The Defense Department now says military members can indeed attend conferences in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, correcting a statement made last week by Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby.
“Kirby misspoke when responding to questions about current travel restrictions,” according to a Pentagon statement released to the news media Jan. 24. “Unrestricted travel is allowed for service members or civilians between installations that have met the criteria of the Secretary of Defense memorandum on the conditions‐based approach to personnel movement and travel, dated March 15, 2021.”
If either installation does not meet the criteria, an exemption or waiver is required; approval authority for waivers varies by where you are assigned. Department Secretaries, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, director of Administration and Management, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, or combatant command commanders may all issue waivers for mission essential travel. Authority to approve waivers also “may be delegated in writing no lower than an appropriate military officer in the grade of O-6, or a civilian equivalent,” the corrected statement said.
The Air Force Association continues to plan a full, in-person 2022 AFA Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., March 2-4.
“To ensure a safe and successful event, proof of vaccination or negative test results are a prerequisite for symposium attendance,” AFA Executive Vice President Douglas L. Raaberg said. “While it is impossible to predict the future, we are encouraged by the most recent data and will continue coordinating closely with Air Force and Space Force leadership, supporting our mutual objectives for a safe and productive professional development gathering.”
AFA’s Warfare Symposium is a premier professional development event for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force. This year’s theme is, “Air and Space Power: Indispensible to Deter, Fight & Win.”
Confirmed speakers include Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force Roger Towberman, and many major and combatant command leaders, as well as industry experts.