Posted BY: ET

A retired U.S. Coast Guard rear admiral warned that COVID-19 vaccine mandates are weakening the military and driving down recruitment efforts.

In a letter published Monday, retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral William “Dean” Lee criticized the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. The rule, implemented in 2021 through the Department of Defense (DOD), has allowed for few religious exemptions.

Lee noted that he is vaccinated himself and isn’t against COVID-19 vaccines, but argued that removing every single service member who refuses the shot violates their constitutional rights and hinders military preparedness. It comes as U.S. Army officials confirmed on Sept. 30 that they failed to meet recruiting goals.

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“Reports of recruiting struggles across the services indicate that the vaccine mandates are an impediment to recruiting, exacerbating the current recruiting and retention problems that are already impacting force strength in some DOD components,” the three-star vice admiral wrote in an open letter to members of the Coast Guard. “Enforcement of the blanket mandate is also resulting in separations of thousands of personnel and therefore is exacerbating force strength issues, and thus readiness concerns.”

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