WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon formally dropped its COVID-19 vaccination mandate Tuesday, 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 Dec. 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.

“The Department will continue to promote and encourage COVID-19 vaccination for all service members,” said Austin in the memo. “Vaccination enhances operational readiness and protects the force.”