What makes you non-deployable Army?

There are many reasons a soldier may be considered non-deployable in the Army. Being non-deployable means a soldier is unable to perform their duties in a deployment or combat environment due to medical, administrative, or legal issues. This impacts unit readiness and can affect a soldier’s career. Understanding what causes non-deployable status helps soldiers avoid situations that may limit their ability to deploy.

Medical Issues

Medical issues are a major factor in soldiers being deemed non-deployable. If a medical condition prevents a soldier from being able to fully execute their duties in a deployment, they may receive a non-deployable code. Some examples of medical issues that could lead to non-deployable status include:


Soldiers who are pregnant are considered non-deployable for obvious reasons. The high physical demands and risks involved in combat deployments make pregnancy incompatible with deployment. Soldiers who become pregnant may be assigned limited duties until they are post-partum and cleared by medical providers to return to full duty status.


Injuries that impair a soldier’s ability to function in a combat environment are common causes of non-deployable status. These may include injuries sustained during training exercises, sports and fitness activities, vehicle accidents, falls, and other causes. Injuries such as broken bones, joint/back injuries, concussions, etc. often require recovery time that would overlap with deployment, making soldiers non-deployable.


Many surgical procedures require extended recovery and rehabilitation periods that are not feasible during deployments. Unless the recovery timeline is expected to be very short, pending surgery or post-surgical recovery will often trigger non-deployable status. This protects the health and well-being of the soldier.

Chronic Illness

Ongoing chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, sleep apnea, chronic pain conditions, and autoimmune disorders can compromise a soldier’s readiness for deployment. Poor control of medical conditions in austere combat environments poses risks to the soldier and the unit. These types of chronic illnesses often lead to non-deployable coding.

Mental Health

Mental health conditions such as mood disorders, PTSD, anxiety, and personality disorders can impair a soldier’s ability to function in high-stress combat environments. Like physical injuries, these require time and treatment to resolve, necessitating non-deployable status. This allows soldiers to get the care they need and prevent endangerment of themselves or fellow service members.

Administrative Issues

There are a number of administrative reasons a soldier may be classified as non-deployable including:

Legal Proceedings

Soldiers who are undergoing legal proceedings from actions such as arrests, criminal charges, and court proceedings may be deemed non-deployable until the issue is resolved. Deploying amidst pending legal issues can be problematic.

Security Clearances

Certain issues with a soldier’s security clearance, such as pending reviews or revocation can trigger non-deployable status. Most deployments require at minimum a current secret security clearance. Issues that disrupt that make deployment inadvisable until resolved.

Training Deficiencies

Soldiers who have failed to complete required training and certifications for deployment may be coded as non-deployable. Missing training on weapons qualifications, first aid, security, or other mission-related subjects can prevent deployment until training is complete.

Pending Separations

Soldiers in the process of separating from the Army through means such as retirement, discharge, or other separation actions are often classified as non-deployable. Deploying soldiers in the midst of separating could risk disrupting the transition process.

Weight/Fitness Standards

Failure to meet body weight and fitness standards of one’s branch of service can result in non-deployable status. Soldiers must meet physical fitness requirements for combat readiness. Not meeting weight limits or failing fitness testing can trigger non-deployable coding until standards are met.

How Non-Deployable Status Impacts Soldiers

Being put on non-deployable status can significantly impact a soldier’s career and experience in the Army. Some effects may include:

Limitations on Duties

Non-deployable soldiers are often put on limited duty profiles. This restricts them from performing certain job functions and training while they resolve their non-deployable condition. Soldiers may resent or feel alienated from unit activities.

Inability to Advance

Non-deployable status can stagnate or even derail careers. Certain military schools, duty assignments, and promotions require deployable status. Extended non-deployable coding can limit career progression.


In some cases, soldiers who remain non-deployable for 12+ months may be processed for administrative separation from the Army. This ends careers prematurely for conditions that rendered soldiers unable to deploy.

Negative Stigma

There is sometimes a stigma attached to non-deployable status, especially if due to failure to maintain standards. Soldiers may feel ostracized and that others see them as shirking duties. This can damage self-esteem and unit cohesion.

Disrupts Family Life

Family duties like childcare and marital responsibilities can be complicated by one spouse being coded as non-deployable. Allowances for dependents and base housing are also impacted.

Avoiding Non-Deployable Status

While some non-deployable conditions are unavoidable, soldiers can take steps to minimize risks of being put on non-deployable status:

Maintain Health

Stay physically fit, eat well, manage stress, and maintain medical/dental readiness. Quickly treat illnesses and injuries when they arise. Keep immunizations current. Stay on top of any chronic health conditions.

Meet Standards

Work diligently to meet Army height, weight, fitness, and body fat percentage standards for your branch of service. Develop discipline in diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Manage Personal Issues

Avoid conduct such as drug abuse, arrests, irresponsible spending, marital problems, etc. that could negatively impact your deployability. Also take care of any pending legal issues promptly.

Get Required Training Done

Stay vigilant in completing training courses, certifications, weapons qualifications, and other requirements on schedule. Don’t let administrative obligations pile up.

Communicate Deployment Concerns

If you receive deployment orders but have concerns about your ability to deploy, communicate respectfully with your chain of command. There may be options to resolve issues and retain deployable status.


Maintaining deployable status is crucial for having a successful and fullfilling career as a soldier. While some non-deployable conditions cannot be avoided, ensuring personal readiness, meeting standards, and tending to administrative details can help every soldier maximize their deployment availabilty. Unless facing extenuating circumstances, soldiers should strive to remain deployable assets to their units.

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