A new Pentagon policy will remove service members who have not been deployable for over a year.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the deploy-or-leave policy is about fairly sharing the deployment burden within the forces, PJ Media reported.
The exceptions to this policy are pregnant or wounded warriors. According to the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness Robert Wilkie, “about 13 to 14 percent of the force is medically unable to deploy,” on any given day.
Mattis said that this policy change has come after Wilkie pointed out that there are many nondeployables on the U.S. Army’s enlistment rolls.
“People who’ve been injured and not returned to duty. People who have — and I’m not talking about combat injured now. That’s a separate category. But people who are, just for one reason or another, are not able to deploy with their units.”
He added, “It was a significant number, and the Army brought their concerns forward. The other services also highlighted the concerns.”
The policy states that if someone is not deployable for over a year, they have to go elsewhere.
According to Mattis, if there are 100,000 troops and 10 percent are unable to be deployed, “then 90,000 deploy more often to meet the standard,” which is unfair to the rest of the troops.
“The bottom line,” he said, “is we expect everyone to carry their share of the load, and you know, sometimes things happen, people bust their legs in training or they’re in a car accident, we understand that, and if they — sometimes that even takes months of recovery.”
He continued, “We understand that. But this is a deployable military. It’s a lethal military that aligns with our allies and partners. If you can’t go overseas … carry a combat load, then obviously someone else has got to go. I want this spread fairly and equitably across the force.”
Nearly 100,000 service members are not deployable for fixable reasons, such as short-term injuries, Command Sergeant Maj. John Troxell said, according to ABC News.
“If they were wounded in combat, and they want to stay in and they’ve lost their leg or something like this, and they can’t be a paratrooper anymore, then we’ll find a place to use them. That’s a special category. They’ve earned that special status,” Mattis said.
He concluded, “Otherwise, you’re either deployable, or you need to find something else to do. I’m not going to have some people deploying, you know, constantly, and then other people who seem to not pay that price to be in the U.S. military.”
Secretary of the Army Mark Esper added that having non-deployable soldiers means that someone else has to leave their family more often to serve overseas, according to ABC News.
“We have to ensure given the climate that this country faces, that everyone who signs up can be deployed to any corner of the world at any given time and that is the reason for the change in policy,” he said.
According to ABC News, the services have until Oct. 1 to begin processing military personnel in accordance to the new policy.
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