Stitt publicly requested on November 2 that the Department of Defense (DoD) refrain from enforcing the regulation against members of the state’s Army and Air National Guard. The letter, which his office made public on the state’s website, stated that 10% of the state’s soldiers had declined the vaccination and that the requirement was “irresponsible.”
“The Defense Department is aware of the Mancino document and Stitt’s letter,” stated Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby. “The Defense Department will respond appropriately to the governor,” Kirby added.
He didn’t go into detail.
However, Secretary Austin feels that a vaccine-trained army is a more ready force, as Kirby pointed out. “For this reason, he has mandated obligatory immunizations for the whole military, which includes our National Guard, which makes substantial contributions to national tasks both at home and abroad.”
Army Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, the state’s previous top military, told local reporters on Thursday that he found out who would be taking over as governor via social media. According to the Oklahoman, he had originally planned to hand over leadership to Mancino.
Following Thompson’s resignation, Mancino published a policy letter proclaiming that the state would not impose the requirement on its soldiers as long as they were under state supervision. The decision seems to be a defiance of the Department of Defense’s directives to reprimand and eventually fire service members who refuse the inoculation.
“There will be no need for any Oklahoma Guardsman to get the COVID-19 Vaccine,” Mancino writes in the document, which also claims that Stitt is the unit’s “lawful Commander in Chief” while the force is not called into action by the federal government.
Although National Guard members serve under the command of their governors when they are not called upon by the Pentagon, federal priorities often take precedence over state uses of the Guard, as top officers frequently stress. This is due to the fact that the federal government provides the great bulk of funds, training, and equipment to the Guard.
It is now unclear if the injunction would affect the financing for the project.
Portion 401 of Title 32, the section of the United States Code that deals with the National Guard, has a provision that states that fail to comply with Title 32 standards would lose their federal funding for the Guard. It is not apparent, however, whether the vaccination obligation satisfies the legal requirements for exemption from the mandate.
“The only way Oklahoma could ‘forfeit’ any federal funds for failing to comply with Title 32 would be to reject the legitimate command of the dually elected civilian authority, i.e. the Governor of Oklahoma,” Stitt’s senior spokeswoman, Charlie Hannema, told Army Times in an email.
According to the survey, half of pre-retirees and more than four in ten retirees are experiencing unanticipated financial shock. One in every five pre-retirees report that these shocks have lowered their assets by 30% or more and their spending by 15% or more……