Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 2, 2021

With Vaccination Deadlines Approaching, Commanders Asked to Use Compassion in Enforcement

By C. Todd Lopez DOD NEWS

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military services have all set deadlines for when service members must be vaccinated against COVID-19. The first of those deadlines, for active duty Air Force personnel, arrives tomorrow.

Right now, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said about 97% of the total force has been vaccinated with at least one dose. During a press conference today at the Pentagon, he told reporters this includes 99% of sailors, 97% of airmen, and 93% of Marines. Among soldiers, he said, the vaccination rate is above 90%.

"So just in terms of first dosage, there's been a lot more progress and we continue to see the men and women of the force doing the right thing — which is getting vaccinated," he said.

Kirby said commanders have plenty of options for enforcing vaccine mandates short of resorting to actions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has asked commanders to execute those options first.

"I think the secretary has been very clear with the leaders of the military departments that he wants them to execute the mandate with a sense of compassion and understanding," he said. "I know he made this clear to them that he knows as a former commander himself, that leaders have a range of tools available to them to help troops make the right decisions for themselves, for the units, for the families, short of using the Uniform Code of Military Justice, therefore, short of punitive measures."

Nevertheless, Kirby said, the vaccine mandates are lawful orders, and commanders may eventually need to escalate the pressure they put on servicemembers to get vaccinated.

"He also trusts that commanders ... will ultimately do what they need to do for the readiness of their unit, and if that comes to doing something of a punitive nature, they certainly have that right and that authority," Kirby said.

When it comes to service members being deployment ready, based on their vaccination status, Kirby said the secretary of defense is relying on the individual services and commanders to make those calls.

"The secretary will delegate that specific decision down to commanders at the appropriate level," Kirby said. "When you say deployable, what does that mean? They're different units, different services, define deployments differently. And so he wants to let the services manage that decision-making process for themselves and the commander specifically. Obviously, though, he wants as much of the force as possible vaccinated, because he still believes that a vaccinated force is a more ready force."
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
304,065
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Washington National Guard and Royal Malaysian Air Force honor fallen colleague in unique ceremony
From Right to Left: Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Commander of the Washington Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general, Washington and Brig. Gen. Dan Dent, Commanding General of the Washington Army National Guard attend the memorial ceremony for Royal Malaysian Air Force Col. Hasnol Abu Hassan on Nov. 23, 2021 at the House of Mercy, an all-Muslim cemetery near Covington, Wash. Col. Hasnol Abu Hassan passed away after sustaining a medical emergency during a recent State Partnership Program visit to Washington.
Nov. 24, 2021 - During the recent Washington and Malaysian airmen to airmen talks held at Camp Murray, a tragedy occurred when Royal Malaysian Air Force Col. Hasnol Abu Hassan died after sustaining a medical emergency. His sudden passing was...

Prototype Aims to Reduce Fuel Use, Improve Tactical Vehicle Performance
Military vehicles move down a road at the Joint Readiness Training Center Operations Group in Fort Polk, La., Nov. 24, 2020.
Nov. 24, 2021 - The Defense Department operates a fleet of more than 250,000 tactical vehicles, which frequently operate in austere conditions. These vehicles often spend as much of their operational time stationary as they do in motion,...

U.S. Marines and Sailors Rehearse Maritime Strikes in the Pacific
A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet aircraft with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 takes off from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 18, 2021. VMFA-112 participated in a joint maritime strike rehearsal with the U.S. Navy off the coast of Okinawa, Nov 19, 2021. U.S. Marines with VMFA-112 routinely train and rehearse joint maritime mission sets in order to maintain readiness to carry out a wide range of operational tasks in a region characterized by vast oceans, seas, and waterways.
Nov. 24, 2021 - IWAKUNI, Japan. -- U.S. forces with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet conducted a joint rehearsal of tactics and simulated strikes on naval targets off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 19, 2021. Between...

Malaysia, U.S. Commence Bilateral Exercise Maritime Training Activity Malaysia
Vice Adm. Datuk Abu Bakar bin Md Ajis, Commander, Western Fleet, Royal Malaysian Navy, provides opening remarks for Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2021 during a virtual ceremony, Nov. 23. MTA Malaysia is a continuation of 27 years of U.S. Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy serving to enhance mutual capabilities in ensuring maritime peace and stability.Malaysia,
Nov. 23, 2021 - STRAIT OF MALACCA -- Military personnel from Malaysia and the U.S. kicked off Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2021 virtually and in the waters and airspace of the Strait of Malacca, Nov. 23.The eight-day engagement...

Rules-Based International Order Must Be Protected with Allies, Partners, Indo-Pacom Commander Says
Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, conducts an interview during the 2021 Halifax International Security Forum (HFX). HFX is dedicated to strengthening strategic cooperation among democratic nations.
Nov. 23, 2021 - WASHINGTON -- The 80-year-old rules-based international order has done everything it's designed to do for all nations by enabling security, stability and prosperity for all around the globe, Navy Adm. John C. Aquilino,...