In a memo to the Joint Chiefs chairman, the service secretaries and the top of the National Guard Bureau, Austin wrote that Pentagon funds can’t be used “for payment of duties performed under Title 32 for members of the National Guard who do not comply” with the navy’s vaccine requirement.

Title 32 refers to National Guard operations beneath state orders, versus operations beneath federal orders, that are referred to as Title 10. Both are paid for by the federal authorities.

Austin’s memo comes a day after he rejected a request for an exemption to the vaccine mandate from Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. In a letter written earlier this month, the Republican governor had argued that the requirement “violates the personal freedoms of many Oklahomans” and will trigger them to “potentially sacrifice their personal beliefs.” Stitt additionally argued that Oklahoma would want all of its National Guard members for the upcoming winter and the opportunity of winter storms.

But Austin dismissed these arguments. “The concerns raised in your letter do not negate the need for this important military readiness requirement,” he wrote in a letter to Stitt on Monday.

Nevertheless, Stitt didn’t seem able to again down. He insisted that he stays the commander in chief of the Oklahoma National Guard so long as it operates beneath Title 32 orders.

Stitt had instructed his lately appointed commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, to not implement the mandate. Mancino, who acknowledged it put him in an ungainly state of affairs, mentioned that beneath state orders, his commander was the governor. But he additionally mentioned that if the guard have been referred to as up beneath federal orders, he would implement the vaccine requirement.

On Tuesday, Austin made clear the results of a failure to adjust to the navy’s vaccine mandate, no matter whether or not the guard unit was working beneath state or federal orders.

In the memo, first reported by NBC News, Austin mentioned members of the National Guard should change into vaccinated “in order to participate in drills, training and other duty conducted under title 32.”

“No credit or excused absence shall be afforded to members who do not participate in drills, training, or other duty due to failure to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” he wrote.

Austin additionally mentioned the vaccination requirement applies to the Ready Reserve, a part of the navy’s reserve forces that should be ready for mobilization inside a specified time frame.

On Monday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby reiterated that guard members’ failure to get vaccinated dangers their participation within the National Guard.

“One could elect not to take the vaccine, of course, but then you would be putting at jeopardy your ability to stay in the National Guard,” Kirby mentioned at a information briefing.



Sources