On Wednesday, Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary, of defense for personnel and readiness, released a statement on the new policy on military lethality. Under the new rules military members that who have been on a non-deployable status for the last 12 months or more, will be separated from the military. This new rule might seem harsh, but according to the Department of Defense, it is all about fairness.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, also released a statement after the announcement of the new policy. According to Mattis, this new rule requiring military members to be able to deploy or get out was put in effect to ensure fairness in deployment rates. In a statement released to Military Times earlier this month by Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford, he stated that approximately 11 percent, or 235,000, of the 2.1 million personnel serving on active duty, in the reserves or National Guard are currently non-deployable. This means that someone must deploy in their place, this could be one of the reasons some troops deploy several times during their enlistment.
Troxell further stated that of the 11 percent of non-deployable troops, about 99,000 are on that list for administrative reasons, such as not having all their immunizations or their required dental exams. About 20,000 are not deployable due to pregnancy, and 116,000 are not deployable due to either short- or long-term injuries. These are high numbers considering, that someone else’s son, daughter, husband or wife has to deploy in their place.
According to Defense Secretary Mattis, this is not fair to the troops that must take their place because they can’t deploy. On February 17, 2018, Mattis told reports “You’re either deployable, or you need to find something else to do. I’m not going have some people deploying constantly and then other people, who seem to not pay that price, in the U.S. military.” This means that the Department of Defense requires all troops to be deployable in a moment’s notice. Mattis further stated “You’re either deployable, or you need to find something else to do. I’m not going have some people deploying constantly and then other people, who seem to not pay that price, in the U.S. military,”.
This new policy is not intended to point fingers or to force anybody out of the military. But if a military member is considered non-deployable for 12 months or more, then they will be separated from the military. In Mattis’s first comments about the new policy he stated “You’re either deployable, or you need to find something else to do. I’m not going have some people deploying constantly and then other people, who seem to not pay that price, in the U.S. military,”. He also stated “If you can’t go overseas [and] carry a combat load, then obviously someone else has got to go. I want this spread fairly and expertly across the force.”
In a press release Mattis discussed why he felt this new policy was needed. In his statement he explained that it was no longer fair to ask healthy warfighters to carry the load for others, particularly due to the stress on military families from multiple deployments. This new policy hopes to replace non-deployable troops with troops that can deploy. This will help military members that have deployed several times stay at home longer with their love ones.
Mattis, stated that military personal need time at home, they need time with their families. He also emphasized, that when a military member enlists or re-enlist, their families enlist also. He further stated that by help keep troops at home longer with their families, it will reduce the family’s stress and would also help keep families together.
Mattis stated that troops that have been injured in deployments would not be affected by the new policy. These troops fall under a special category, that the military will find a place for them. They will not be forced out due to a combat injury. But for anybody else, they must be able to meet all military requirements, or they will have to find something else to do.
Mattis, further stated that he understood that the failure to meet military requirements is not always the troops fault. Somethings are beyond their control, for example dental or other medical appointments or immunizations. If a doctor is not available is a certain area, then it’s not the troops fault. This means that the chain of command also has the reasonability to ensure that they troops are ready for combat. Commanders must make every effort to ensure the readiness of their troops. If not, then they have failed as leaders.
Mattis finally added that “The services have got to make certain they are working on deployability.” This means that the goal of every leader is to ensure the deployability of every military member under their command.