Soldiers observe fired artillery rounds in an M109A6 Paladin howitzer at the Tan Tan Training Area, Morocco, June 13, 2021.

Soldiers observe fired artillery rounds in an M109A6 Paladin howitzer at the Tan Tan Training Area, Morocco, June 13, 2021. U.S. Army / Sgt. 1st Class R.J. Lannom

The Army Brief: Vaccination requirements; Masks make a comeback; Olympic gold medal; and more...

Welcome to The Army Brief, a weekly look at the news and ideas shaping the service’s future. 

Vaccinations. President Joe Biden has directed the Pentagon to determine how and when to make the coronavirus vaccine mandatory for service members, Defense One reports. The vaccines are currently voluntary because they are available under an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

Masks are back. The Defense Department is directing its workforce to begin wearing masks indoors again—even if they are vaccinated—in locations that are seeing high community transmission, Defense One reports. This includes the Pentagon installation, which has workers commute from several states and counties with transmission risks varying from moderate to substantial.

Preparing for wildfires. The National Guard on the West Coast is changing its approach to fighting wildfires, by training and preparing like southeastern units do for hurricanes, Defense One reports. This wildfire season is already worse than last year, and Guard units from three states are helping to fight fires in California.

Olympic gold. 1st Lt. Amber English won a gold medal in skeet at the Tokyo Olympics this week, setting an Olympic record by scoring 56 points. English is part of the Army’s Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning in Georgia. There are 19 military athletes representing the United States at this year’s Summer Olympics. 

Sign up to get The Army Brief every Friday morning from Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One’s military services reporter. The Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps celebrated its 246 birthday on Thursday. The organization is considered the oldest and one of the largest law firms in the United States.


From Defense One

Wildfires Are So Dangerous Now that the National Guard Prepares for Them Like Hurricanes // Tara Copp: For West Coast units, there’s no wildfire season anymore. ‘It’s really a fire year now,’ top general says.

US Will End Combat Mission In Iraq, Biden Says // Tara Copp and Jacqueline Feldscher: US needs to 'divert more of our body on threats in China and Russia,' says Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. Hyten.

Biden’s 6-Month Clock On Russia-U.S. Nuke Talks Starts Now // Jacqueline Feldscher: Officials met for the first time in Geneva on Wednesday. They’re set to come together again in September.

‘It Failed Miserably’: After Wargaming Loss, Joint Chiefs Are Overhauling How the US Military Will Fight // Tara Copp: In a fake battle for Taiwan, U.S. forces lost network access almost immediately. Hyten has issued four directives to help change that.

How AI Is Revealing the Secrets of Iran’s Nascent Centrifuge Factory // Patrick Tucker: Satellites can’t directly observe the underground facility, but analysis of its surroundings yields a progress report.

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