The Pentagon is set to implement a new plan that will require service members who have been non-deployable for 12 months or longer to separate from the military.
The new policy, one of several under final review, would likely result in the separation of thousands of service members as the Pentagon seeks to bolster its readiness with troops who can deploy in an emergency.
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 summary of the policy. “This memo will be followed by a [Department of Defense Instruction], which will take several months to complete.”
The retention policy is currently under review by the service branch chiefs and Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
“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,” said Air Force Maj. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokeswoman. “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, the senior enlisted adviser to Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford, estimated that currently about 11 percent, or 235,000, of the 2.1 million personnel serving on active duty, in the reserves or National Guard are not deployable.
He said that about 99,000 of those personnel are on the list for “administrative” reasons such as lacking proper immunizations. “The 99,000 is the easy stuff — that’s squad leader Troxell … walking you over to the dental clinic, and you’re going to sit in a dentist’s chair, and you’re going to get your annual exam so we can get you off this list,” he said.
About 20,000 are not deployable due to pregnancy, and 116,000 are not deployable due to either short- or long-term injuries. [source]
Analysis: This needs to happen and be implemented fairly, but as quickly as possible. This is SECDEF Mattis telling the force ‘we need to be much more combat-ready than we currently are because we potentially have some big challenges ahead.’