Defense Secretary James N. Mattis has laid down the law. Troops who cannot deploy with their units should not be in uniform.
“If you’re not deployable for a year a more, you’re going to have to go somewhere else,” Mattis told a cadre of reporters Feb. 18 during a flight from Germany to Washington, D.C.
Spurred by the Army’s concerns about the number of soldiers on the rolls who cannot deploy, Mattis discussed a new directive issued by the Defense Department’s personnel and readiness office that essentially reaffirmed a commitment to existing policy. If 10,000 out of 100,000 troops cannot deploy, it is not fair to the 90,000 who can, he said.
“Some people are carrying more than the share of the load that I want them to carry,” Mattis said. “If you can’ go overseas [and] carry a combat load, then obviously someone else has tog to go. I want this spread fairly and equitably across the force.’
Mattis made the point that those who were injured or wounded in combat are exceptions.
“They’ve earned special status,” he said. “Otherwise, you’re either deployable, or you need to find something else to do.”