WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered a review of all the administrative and training requirements that prevent trigger pullers and pilots alike from focusing on warfighting.
In the memo obtained by Military Times, Mattis on Friday directed the services, the National Guard Bureau and the combatant commanders to determine what changes are needed to give each branch increased flexibility to organize, train and equip more ready and lethal forces.
Notably, Mattis has ordered a review of the “requirements for mandatory force training that does not directly support core tasks” – the many hours soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines spend prior to deployment meeting the Pentagon-required tasks that sometimes have little to do with the role they will actually fulfill when deployed.
“I want to verify that our military policies also support and enhance warfighting readiness and force lethality,” Mattis said.
Mattis also ordered a review of the retention or separation of permanently non-deployable service members, the civilian workforce hiring process, and he also has asked for an increased emphasis on counterintelligence training for each of the services’ law enforcement branches.
To execute the review, Mattis has called for a working group to be led by the Defense Department’s undersecretary for personnel and readiness. That spot has not yet been filled by President Donald Trump’s administration but is currently being filled by Anthony M. Kurta.
Trump recently nominated Robert Wilkie to serve in as the undersecretary for personnel and readiness, and for Kurta to serve permanently as the principal deputy. The nominations are awaiting confirmation from Congress.
Any recommendations coming from the review are due by Dec. 1, 2017.
Tara Copp is a Pentagon correspondent for the Associated Press. She was previously Pentagon bureau chief for Sightline Media Group.