What’s the New Deploy-or-Out Policy Anyway?

Headlines may have been taken over by the military parade President Trump wants, but the Pentagon is making headlines, too. The Deploy-or-Out policy has been said to possibly have an impact on up to 286K personnel deemed medically unfit for overseas duty.

The policy is a 12-month deploy or be removed policy with the exception for pregnancies and those wounded and cleared by medical boards. About 13% of all military service members are unable to deploy on any given day, which is roughly 286K service members.

The goal of this new policy is to help ensure the military is ready to fight at any time today and in the future. It came from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ directive, which basically stated the military needs to take steps to improve the “lethality” of the forces.

You Have One Year

The Deploy-or-Out policy gives military members 12 months to deploy or they are kicked out of the military. The reason for the policy is to ensure anybody joining the military is capable of being deployed anywhere in the world.

While this policy seems strict, there will be a Retention Policy for Non-Deployable Service Members, as well. This will include criteria used to retain those non capable of deployment. However, those remaining non-deployable for 12 consecutive months will be processed for administrative separation. In addition, the process can actually be started before the service member has been non-deployable for 12 consecutive months.

Waivers will be granted to those exceeding the limit by service secretaries. These will be case-by-case situations where a waiver may be necessary due to a specific reason. Waiver will not be the normal way the military handles this situation, however.

Help with Deployment

Those currently non-deployable will be given help to regain their ability to be deployed and avoid separation. In addition, those as a part of the Wounded Warriors program and others injured, ill or wounded will continue to gain support from the military. This includes help with the transition into civilian life, such as education services, housing, financial coaching and employment help.

Deploy-or-Out Becomes Real

While this was just a policy in the works, it became real recently and will be implemented immediately. The goals is to reduce the number of non-deployable troops to ensure the U.S. Military remains strong and has the ability to perform at the highest level.

The policy comes from Robert Wilkie and he made a comparison between Amazon and the Military. He stated that it would be like Jeff Bezos (Founder of Amazon) walking into his Amazon fulfillment centers during the holidays only to find 14% of his workforce is unable to do their jobs.

The Military Services have been given until October 1st, 2018 to start processing non-deployable service members out for disability separation. However, they have been granted permission to start processing immediately.

As long as the military believes a service member will remain non-deployable for more than 12 consecutive months, they can start the process. They do not have to wait for all 12 months to pass. As stated earlier, waivers are possible and can be granted in some circumstances. The only group automatically exempt from this policy is women who become pregnant and post-partum service members.

Good or Bad?

While there may be jobs some service members can perform without needing to be deployed, the main duty of any military service member is to be ready to fight, if the time comes. Non-deployable soldiers, not able to fight and unable to ever fight again probably don’t belong in the military any more.

However, these soldiers still deserve our respect and help transitioning into the civilian sector of the world. As long as services are provided to help non-deployable service member either become deployable again or transition into a civilian life, this policy makes sense.

Boosting the number of troops capable of being deployed at any given moment only strengthens the U.S. Military, which is the entire point of the policy. The Pentagon wants to increase military lethality and this is one way they are going about doing it.

While headlines may read, “Deploy or get out” it not as urgent as that might sound. Service members won’t be shocked to know they are being processed out and there are already support services in place to help with education, employment, housing and more. Many may be leaving the military, but they will have help finding their way in the civilian world.

Whether this policy is good or this policy is bad…time will only tell. However, boosting the lethality of the military is certainly a good thing in the world we live in today.




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