The Army has trimmed down its non-deployable soldiers from about 16 percent 18 months ago to roughly 5 percent today, as well as more than doubled the number of brigade combat teams at the highest level of personnel readiness, according to the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel.
More than a year ago, the 84 percent of soldiers who could deploy were forced to fill the gap left by the 16 percent of troops who were non-deployable.
“Doesn’t sound like much, but out of a million-strong Army, that’s a 160,000 people who can’t get on a plane to go," Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands said at an AUSA event Tuesday.
The biggest change was implemented across the Defense Department in November, when the Pentagon’s “deploy or get out” policy was put in place. The policy said that if a service member is non-deployable for a period of 12 months or more, they’re subject to being separated from the armed forces.
In effect, the policy made deployability a condition of employment.
The policy had immediate effect on individual soldiers, encouraging them to shed physical training waivers that were unnecessary, and the secondary benefits have been "cascading across our formations,” according to Seamands.
“If you go back 18 months ago, we had about 10 of our BCTs at the highest level of personnel readiness," Seamands said. “Now it’s about 25 or 26 at the highest level.”
“The policy is part of it, but I give more credit to the commanders, command sergeant majors and first sergeants out there who are encouraging the soldiers," he added.