WASHINGTON (AP) – The Pentagon has formally dropped its COVID-19 vaccination mandate, but a new memo signed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also gives commanders some discretion in how or whether to deploy troops who are not vaccinated.

Austin’s memo has been widely anticipated ever since new legislation signed into law on December 23 gave him 30 days to rescind the mandate.

The Defense Department had already stopped all related personnel actions, such as discharging troops who refused the shot.