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Armed Services Committee Chair Defends Punishment for Unvaxxed Troops: Orders Are Orders

Lawrence Jackson

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith (D-WA) defended the Department of Defense discharging U.S. troops for not getting a COVID-19 vaccination because orders are orders.


Smith spoke against removing the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for service members in the new National Defense Authorization Act on the House floor Thursday.

"I do want to address the vaccine issue....Number one, the policy the Department of Defense put in place in August of 2021 requiring service members to be vaccinated was the absolute right policy. It saved lives and it improve readiness for the United States military...because it was absolutely clear that that vaccine made an enormous difference in protection people from the disease," Smith said.

"Service members who refused to follow that order HAD to be disciplined. Orders are not optional in the United States military. You cannot function that way and we are not going to undo that, " he added.

Smith also encouraged the Department of Defense to update the policy to require booster shots in order for someone to be considered fully vaccinated.


The current COVID vaccine regime does not prevent someone from contracting or transmitting the COVID-19 virus. Longterm side effects of the shot are still being discovered and evaluated.

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