(PresidentialInsider.com)- Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense, is preparing to ask for authorization to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all American active duty troops.
This new follows the directive issued by President Joe Biden recently that the military take a look at when and how the vaccine mandate could occur.
Last week, Biden asked the Defense Department “to look into how and when” the COVID-19 vaccine would be added to the mandatory list of vaccines for military personnel.
A top defense official said to CNN that Austin’s “inclination is towards making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory” for all troops who are considered active duty.
If Austin decides to move forward with that directive, he would need to seek a waiver from the president to allow the vaccine to be given to troops before the Food and Drug Administration gives the vaccines full approval.
Before now, the Pentagon had indicated that it would likely wait until the FDA gave full approval to the COVID-19 vaccines before making them mandatory. The president’s push to increase levels of vaccinations across the country, though, put pressure on the military to move forward now.
On July 6, a Department of Justice memo stated:
“Because DOD has informed us that it understandably does not want to convey inaccurate or confusing information to service members — that is, telling them that they have the ‘option’ to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine if they effectively lack such an option because of a military order — DOD should seek a presidential waiver before it imposes a vaccination requirement.”
Austin recently said he would consult with various medical professionals before making a final decision or creating a timeline to implement a new vaccine policy. He said:
“But, we won’t let grass grow under our feet. The president directed us to do something, and we’ll get after it.”
Officials recently said that the plan being developed at the Pentagon would include geographic commanders and military services work together on establishing a new vaccination schedule for active duty troops who are stationed all across the world.
It’s possible that troops who are scheduled for an upcoming deployment could be the first group of active duty troops who will receive the mandatory vaccinations, if they haven’t received them already.
Civilians in the Department of Defense would also fall under all rules that were established for employees of the federal government.
As for forces of the National Guard, they would only be subjected to the vaccine mandate if they are activated by any federal authority. It wouldn’t go into effect if they were activated by state authorities.
This is yet another move by the Biden administration to force vaccines on federal employees.
Last week, the president said every federal employee would have to attest to having a vaccine. If they didn’t have one, they would be forced to go through strict protocols that include testing regularly, wearing a mask and other restrictions.