It came up in Pentagon news today that they are looking at this rule change that says that if you are non-deployable for over one year....they will release you (friendly way of saying you will be kicked out). How many are we talking about? The Pentagon suggests that it's near 300,000 total from the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force (active duty and reserve/guard).
How this comes up? Someone must have centered in on statistical data that showed in some professions....it might one out of twenty folks who are on a year or two years of some ailment/health issue...and that it's a growing trend.
I sat there in the 1990s, and began to notice various trends which were falling into this category.
First, you had those sports-obsessive folks who were having serious sports injuries....the type where you are on limited or marginal physical profiles for a minimum of six months.
I worked with one guy who had an Achilles Tendon injury, which never healed right after the original episode, and this guy was on a profile for fifteen months. In the early 1990s, this wasn't a big deal....you'd cross the guy's name off the deployment list and you just went on. But these days, you might find two or three guys in a 120-man unit....with long-term injuries and this turns into a worry-fest for the commander to deploy people.
In one unit that I was associated with....they had a female in her early 30's with back issues. For six years, she was on a medical profile....no deployments possible. Course, they couldn't bring themselves to just medically discharge her. So she stayed on....reaching retirement at the 20-year point.
Second, you reached a level in the 1990s where people had mental or stress issues....and the doctors were favorable to start profiles on the individual. That would have been fine if this was a six-week episode and the guy needed alcohol rehab or he needed four months to get over the death of some family member. But I sat and watched the Air Force keep some nutcase around who was emotionally unable to handle any kind of stress. They wrote some profile which had nothing to do with physical health....just mental health. It took them near five years to admit the guy should not be in the military and to refuse to allow them to re-enlist. All the time in that five-year period? Deployable.
So what's going to happen here? You will start to see people argue with the military health profession and refuse profiles. If it's just a thirty-day profile for a pulled muscle or a 90-day profile for a knee operation...fine. But I suspect that most everyone is going to get hyper and tell the medical folks to just stop handing out the long-term profiles. At some point, the medical folks are going to argue about this, and it'll become some Congressional mess.
It's in a way....like the NFL. If you got two players on a team that can only play five games out of the season, and it's that way for several years....what value are the two guys? Zero.