According to the Washington Post, on February 14th, 2018, the Pentagon issued a warning that could affect almost 300,000 military service members. The warning is in regards to a new policy that deals with service members that are on the “unable to deploy” list.
For those of you who may not know, there are a variety of reasons why a service member can be deemed unable to deploy. They could have physical injuries, mental health concerns, pregnancy, a legal action and poor physical fitness.
The Pentagon issued a warning because they are trying to have this policy implemented so they can remove U.S. troops from the ranks who are deemed unable to deploy.
The reason this policy is trying to be implemented is that it will help with Defence Secretary Jim Matti’s guidance to have the military in a “fight first” mode, according to a memo released by the Pentagon. In addition, the memo also stated that, with a few exemptions, all service members who are deemed unable to deploy for 12 months will be processed for “administrative separation.” This memo was signed by Robert L. Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
According to Wilkie, 13 to 14 percent of the military, which is estimated to about 286,000 service members, are considered unable to deploy. Sgt. Maj. John Troxell told the Military Times that about 100,000 of the men are unable to deploy because of administrative reasons. Those reasons include not having all their immunizations or medical exams up-to-date.
Troxell also added that if members want to serve their country and want to continue serving it and make it a career, they need to start following the proper path to recovery and becoming healthy. He also mentions that the United States needs healthy, fit warriors to help defend the nation.
This isn’t the first time that this issue has become a major concern. Senior military leaders have expressed their concern about the rising number of non-deployable service members. In fact, a 2011 study was conducted by several colonels at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. They found that there has been a steady rise in non-deployable service members over the last few years. On a side note, the memo released by the Pentagon says that the military services have until October 1st to start removing service members.
According to William Charles Inboden, an American writer, academic and former White House staffer, a country needs a strong military. Inboden says that a strong-appointed military can help improve diplomacy with adversary nations. He adds that it can also strengthen the alliances a country has. But Inboden also says that a strong military can promote economic benefits. The military protects a stable international environment, this also creates secure and predictable conditions where the economic growth can flourish, according to Inboden.
Inboden says that another reason why a strong military is necessary is that it can show the world your strength and advancements. There is no better example of this than what Theodore Roosevelt did in 1908. Roosevelt sent 16 American battleships on a 14-month voyage around the world. Inboden says that Roosevelt was doing this not only to remind his nation of their audacity, industrial might, and frontier spirit but also to impress the rest of the world who were watching as well. This lead to Roosevelt mediating the Treaty of Portsmouth, which actually ended the Russo-Japanese War, says Inboden. Because of this, Roosevelt became the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Another reason why the military needs sufficient men and women is to help with catastrophic events. Humanitarian aid is extremely important and according to ArmyTechnology.com, international guidelines on the use of the military in disaster relief were created in 1994. The military provides help for the victims of these disasters and may also conduct rescue missions during these disasters, according to ArmyTechnology.com.
As you can see, having a strong military has other benefits aside from the most important one: protecting your country from an invasion. But one thing that is certain according to Air Force Maj. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokeswoman, the wounded and injured will still be a top priority and exceptions will still be made to troops who have been injured or wounded in military operations.