The idea is to deploy or get out.
The Pentagon is actively working to reduce the number of non-deployable troops on its rolls so that the burden of combat is shared more evenly amongst the force.
“The Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness about a week ago came out, having defined the problem that initially was brought to his attention by the U.S. Army, where they had many nondeployables on their rolls,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters.
“You may say, what’s this? 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. It was a significant number, and the Army brought their concerns forward. The other services also highlighted the concerns.”
Because those non-deployable troops are essentially a drain on the force, the Pentagon has issued guidance that states that service personnel can only be on a non-deployable status for one-year. “They’ve come out with a policy that if you’re not deployable for a year or more, you’re going to have to go somewhere else,” Mattis said.
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Mattis explained the basic premise and reasoning behind the Pentagon’s decision. “Let me explain what happens,” Mattis said. “If you have 100,000 troops—let’s just pick a number, just for the sake of giving you mental model of this—if 10,000 of them are not deployable, then 90,000 deploy more often, obviously to meet the same deployment standard. So that’s unfair.”