Sen. Jim Inhofe called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to suspend the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate, which he said had been implemented ‘at the expense of readiness and morale.’
‘At a time when our adversaries continue to increase their quantitative and qualitative advantage against our forces, we should seek to ensure that no policy, even unintentionally, hinders military readiness,’ the Oklahoma Republican and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee wrote in a letter to Austin.
‘This haphazardly implemented and politically motivated vaccine mandate must be immediately suspended or risk irrevocable damage to our national security reminiscent of sequestration,’ or budget cuts.
On Aug. 24, the Pentagon issued an order requiring each branch of service set a deadline by which its members would need to be vaccinated. Yet as of last week, 103,000 active duty service members had yet to get their first jab.
The 103,000 service members includes 48,600 Army soldiers; 7,000 Navy sailors; 15,500 Air Force airmen and Space Force Guardians; and 26,800 Marines, according to Military.com.
‘This haphazardly implemented and politically motivated vaccine mandate must be immediately suspended or risk irrevocable damage to our national security reminiscent of sequestration,’ or budget cuts, Inhofe, above, said
The Air Force has set a Nov. 2 deadline for getting inoculated.
The Navy and Marines have set a November 28 deadline for their active duty forces to be fully vaccinated.
The Army has a December 15 deadline.
Members of the reserve forces – which have by far the lowest rates of vaccination among the armed forces – have until June 2022.
US service members can be required to take as many as 17 vaccines, depending on where in the world they are stationed.
‘Mandating vaccines in the military is not new,’ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said in a statement of support of the move in August. ‘Since the first days of basic training and throughout our service, we’ve received multiple vaccines.’
‘Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is a key force protection and readiness issue,’ Milley wrote out in black ink at the end of the statement.
Inhofe’s warning that adversaries ‘continue to increase their quantitative and qualitative advantage against our forces’ came as China on Monday is believed to have tested a ‘hyper-sonic missile’ and North Korea test-fired two ‘submarine-launched ballistic missiles.’
China’s missile is reportedly designed to travel in low orbit to dodge missile detection and defense systems, allowing China to strike virtually anywhere on the planet with little or no warning.
North Korea has tested submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) before, including one underwater launch in 2019, but it is thought that missile was fired from a submerged platform rather than a submarine.
Confirmation of a submarine launch would mean dictator Kim Jong Un has added another deadly nuclear-capable missile to his ever-growing arsenal.
China’s state banks have loaned some $140billion to Latin American and Caribbean countries since 2005, which is thought to be just a fraction of the money that has flowed to the region when private deals are taken into account. Beijing is also involved in major infrastructure and energy projects in most countries, including transport networks and power stations
The Shenzhou-13 spacecraft is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on October 16, 2021 in Jiuquan, Gansu Province of China
Weapons race: A comparison of the most advanced (columns from left) missiles, aircraft carriers, tanks and aircraft possessed by China, the US and Russia
With the world at battle stations, Putin launched a colossal military drill in the Black Sea on Tuesday, reigniting fears in the Ukraine that Russia could annex further territory in the east on the border with Crimea.
More than 40 Russian vessels and 30-plus military planes and 20 helicopters took part in exercises in Crimea, with missile launches, practice bombings and landings by amphibious forces.
Thousands of miles away, a Russian and Chinese fleet sailed through the narrow Tsugaru Strait between mainland Japan and its northern island Hokkaido, putting Tokyo on high alert.
Counterbalancing the threat posed by China is the new Aukus alliance forged by the US, UK and Australia last month.
Warships from those countries were this week sailing through the Bay of Bengal, led by the Royal Navy’s new flagship carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, on the fleet’s way back from a deployment in the South China Sea.
SEA OF JAPAN: Russian and Chinese vessels sailing through the Tsugaru Strait, which separates the Sea of Japan from the Pacific