The Defense Department’s policy aimed at curtailing the number of nondeployable service members, dubbed “deploy or get out,” went into effect summer 2018.
Since then nearly 21,000 nondeployable troops have been booted from the military, according to a Military Times report, but only a fraction of those separated troops were Marines.
According to data provided by Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, 1,696 Marines were separated for medical reasons and processed through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. That system is used by the DoD in concert with the Department of Veterans Affairs to gauge overall ability of a service member to carry out duties.
Another 2,568 Marines were separated for nonmedical reasons such as administrative separation, service discretion or legal issues.
This data was presented in an Office of the Secretary of Defense report from January, according to Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
As of Aug. 31, 2018, about 7,458 Marines were considered nondeployable for a variety of reasons, but most were medical related.
The new policy, pushed by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, is intended to boost readiness of the force by pushing out individuals who have been nondeployable for 12 months.
But the changes for the Corps following the roll out were few, as the service already had been separating Marines and recruits in a long-term nondeployable status, with the exception of pregnant and postpartum Marines.
“What has changed with this new policy is the retention decision that was previously left to the commanding generals will now come to Marine Corps Headquarters (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) for further review and adjudication,” Maj. Craig Thomas, a spokesman for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, previously told Marine Corps Times.
It should be noted that nondeployability is not actually grounds for separating a Marine. Marines can be separated for disabilities, mental health, legal or other injuries. Some of those issues, especially an injury, can lead to a Marine being in a long nondeployable status.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.