DAYTON, OH—On Wednesday, February 17th Congressman Turner participated virtually in a House Armed Services Committee open session to receive testimony on the Department of Defense’s evolving role and mission in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Committee Members joined both in person and virtually through Webex.  

The purpose of the full committee hearing was to receive testimony from Department of Defense witnesses on the Department’s ongoing support of the government-wide COVID-19 pandemic response, as well as force protection efforts. Witnesses included Mr. Robert G. Salesses, Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense & Global Security Office of the Secretary of Defense; Major General Jeff Taliaferro, United States Air Force, Vice Director for Operations Joint Chiefs of Staff; and, Major General Steven S. Nordhaus, United States Air Force, Director of Operations (J3/4/7), National Guard Bureau. 

Congressman Mike Turner questioned witnesses on how vaccines are being prioritized for service members who are on the frontlines of COVID-19, who are either aiding in vaccine distribution or supporting food banks or other locally-driven response efforts. Congressman Turner also received information about how the National Guard is working directly with local and state officials as well as civic organizations to support and directly contribute to their communities during the ongoing pandemic.  

“The DOD certainly has been extraordinary in its response in what has been an unbelievably difficult situation for our country. It [the DOD] has been essential." said Turner.

You can watch Rep. Turner’s full questioning here. 

Mr. Robert G. Salesses stated that the DOD is working under President Biden and Sec. Austin’s leadership to continue moving "further and faster" during the COIVD-19 pandemic.  

Established in May of 2021, the Joint DOD HHS Vaccine Task Force has helped deliver 60 million vaccines, 42 million of which have been administered. It is expected that 600 million vaccine regiments will be delivered by end of July 2021.

As of February, the Department of Defense has helped issue 860,000 doses of the vaccine within the DOD, to both contractors and service men and women. This includes 359,000 initial doses for service members. Of this number, 170,000 members are currently fully vaccinated, meaning they have received both doses.