Service members who have been non-deployable for more than one year could be kicked out of the military, according to a Department of Defense policy under final review, Military Times reported. The new policy could affect some 235,000 troops.
The policy “will require the services to process members who are non-deployable for 12 consecutive months for admin or disability separation,” according to a draft of the policy, Military Times reported.
“The department intends to emphasize the expectation that all service members are worldwide deployable and to establish standardized criteria for retaining non-deployable service members,” Pentagon Spokeswoman Air Force Maj. Carla Gleason told Military Times. “The goal of the policy is to further reduce the number of non-deployable service members and improve personnel readiness across the force.”
Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell told Military Times that 11 percent of the 2.1 million active duty, National Guard and reserves service members are non-deployable. Of the 11 percent, some 99,000 service members are listed as non-deployable for administrative reasons; 20,000 for pregnancy; and 116,000 are on it for injuries.
“If you are going to serve and continue to want to serve, and if you want to make this a career, you’re going to have to learn that path of recovery and get back to being healthy. Because we need healthy, fit warriors to defend this nation,” Troxell said of those injured during physical training, doing their job or, on some occasions, during combat.
Service members who would be included as non-deployable are those who need more than 30 days to heal from a medical condition, those who are close to retirement, and those who are not properly immunized or medically examined, among other things.
Wounded warriors would have exceptions to the drafted policy.
“We’ve got to look at each [situation] on a case-by-case basis and say, ‘Alright, you’ve been in a non-deployable status for 500 days. … It’s time to have a path for what you are going to do,’” Troxell told Military Times. “And if we can’t get you healthy, then we probably need to process you for separation and allow [the Department of Veterans Affairs] to assist you, or allow you to get the help you need.”
“Because the more of these people we have that can’t deploy and do their mission, that means somebody else has to pull their weight for them, or we have a void or a degradation in capability, because we don’t have the requisite people,” Troxell added.
Since taking over as Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis has focused on the military readiness and lethality of the U.S. military.
“Everything we do must contribute to the lethality of our military,” Mattis said last month during the announcement of the new U.S. National Defense Strategy. “We cannot expect success fighting tomorrow’s conflicts with yesterday’s weapons or equipment.”