1,600 airmen could be separated this year for being non-deployable

Little Rock Air Force Base leaders greet U.S. Air Force Airmen as they return from a deployment on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Sept. 18, 2018. Team Little Rock Airmen specialize in providing rapid, global mobility to support humanitarian and wartime operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

As the Department of Defense plans to unload around 126,000 non-deployable personnel as part of its “deploy or get out” policy, the US Air Force is targeting around 1,600 active duty Airmen who are expected to be affected.

The brainchild of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, “deploy or get out” (DOGO) was formalized in February and gave each branch until October 1 before they had to start holding undeployable troops accountable.

Around 126,000 of the total force were deemed undeployable as of August 2018, with around 66,000 being sidelined due to illness or injury and 24,000 rendered permanently out of the fight.

“Excluding trainees, approximately 6 percent (126,000) of the total force -Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve- were non-deployable as of Aug. 31, 2018,” the DoD said in a statement to Military Times. “This includes temporary as well as permanent non-deployable service members. The reasons vary, but they are predominantly medical.”

The policy obviously has exceptions to the rule, ranging from being pregnant to being a prisoner.

In the USAF, the guidelines are currently being finalized and will affect Airmen who have been deemed undeployable for 12 consecutive months.

“It’s important to understand this is not an automatic separation policy. It’s a process, similar to what we already do today, that allows us to evaluate our non-deployable Airmen to determine if their continued service is compatible with and can meet the requirements the nation expects of us as an Air Force. In some cases, we’ll have Airmen who can meet those requirements and fulfill requirements without being deployable,” Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said in a statement.

“The process we create will take care of all Airmen while recognizing and ensuring we have a fair and equitable deployment process across our Air Force.”

The Air Force will begin an evaluation, retention and separation process after the policy guidance is formally published later this year.

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