Pentagon officials have undertaken a new policy that seeks to get rid of non-deployable military members. Is it a move to maintain a leaner, meaner fighting force? Or is the military simply not accounting for thousands of support personnel?

Last July, Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued a memo in which he addressed the issue of non-deployable troops, along with excessive training requirements. Troops can become non-deployable in a number of ways, based on injury, administrative issues or pregnancy. Some 11 percent of the 2.1 million U.S. military members are currently non-deployable for 30 days or more, meaning they cannot be sent to battle areas.

Tara Copp, Pentagon Bureau Chief for the Military Times, says the new policy is an attempt to reduce the number of service members who remain non-deployable “for an extended period of time, or who have learned to work the system. With any sort of large bureaucracy, there are people who learn to work the system and figure out ways to check the right box at the right time [so] that they’re not losing pay when they’re injured, but all of a sudden when it comes time to deploy…they can’t deploy at present.”

Copp says that of the total number of non-deployable troops, 116,000 are on injury status, with another 99,000 classified as non-deployable for administrative reasons. She says the new policy exempts those who were wounded in the course of their duties, and have healed sufficiently to continue serving in non-deployed roles.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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