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Pentagon Grappling With New Vaccine Orders; Timing Uncertain

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United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin holds a press conference with Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (not in photo) after a bilateral meeting at Camp Aguinaldo military camp in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines Friday, July 30, 2021. Austin is visiting Manila to hold talks with Philippine officials to boost defense ties and possibly discuss the The Visiting Forces Agreement between the US and Philippines. (Rolex dela Pena/Pool Photo via AP)

(AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is vowing he “won’t let grass grow under our feet” as the department begins to implement new vaccine and testing directives. But Pentagon officials are scrambling to figure out how to implement the changes across the vast military population and determining which National Guard and Reserve troops would be affected by the orders.

The Pentagon has two missions: It must develop plans to make the vaccine mandatory for the military, and it has to implement new requirements for federal workers who will have to either attest to a COVID-19 vaccination or face frequent testing and travel restrictions.

 

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