Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Wounded Warriors Won’t Be Separated Under DoD’s Non-Deployable Policy
The Pentagon has finally exempted wounded warriors from its non-deployable policy, nearly six months after Defense Secretary Mattis announced that troops wounded in combat would not be separated for being unable to deploy.
Published on Tuesday, the Defense Department policy includes a provision specifically for combat-wounded troops that clearly states they will not be separated if they are unable to deploy for 12 consecutive months or longer.
“These are service members whose injuries were the result of hostile action, meet the criteria for awarding of the Purple Heart, and whose injuries were not the result of their own misconduct,” the policy says.
Now that it is in writing, the policy reflects Mattis’ guidance from February, when he told reporters that combat wounded service members would not be involuntarily separated because “they’ve earned that special status.”
“The office of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness will monitor the implementation of this guidance by all services to ensure compliance with the secretary of defense directive,” said Air Force Maj. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokeswoman.
The service secretaries can delegate the authority for retaining combat wounded troops and other service members to general and flag officers as well as senior civilian leaders, Gleason said on Wednesday.
About 143,000 of all active-duty, National Guard and Reserve troops were listed as temporarily or permanently non-deployable as of May 31, Gleason said. That represents nearly 7% of all troops, excluding trainees.
“The reasons vary, but they are predominantly medical,” Gleason said:
Some 2.9% (61,000) of our service members are temporarily non-deployable due to illness or injury. Our focus is to help these members heal as quickly as possible so they can get back to training with their unit. Another 1.2% (25,000) is considered permanently non-deployable and pending a disability evaluation for medical reasons. The department's goal is to render a timely disability decision and transition the member to life outside the military.
The Pentagon initially announced in February that service members listed as non-deployable “for any reason” would be processed for administrative separation if they could not deploy after 12 consecutive months of recuperation. Mattis quickly clarified that wounded warriors needn’t worry about being separated.
When Task & Purpose asked Mattis in June why it was taking so long to update the non-deployable policy to exempt wounded warriors, he replied: “There is no delay. Believe me. When I say it, that’s it.”
Other than wounded warriors, all U.S. service members are expected to be able to deploy, Mattis has said.
“I'm not going to have some people deploying constantly, and then other people who seem to not pay that price to be in the U.S. military,” Mattis told reporters on Feb. 17. “The bottom line is: We expect everyone to carry their share of the load. Sometimes things happen: People bust their legs in training or they're in a car accident. We understand that. Sometimes that even takes a months of recovery. We understand that.
“But this is a deployable military. It's a lethal military that aligns with our allies and partners.”
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"