COVID Vaccine Mandate Proves Biden Administration Doesn’t Care About Military Readiness 

December 3, 2021 Updated: December 3, 2021

Commentary

The Biden administration’s disregard for military readiness in connection with its COVID-19 mandates in the armed forces stands in stark contrast to its talking points about transgender service personnel.

Democrats argued after President Donald Trump reimposed the ban on transgender service personnel serving openly that it harmed readiness even though a RAND Corporation study estimated that only between “1,320  and 6,630” transgender people serve in the 1.3 million member military.

“This proposed ban, if implemented, would cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy,” a press release distributed by the Washington, D.C. based Human Rights Campaign said, citing admirals and generals opposed to the ban.

Military readiness in the face of growing challenges from China and Russia has taken a back burner to the Biden administration’s desire to purge dissenters from the military.

President Joe Biden invoked military readiness in his January repeal of Trump’s ban.

“[I]n 2016, a meticulous, comprehensive study requested by the Department of Defense found that enabling transgender individuals to serve openly in the United States military would have only a minimal impact on military readiness and healthcare costs,” Biden wrote in his executive order, while omitting the fact this was because transgender people in the military are small in number.

The 2016 RAND study Biden cited was commissioned by the Obama administration and found transgender service personnel were nondeployable for 238 days or 34 weeks out of the year while they were gender transitioning. Transgender personnel require regular hormone treatments, but other less political groups that require regular hormone shots are excluded from regular service.

The military doesn’t accept diabetics who require insulin injections for similar reasons, because they’re considered undeployable. The difference between diabetics and transgender individuals is that the former don’t have a well-funded lobby that convinced the Defense Department to override its principles when it comes to service and deployability.

The Biden administration didn’t similarly assess the impact of its COVID mandate on readiness from soldiers, sailors, guardians, airmen, and Marines refusing vaccination en masse. Republicans in Congress have been the only ones raising the question of readiness.

“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,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in an October statement calling on the Biden administration to cancel the vaccine mandate.

The Biden administration has a track record of stereotyping vaccine-resistant individuals as “Trump supporters” and ignoring the fact minorities account for a large portion of the vaccine-hesitant. It said (pdf) in August that it opposed widespread exemptions to the mandate for those who previously had COVID.

Considering the military’s embrace of critical race theory, transgenderism, and other elite cultural agenda items, it’s in the Biden administration’s interest to use these mandates to cleanse the military of anyone who opposes its goals. Obama similarly fired 197 officers who opposed his policies and advanced loyalists like Gen. Lloyd Austin who were eager to do his bidding.

Talk about the negative impact of these service bans on readiness were hollow messaging. Those who used talking points about transgender personnel in the military never really cared about military effectiveness except as a media messaging tool. Their deafness about the impact of COVID mandates makes this transparent.

At the same time, concern about the consciences of the thousands of U.S. service personnel who are hesitant about the vaccines is absent. So far, approximately 4,800 Air Force personnel have refused the vaccine on religious grounds. The Marine Corps faces significant resistance in its ranks. Five percent of the nation’s 180,000 Marines are unvaccinated.

“The Marine Corps has processed 1,902 of the 2,441 religious exemption requests it received, and has approved none,” Stars and Stripes reported.

Oklahoma’s National Guard balked at the mandate, but the Defense Department denied its request for an exemption.

Mandate protests also have impacted defense contractors such as Raytheon that have faced the loss of skilled workers. The president of naval shipbuilder Huntingdon Ingalls suspended the deadline for its workers to get vaccinated.

Recent evidence shows that breakthrough cases of COVID are not uncommon, although anecdotal data suggests that those who are unvaccinated are more likely to require hospitalization if they contract the virus.

The public rationalization is that sick service personnel can infect others; however, the fact vaccinated individuals can contract the virus and spread it to others seems to undermine its purpose.

“State reporting is inconsistent but collectively shows there have been more than 1.89 million cases and at least 72,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths among fully vaccinated people in the U.S. this year,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

The number of breakthrough cases of vaccinated individuals could be much higher, Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC. He noted that the number of breakthrough cases is not being closely monitored.

This author personally knows five vaccinated people who have contracted COVID despite being double vaccinated.

An Israeli study found the Pfizer vaccine was 39 percent effective against last summer’s Delta variant, while Moderna was 56.6 percent effective according to a California study.

Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported since the initial trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. They have been more common among younger people, although rare overall, and considering the young demographic of the U.S. military it means that military members could be more susceptible to such vaccine side effects than the general population.

A study published in June in the journal JAMA Cardiology found that 22 previously healthy American male service personnel in their 20s developed heart inflammation after receiving the vaccine.

“Further surveillance and evaluation of this adverse event following immunization is warranted. Potential for rare vaccine-related adverse events must be considered in the context of the well-established risk of morbidity, including cardiac injury, following COVID-19 infection,” the study concluded.

Members of the U.S. military face draconian punishments, including the loss of veterans’ benefits and ability to be promoted if they refuse the COVID vaccines.

Military readiness only matters to the Biden administration when it advances its political and cultural agenda, and then only as a talking point. We can only ask ourselves if the real goal is undermining America’s national standing and crippling it in the face of its adversaries.

“The leadership in the Democratic Party on the Hill and in the White House … Speaker Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, President Biden all come from the anti-military Vietnam era and it shows,” Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.) said last month. “Why? Because their actions consistently prioritize the interests of our military last.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Rossomando is a senior analyst for defense policy at the Center for Security Policy and served as senior analyst for counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years.