During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to take several steps to ease fatigue among military service members, both active and reserve, after years of frequent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of those steps, specifically targeted at Reserve and National Guard members, was to "end the 'stop-loss' program of forcing troops to stay in service beyond their expected commitments."
Ending the stop-loss policy was initially set in motion under President George W. Bush and has been carried out by both Bush and Obama. In March 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the policy would be phased out by early 2011.
And on June 15, 2011, Gates told a Senate subcommittee that stop-loss had indeed ended.
"Nearly four and a half years ago, one of my first acts as Defense Secretary was to increase the permanent end strength of our ground forces -- the Army by 65,000 for a total of 547,000, and the Marine Corps by 27,000 to 202,000,” Gates told the subcommittee. "At the time, the increase was needed to relieve the severe stress on the force from the Iraq war as the surge was getting under way. To support the later (increase) of troops in Afghanistan, I subsequently authorized a temporary further increase in the Army of some 22,000, an increase always planned to end in fiscal year 2013.
"The objective was to reduce stress on the force, limit and eventually end the practice of stop-loss, and to increase troops' home-station dwell (or off-duty) time. This has worked. And I can tell you that those stop-lossed in the Army is now over. There are no Army soldiers stop-lossed.”
There"s one technical caveat to Gates" testimony. A Pentagon spokesman told CNN in June that approximately 131 service members who had been "stop-lossed" were hospitalized or in rehabilitation from wounds or illnesses incurred while on duty in "a hostile fire" area.
Beyond that, though, stop-loss policy is no longer being used, Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez told PolitiFact.
We rate this a Promise Kept.