WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Defense Department is planning a crackdown on “non-deployable” troops. The Pentagon says it wants to improve readiness by reducing the number of service men and women not fit to go overseas.
As Our D.C. Correspondent Brie Jackson reports, the Pentagon says military readiness demands soldiers be ready to go.
The Pentagon wants servicemembers to be ready to deploy or leave the military. Congressman Buddy Carter agrees. He says the new policy is about fairness.
“Obviously that puts a pressure on people who are deployable they may have to go more often,” Carter says.
According to the Department of Defense, close to 300,000 service members are considered non-deployable for reasons such as physical injury, mental illness or poor physical fitness. With growing threats overseas, Retired Brigadier General Roy Robinson says servicemembers must be prepared to fight back.
“Everybody out there across the force if they are going to wear the uniform they should be prepared on occasion to answer the demobilization and deployment call,” Robinson says.
In an effort to create a more lethal force, military officials say they want to remove soldiers who are non-deployable for 12 months or more.
The new policy does have exceptions, such as pregnancy and postpartum conditions. Defense leaders say medical boards will also review the status of wounded servicemembers.
Officials say, in some cases, meeting deployment standards could be as simple as updating dental or medical records.
Robinson adds, “You may have a solider that walks into a soldier readiness processing and he is not deployable and he goes in and gets two shots which are updates to his immunization and walks out deployable.”
Defense leaders plan to examine the status of servicemembers on a case-by case basis and have until October 1 to decide if that soldier should stay in the military or go.