US Navy sailors who can’t deploy face being kicked out of military; other branches to follow

A new policy has just been implemented across the Navy – if you can’t deploy, you’re out. The policy will soon be in effect for all military branches.

In a branch-wide administrative message sent last week, the Navy announced a new policy in which sailors will face possible administrative separation from the Navy if they fail to qualify for deployment for 12 consecutive months, Military.com reported.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith and Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke held a Facebook Live event on Sept. 25 in which they explained the policy, which is effective Oct. 1.

“We’ve been talking about this for a year,” Burke said. “If you go 12 consecutive months not qualifying for sea duty, which is our rough metric of deployability in the Navy because we’re a sea-going service, you’re subject to processing for administrative separation.”

Currently, the only exceptions to the policy are pregnancy and combat wounds. Other circumstances may be reviewed, according to Burke. A violation doesn’t mean an automatic discharge, but a mandatory administrative review will determine if separation is necessary.

Deployment readiness has been a current issue across the military, with some 11-14 percent considered non-deployable.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis remarked in Feb. on troops’ readiness for deployment, and on Feb. 14, the Pentagon released a memo to all military branches, guiding policy to process personnel for separation if deemed non-deployable for more than 12 months.

The policy guidance was spurred by a July 2017 memo from Mattis, which asserted, “everyone who comes into the service and everyone who stays in the service is world-wide deployable,” Military Times reported.

The Pentagon’s policy guidance also stipulated a deadline of Oct. 1 for implementing official policy changes across all branches.

“Bottom line is, all the services are doing similar things because we’re in a new game,” Burke said. “As I said at the beginning here, our adversaries are working overtime to overtake us. We’ve got to be lean and lethal. We don’t have a lot of room to be carrying people on the books who aren’t able to be in warfighting trim.

“If you’re not there, we’re going to find somebody who can be in that position,” he added.

The NAVADMIN message says the change is necessary to promote readiness. “It is the personal responsibility of every Sailor to maintain individual readiness, including medical, dental, physical and administrative (e.g., maintaining a family care plan) readiness,” the message said.

The Navy will determine deployability using the SELRES Deployability Assessment and Assignment Program Managers.

It’s not yet clear when the policy changes will be officially implemented in the remaining branches, though it is expected to closely follow in accordance with the Pentagon’s Oct. 1 deadline.

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