The DoD’s Deploy or Out Policy
Last year, Secretary of Defense James Mattis made it crystal clear that he wanted to improve the lethality of the US Military. To that end, the DoD has created a policy of removing those service members who are not deployable if that condition has been in place for 12 months. In short, if you can’t be deployed anywhere in the world, you will be administratively or medically separated. There are exceptions, of course. There may be up to 286,000 troops affected, according to Military.com.
On July 21, 2017, Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued a memo which spoke of enhancing military lethality and ensuring that “everyone who comes into the service and everyone who stays in the service is world-wide deployable.” Under Secretary of Defense Robert Wilkie was tasked with finding a way to make that happen.
“The situation we face today is really unlike anything we have faced, certainly in the post-World War II era. On any given day, about 13 to 14 percent of the force is medically unable to deploy. That comes out to be about 286,000 [service members].” Robert Wilkie to the Senate Armed Service Subcommittee on Personnel and Readiness
Within the DoD, each Service branch has the flexibility to sign an exemption waiver for wounded warriors, or those who will be deployable later on. Pregnancy is one medical issue not affected by the deployment rule. They also have the flexibility to start the separation procedure prior to the 12 month deadline.
Military Times noted:
Service members can be categorized as non-deployable for many reasons.
For example, service members in the middle of a permanent change of station, who are not up to date on immunizations, who are nearing retirement, who have a medical condition that will take 30 days or more to heal, or who face legal problems can all be classified as non-deployable.
In addition, service members who fail fitness or body fat tests must get a waiver to be considered deployable — a challenge that the department is targeting separately in a review of its fitness programs and standards.
Too Many Medical Waivers?
Federal News Radio reported,
“A Navy doctor speaking to Federal News Radio on the condition of anonymity last summer confirmed waivers were widespread.
‘When I was deployed, I was surprised to find people there who had significant medical problems that one would think would prevent them from deploying, and yet they were there. God knows who signed what waiver to get them there…’
The doctor said he has taken care of sailors with ‘every chronic condition you can imagine,’ from chronic back pain, to type-two diabetes, to asthma.
‘You name it, there’s someone in the military who has it,’ the doctor said.
Non-deployable troops have been a growing problem in the military. The Army is especially worried about its non-deployable numbers.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey said in 2015 that non-deployable soldiers were the number one problem in the Army.
‘If you will not or cannot fight and win, then there’s no place for you in the Army,’ Dailey said. ‘We have to become unemotional about this. We have a job to do.'”
One of the biggest issues facing the US Military is that our volunteer military needs a constant supply of people. It will be up to each branch to ensure that troops keep up on their dental care, vaccinations, and other medical items so that they are deployable. But the pool of new recruits appears to be shrinking.
According to The Hill,
“In addition to the retention problem, Mattis will have to deal with a shrinking pool of qualified potential recruits. As the obesity epidemic has undermined America’s health in recent decades, fewer young people meet recruitment weight standards: 20 to 50 percent of applicants are now too heavy (depending on the service branch). And another 25 percent are disqualified for drug use or a criminal record. In fact, only 13 to 20 percent of young people are not going directly to college and qualify for service by meeting weight, health, conduct and entrance exam criteria.”
Removing people who don’t help with a lethal military for whatever reason is a good idea. Keeping those wounded warriors who have specialities and can stay in to help is also good.
Featured photo: “For certain non-deployable personnel, such as wounded warriors, the services would retain the ability to grant exceptions to the retention policy. (Cpl. Aaron S. Patterson/Marine Corps)”