US District Court Judged James Robertson has ruled that the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records failed to accurately portray the result of the case called Doe v. Rumsfeld brought by six anonymous defense personnel over the Pentagon’s anthrax vaccination program, so should not use that as the basis for its denial of reinstatement for two Connecticut Air National Guard pilots forced to leave the military in 1999 after refusing to take anthrax shots, reports Elaine Grossman of the National Journal Group in Government Executive. The two former officers, Thomas Rempfer and the estate of Russell Dingle, who died in September 2005, filed a federal lawsuit in December 2005 over the board’s ruling. The Pentagon had to halt its vaccination program temporarily as a result of Doe v. Rumsfeld until the FDA issued a final rule on the use of anthrax shots. According to the Government Executive report, Robertson took exception to the Air Force board’s interpretation of Doe as a win for DOD and said the board could not use the case as its sole basis for denial of claims by the ANG pilots. Rempfer has asked for reinstatement in addition to back pay and promotions.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.