EXCLUSIVE: Gen. David Petraeus says bolstering the U.S. military’s “core strength” and “will” to take on China and increasing aid for Ukraine should be top priorities in the annual defense policy bill, but also condemned Congress for ending the Biden administration’s military COVID-19 vaccine mandate and said complaints about the mandate are “manufactured outrage.”

Former CIA Director Petraeus, who served for 37 years in the U.S. Army, spoke with Fox News Digital at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington, D.C., Thursday about top priorities that should be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which will be up for a final vote in the Senate before lawmakers leave town for the holidays.

Petraeus said he is worried about military “readiness” due to misperceptions about the COVID-19 military vaccine mandate, increased troop access to abortion after the rollback of Roe v. Wade and the increase of “woke” diversity and equity trainings.

“I’m concerned that perceptions of all that may [impact readiness],” he said. “I am not one who thinks that this is one of the huge issues that is facing the military. It is, however, something that is perceived to be an issue in certain circles, and I am concerned about that. I don’t think, I don’t see this kind of concern really manifest. Perception, certainly wrong. But, you know, this is it is a military that has always taken its shots. If its FDA approved and improves readiness, why would you not get that shot?” said Petraeus.

“And why there should be some concern about this particular shot is, frankly, because of domestic political issues that really I don’t think actually have particular merit. Once the FDA has approved it. Again, everybody is taking their flu shot every year,” he continued.

The House on Thursday passed its version of the NDAA including language to strip the Biden administration’s military COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Lawmakers cheered the move to end the “draconian” mandate, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called it a “win for our military.”

However, Petraeus disagreed, saying the mandate was designed to improve the readiness of the military, and that those opposed to it are overstating the problem.

“I don’t understand actually this particular issue, and I think it is a misperception. I think it is something that should not be present, frankly. Once it is, again FDA approved. And it is to improve the health and well-being and readiness of the workforce. That’s something that obviously should be supported,” he said.

“So I hope we can get past some of the hype. With all due respect, I think some of these are manufactured grievances to pursue domestic political issues. And I think we need to put these aside for the good of our men and women in uniform and their families and for the readiness of the U.S. military.”

The Pentagon has 30 days after the final passage of the NDAA to terminate the vaccine mandate.

Read more of this EXCLUSIVE interview at Fox News.


  1. patreus let Trump down and continues to show what is wrong with deep state bureaucrats. Doesn’t he yet realize how political and non-scientific the FDA’s consideration was ? Sounds like it is time for him to fade into the sunset

  2. The concern is Sir that they want to inject a “vaccine: that can cause heart and blood clot issues into the very people that it can affect the most men ages 18-35. It is crazy to think that a number of them will not be harmed by this. I really wish they would concentrate on properly training these folks instead on trying to indorenate them with everything under the sun. WE NEED A STRNG MILTARY!!

  3. In no way shape or form is this a vaccine. It doesn’t stop infection and it doesn’t prevent the spread. How can you even call it a vaccine?

  4. Petraeus is a useless idiot. This shot is not a true vaccine, it’s a modified product that never went through the trials other medicines are required to go through. It was even brought out under an emergency order that gave immunity to the drug companies from damage lawsuits. It’s been shown to cause heart damage and death and offer no immunity to getting covid and no long term data exists to say what happens to those who have had the shot in 5 to 10 years or longer. The military is losing members and recruiting is way down because of this issue. And there’s no data to suggest the readiness of our troops is at risk. The readiness is more affected by the military’s STUPID ASS w.o.k.e. and c.r.t. policies.

  5. General BETRAY US—(my ; grvn, take) The Wuhan (Communist Chinese) Virus has as it’s supposed cure a set of vaccines that have killed many–as autopsies reveal (and way under reported) BLOOD CLOTS invading the HEART and other organs (some clots when removed as long a three feet—Tyrants MANDATE.

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