Pentagon Labeled “Divisive and Cruel” Over Threat To Remove 16k Unvaccinated Troops Despite Voided Vaccine Mandate

 March 13, 2023

Despite the DOD coronavirus vaccine mandate being no longer in effect, in a recent letter to lawmakers, the Pentagon said that it could still kick out as many as 16,000 unvaccinated troops.

Under Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel, Gilbert Cisneros, said in the letter, that despite the mandate no longer being in effect, troops who did not get vaccinated and did not request an exemption, are subject to “separation” but-

 “[military officials] continue to review cases on an individual basis to determine appropriate action”

-Gilbert Cisneros, Under Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel

Reportedly, this posture by the Pentagon, would apply to approximately 16,000 unvaccinated troops. According to Cisneros letter, approximately 69,000 troops remained unvaccinated, however 53,000 requested some kind of exemption, either medical, religious, or administrative. Despite Republicans forcing the administration to rescind the mandate late last year via the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, the remaining 16,000 could still be subject to separation.

Jim Banks (R-IN), Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman. slammed the Pentagon’s policy to punish troops who did not apply for an exemption. In a statement Banks said-

“It’s incredibly divisive and cruel to fire patriotic service members for refusing to comply with a partisan and harmful rule that no longer exists. To me, the only explanation is that the Biden administration wants to purge conservative service members from the military,”

- Jim Banks (R-IN), Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman

Banks questioned Cisneros, during a recent hearing, on the point of punishing service members over a mandate that is no longer in effect. When Banks pressed him on what the point was of enforcing the rescinded mandate.

Cisneros said it was, because the mandate was a “lawful order” at the time it was made, and that troops who remained unvaccinated but did not seek an exemption-

“disobeyed a lawful order.”…“Those who refused the vaccine and did not put in a request for an accommodation refused a lawful order,” Adding…“In order to maintain good order and discipline, it’s very important that our service members follow orders when they are lawful.”

-Gilbert Cisneros, Under Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel

However, never publicly answering questions, as to whether or not the vaccine mandate was “lawful”, the DOD has dodged whether or not Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin requested and received a waiver from President Joe Biden.

This is because the DOD can only mandate a vaccine approved for emergency use authorization - if the defense secretary requests and receives a waiver from the president. Instead, then-civilian defense official Terry Adirim wrote a memo claiming the EUA-vaccine and FDA-approved vaccine were “interchangeable.”

Still not really explained or classified as “lawful” -16,000 U.S. troops are being evaluated by compliance to the mandate which is now obsolete. This double standard, it would seem is meant to single out those troops who stood by the their “liberty of conscience” in not taking the inoculation. Hopefully Congress will look into this partisan attack on the freedoms of these American troops, and do something about this obvious Biden administration attack on their choice to stand from in their individual liberties.

"Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard."

-President John F. Kennedy
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