Here’s what happened…
In a letter to the Pentagon, five Republican governors asked that the Department of Defense remove the vaccine mandate on National Guard members.
In the letter, the governors request the Pentagon and the Service Secretaries’ withdraw part of its directives to Title 32 National Guard Members concerning the COVID-19 vaccine. The letter goes on to state that although the Pentagon had rights to establish readiness standards for the National Guard for activation into Title 10 status, they did not have the constitutional or statutory authority to establish directives that dictated whether “training in a Title 32 can occur, setting punishment requirements for refusing to be vaccinated, and requiring separation from each state National Guard if unvaccinated.”
The letter, signed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska), Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Mississippi), Gov. Mark Gordon (R-Wyoming), Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa), Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-Nebraska), referenced that the National Guard was under the command of the governor of the respective state unless members were called to active service under Title 10.
To substantiate, they referenced Perpich v. Department of Defense, 496 U.S. 334 (1990) in addition to the Militia Clauses Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution.
It has always been the case that National Guard members report to the governor of their respective state, except when called to active service. This overreach has placed many governors at odds with the Biden administration’s military vaccine mandate.
In November, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-Oklahoma) asked Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense, to suspend requirements for Oklahoma National Guard members be vaccinated against COVID-19, referencing the 800 soldiers (or 10% of the state’s members), who had not been inoculated and had no intention of getting the vaccine. Recently, an order by Adjutant General Thomas Mancino said Guardsmen would not need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 unless federally mobilized. The order also stated that Guards who refused the vaccine would not face any legal action.
These steps follow Biden’s vaccine mandates continually being struck down in various courts, despite his administration remaining “confident” the mandates have solid legal footing.