Thomas Mancino, the new commander of the National Guard of the United States of America. Brigadier General Thomas Mancino issued the latest COVID-19 vaccine policy last month, stating that guards under his command do not need to be vaccinated.
Austin rejected Stitt’s request on Monday.
Air National Guard and reserve members must be vaccinated until Thursday. The Navy Reserve has a December 28 vaccination deadline, and the Army National Guard and Reserve Forces have a June 30, 2022 vaccination deadline.
Vaccination deadlines for active forces have passed or will be later this month, depending on the military service sector.
Data on active military personnel provided to VOA by service on Wednesday show that 97% of the Air Force and Space Force, 97% of the Navy, 96% of the Army, and 95% of the Marine Corps have been fully or partially vaccinated. Was shown.
The Navy had previously stated that 99% of active seafarers had been vaccinated, but Navy spokesperson Major Andrew Degarmo told VOA on Wednesday: The discrepancy included the total number of units and redundant entries. “
According to a policy issued last month, Navy seafarers and Marines who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 could be separated from the unit and lose some of the benefits of veterans.
When the Air Force deadline passed on November 2, approximately 10,000 active duty soldiers and space force guardians were not vaccinated with COVID-19. The Air Force is still considering thousands of religious exemption requests.
The army vaccination deadline for active troops is December 15.
Chief Pentagon issues National Guard COVID vaccination order
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