The Army Has Actually Defined Its Deployability Requirements For The First Time

news
Soldiers from 151st Regional Support Group, Massachusetts National Guard board an aircraft destined for Fort Hood, Texas here Jan. 23, 2018. The citizen-soldiers are scheduled to deploy to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
U.S. Army/Spc. Samuel D. Keenan

Editor’s Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.


The U.S. Army today publicly released its new policy for dealing with soldiers who are non-deployable for administrative reasons, just over a month after the Pentagon's new deploy-or-out policy took effect Oct. 1.

"Soldiers who are non-deployable for an administrative reason ... for more than six consecutive months, or six non-consecutive months in a 12-month period, will be processed for administrative separation," according to the new policy dated Nov. 8.

The large number of non-deployable service members is a problem every branch of the U.S. military has struggled to manage, but the Army has radically reduced its number of non-deployable soldiers in the past year, according to Maj. Gen. Joseph Calloway, director Military Personnel Management.

"Since a year ago, we have come from 121,000 non-deployables, which is about 15 percent of the total Army," Calloway told defense reporters at the Pentagon today. "We have come down to right at 6 percent."

Some of those non-deployable troops have been processed out; others have resolved any outstanding issues that prevented them being able to deploy.

In the last month, the Army has seen its non-deployable ranks drop from about "66,000 to about 59,000," Calloway said.

But the new Retention Policy for Non-Deployable Soldiers, which "nests" in the Defense Department's larger policy on non-deployable troops, only applies to less than 20 percent of the current non-deployable population.

"This policy doesn't apply to all 59,000 [soldiers]," Calloway said, explaining that "the vast majority of those, 80 percent, are medical. And then another portion are legal."

The rules do not "change or adjust the current medical authority or procedures for any type of medical evaluation for medical retention or processing through the disability evaluation system," said Diane Randon, deputy assistant chief of staff for Army G1.

The new policy, however, does for the first time define what it means to be deployable, Army officials said.

To be considered deployable, a soldier in the active, National Guard and Reserve must be:

  • Administratively, legally and medically cleared for employment in any environment in which the Army is operating or could operate.
  • Able to operate in austere areas or areas that regularly experience significant environmental conditions such as heat, cold or altitude that could exacerbate medical conditions.
  • Able to carry and employ an assigned weapon.
  • Capable of executing individual warrior tasks for his or her assigned mission.
  • Able to operate while wearing body armor, helmet, eye protection, gloves and chemical or biological protective equipment.
  • Capable of passing the Army physical fitness test or meeting the physical demands or tasks required for a specific deployment.

"It's the first time we've actually ever put down on a piece of paper, no kidding, this is what constitutes deployability," Calloway said, explaining the policy also represents a cultural shift in how the Army views deployability as it relates to readiness.

In this year's centralized selection list boards, "individuals competing to be battalion or brigade commander were required to certify to the board that they were fully deployable and could pass their physical fitness test, and that action in of itself was culture change driver," Calloway said. "When all of a sudden everybody in a formation realized, 'oh my gosh, the brigade commander and battalion commander are now forced to certify this; what ... implications does that have for me if I don't maintain my own individual readiness.'"

The policy is also meant to empower commanders to look at soldiers on a case-by-case basis to evaluate if for some type of waiver will make the Army more effective, Army officials said.

A soldier who fails to establish a family care plan could be granted a waiver from separation "because of unique family circumstances."

Other waivers might be granted to those who "had a significant amount of skill, such as a cyber or other shortage specialties," Calloway said. "The commander would say, based on the collective assessment of this person's value back to the Army, we are going to request an exception to policy to retain this soldier."

The deputy chief of staff for Army G1, chief of the Army Reserve and chief of the National Guard Bureau are authorized to grant retention waivers. All requests for waivers must be "endorsed with a recommendation, at a minimum, by the first general officer in the chain of command," the policy states.

"This is really about soldiers and commanders being accountable and commanders being empowered to do everything possible with regards to resources and tools to ensure a culture of deployability," Randon said.

This article originally appeared on Military.com

Read more articles from Military.com:

WATCH NEXT:

U.S. Army Astronaut Lt. Col. Anne McClain is captured in this photo during a media opportunity while serving as backup crew for NASA Expedition 56 to the International Space Station May, 2018, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (NASA photo)

NASA is reportedly investigating one of its astronauts in a case that appears to involve the first allegations of criminal activity from space.

Read More Show Less
New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen of the 24th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (CST) and 106th Rescue Wing prepare to identify and classify several hazardous chemical and biological materials during a collective training event at the Plum Island Animal Disease Research Facility, New York, May 2, 2018. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Harley Jelis)

The Department of Homeland Security stored sensitive data from the nation's bioterrorism defense program on an insecure website where it was vulnerable to attacks by hackers for over a decade, according to government documents reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.

The data included the locations of at least some BioWatch air samplers, which are installed at subway stations and other public locations in more than 30 U.S. cities and are designed to detect anthrax or other airborne biological weapons, Homeland Security officials confirmed. It also included the results of tests for possible pathogens, a list of biological agents that could be detected and response plans that would be put in place in the event of an attack.

The information — housed on a dot-org website run by a private contractor — has been moved behind a secure federal government firewall, and the website was shut down in May. But Homeland Security officials acknowledge they do not know whether hackers ever gained access to the data.

Read More Show Less
A U.S. Marine with Task Force Southwest observes Afghan National Army (ANA) 215th Corps soldiers move to the rally point to begin their training during a live-fire range at Camp Shorabak. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Luke Hoogendam)

By law, the United States is required to promote "human rights and fundamental freedoms" when it trains foreign militaries. So it makes sense that if the U.S. government is going to spend billions on foreign security assistance every year, it should probably systematically track whether that human rights training is actually having an impact or not, right?

Apparently not. According to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office, both the Departments of Defense and State "have not assessed the effectiveness of human rights training for foreign security forces" — and while the Pentagon agreed to establish a process to do so, State simply can't be bothered.

Read More Show Less
The Topeka Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Public domain)

The Kansas City VA Medical Center is still dealing with the fallout of a violent confrontation last year between one of its police officers and a patient, with the Kansas City Police Department launching a homicide investigation.

And now Topeka's VA hospital is dealing with an internal dispute between leaders of its Veterans Affairs police force that raises new questions about how the agency nationwide treats patients — and the officers who report misconduct by colleagues.

Read More Show Less
Jeannine Willard (Valencia County Detention Center)

A New Mexico woman was charged Friday in the robbery and homicide of a Marine Corps veteran from Belen late last month after allegedly watching her boyfriend kill the man and torch his car to hide evidence.

Read More Show Less