Why Me? Why Can’t Someone Else Deploy?

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There have been a number of posts about deployments. We talked about how to max out your TSP, how dwell time works, gear lists, how to get clinical help while deployed, and the different types of deployments. Here is another deployment mystery revealed…

OK Specialty Leader…why do I have to deploy? What about all these other people? Can’t they go?

There are many people whose turn it is to deploy but who cannot deploy. In my experience, the reasons include:

  • They are pregnant or within 1 year post-partum, both of which made you non-deployable.
  • They have LIMDU or medical issues that make them non-deployable.
  • They are in a non-deployable position, like being a CO or working at the White House.
  • They are already with an operational unit, and the operational unit controls if/when they deploy, not the Specialty Leader. For example, I can’t deploy my ER docs who are stationed with the Marines. The Marines decide when they deploy, not me.
  • They have an upcoming resignation/retirement/PCS. You have to have at least 90 days left between the end of a deployment and your end of service or upcoming PCS.
  • They are in GME. Residents and fellows are non-deployable.
  • They have legal issues that keep them from deploying.

In addition to the factors listed above that make someone non-deployable, there are limitations on:

  • Rank – You can only go +/- one rank without a waiver. In other words, if the deployment is for a LCDR you can go down one to a LT or up one to a CDR. You can’t send a CAPT without a waiver, which might not be approved.
  • Security clearances – If people have an expired or soon-to-be expired security clearance, it can be a problem.
  • Manning in the various commands – As the Emergency Medicine Specialty Leader, which doctor I select to deploy often has more to do with the physician manning in the various ERs than whose turn it is.
  • OCONUS vs CONUS – For some deployments people from OCONUS can fill them, for others they can’t.
  • Board exam dates – As the Specialty Leader, I don’t deploy someone if it will mess up their board certification exams.
  • Commands pushing back – After I submit names for a deployment, the officer’s command can RECLAMA, which is an official non-concur with my selection. These are adjudicated by the regions (Navy Medicine East and Navy Medicine West).
  • Other things I’m undoubtedly forgetting.

For example, I just got a request for a deployment, but it overlaps all of the Emergency Medicine oral board exam dates in 2018. In addition, I was told I can’t send anyone from OCONUS. This means I can’t send any new residency graduates or anyone from OCONUS, even if they volunteer. As you can imagine, this limits who I can send and explains why someone might have to deploy for a 2nd or 3rd time when there are others who haven’t deployed.

BOTTOM LINE – When it comes to picking people for deployments, you can see there are many limitations on the process that affect who is eligible to deploy. So I guess you’ll just have to go…

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