Pentagon threatens OK Nat’l Guard: Can force vax

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On Monday, the Department of Defense publicly addressed Oklahoma’s move to reject the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for its National Guard troops, asserting that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “has the authority to require these vaccines for all members of the force.”

Last week, Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino of the Oklahoma National Guard defied the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate, advising troops that they would not be penalized or punished for choosing not to take the vaccine. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters on Monday that Secretary Austin has that authority “to establish readiness requirements for all members of the Department of Defense and that includes the National Guard,” but said he didn’t want to “hypothesize about potential outcomes” relating to the Oklahoma National Guard’s refusal to apply to mandate.

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Kirby said Austin believes “a vaccinated force is a more ready force,” noting that because National Guard troops still receive federal funding, the Defense Secretary …

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