(UPI) — The Pentagon on Friday released new policy guidance regarding retention of non-deployable service members.

The new directives seek to improve overall readiness and lethal forces, according to Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Robert Wilkie, who testified before Congress on Wednesday.

“The situation we face today is really unlike anything that we have faced, certainly in the post-World War II era,” Wilkie said.

A Defense Department publication quoting Wilkie at a hearing on military and civilian personnel programs and military family readiness, said that

About 286,000 service members, or what equates to between 13 percent and 14 percent of the total force, are in a non-deployable status, the Department of Defense said in a press release.

“This new policy is a 12-month ‘deploy-or-be-removed’ policy,” Wilkie told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s personnel subcommittee.

The “DoD Retention Policy for Non-Deployable Service Members” memorandum, released by the Pentagon on Friday, provides exemptions from the directive for pregnancy or postpartum depression and related conditions.

Wilkie said that for service members that have been wounded, military medical boards will review their current medical status.

The individual service secretaries can authorize a waiver to retain service members beyond the 12-month period, in addition to delegating the waiver authority down to military service headquarters, the Pentagon said.

The policy takes effective immediately for troops, with the individual services having a deadline of Oct. 1 to begin separating non-deployable service members.

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