08-15-2018 06:03:30 PM -0700
08-15-2018 02:13:44 PM -0700
08-15-2018 12:01:13 PM -0700
08-15-2018 08:25:42 AM -0700
08-15-2018 07:20:31 AM -0700
It looks like you've previously blocked notifications. If you'd like to receive them, please update your browser permissions.
Desktop Notifications are  | 
Get instant alerts on your desktop.
Turn on desktop notifications?
Remind me later.


Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
Sign up now to save time and stay informed!

Mattis: Service Members Need to be Deployable or Find Another Job

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the new Pentagon policy that will remove service members who have not been deployable for a year or more is about fairly sharing the burden within the forces.

The deploy-or-leave policy includes exceptions for pregnancy and wounded warriors. Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee last week that "on any given day, about 13 to 14 percent of the force is medically unable to deploy."

En route to Washington on Saturday, Mattis told reporters that there is a "higher expectation of deployability by our forces" and the policy isn't "to make change for change's sake," as he vowed when coming into the department.

"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. 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," he said. "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 noted that if there are 100,000 troops and 10 percent are not deployable, "then 90,000 deploy more often, obviously to meet the same deployment standard -- so that's unfair."

With a lopsided deployment burden, he added, "If you can't keep the family together, then you're either going to lose the family or you're going to lose the soldiers, and that's a net loss for our society and for our military."

"The bottom line," Mattis continued, "is we expect everyone to carry their share of the load, and you know, sometimes things happen, people bust their legs in training or they're in a car accident, we understand that, and if they -- sometimes that even takes months of recovery."

"We understand that. But this is a deployable military. It's a lethal military that aligns with our allies and partners," he said. "If you can't go overseas ... carry a combat load, then obviously someone else has got to go. I want this spread fairly and equitably across the force."

Mattis was asked about service members saying their deployable status is hampered by bureaucracy, such as not getting scheduled for medical appointments in time.

The Defense secretary replied that the services also "have got to make certain they're working on deployability -- I mean, some of it could probably be solved as easily as giving everybody their shots."