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Wicker blasts Department of Defense’s...

Wicker blasts Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, recruitment challenges

By: Anne Summerhays - July 22, 2022

Miss. Senator said the vaccine mandate is “on the precipice of irreversibly damaging the readiness of the U.S. military in the near-term and beyond.”

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin calling for an end to the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The mandate has resulted in thousands of military service members being expelled amid a nationwide recruiting crisis.

The letter follows an announcement from Army officials earlier this month that some 40,000 National Guard and 22,000 Reserve soldiers who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer allowed to participate in their military duties, also effectively cutting them off from some of their military benefits.

According to an Army spokesperson, soldiers who refuse the vaccination order without an approved or pending exemption request are subject to adverse administrative actions, including flags, bars to service, and official reprimands.

“Even as it struggles to meet recruiting goals, the Department of Defense is continuing to terminate experienced, unvaccinated servicemembers by the thousands. The Department is simultaneously bleeding its best and brightest while desperately trying to recruit new talent,” Wicker wrote. “This is not a blueprint for success.”

“Your COVID vaccine mandate is on the precipice of irreversibly damaging the readiness of the U.S. military in the near-term and beyond,” Wicker continued. “I strongly advise that you discontinue this mandate and work to make the services whole again.”

You can read the full letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin below.

Wicker Blasts Defense Department For Vaccine Requirement, Recruitment Challenges by yallpolitics on Scribd

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: