The decision was announced in August, soon after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a memo to troops sharing his intention of making the vaccine mandatory. President Joe Biden strongly supported that decision, saying the vaccine would enable service members to stay healthy and protect their families.
But reaction to the decision has not remained positive.
Some politicians, including Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, say the Department of Defense should remove the mandate. Sen. Inhofe recently released this statement:
“At a time when our adversaries continue to increase their quantitative and qualitative advantage against our forces, we should seek to ensure that no policy, even unintentionally, hinders military readiness. Most troublesome is the lack of clarity and consistency among the services as they look to implement the administration’s hasty vaccination mandate. Combined with the uncertainty and burden the vaccination mandate places on industry, this administration will do more damage to the nation’s security than any external threat. As highlighted in a recent Washington Post article, tens of thousands of service members have yet to comply with the vaccination order. The ambiguity of the various policies combined with unrealistic timelines and processes for granting exemptions will ensure that tens of thousands of personnel are unable to comply. Responses to inquiries from the Senate Armed Services Committee to the Department as to the impacts on readiness, consequences for failure to comply with the mandate and anticipated manning challenges have been unsatisfactory.”
You can read Sen. Inhofe’s full statement here.