Nine-month Army Deployments to Begin in 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2011 — Begin­ning Jan. 1, most sol­diers will deploy for nine months, giv­ing them more time at home between deploy­ments, Army offi­cials announced today.
Army Sec­re­tary John M. McHugh signed a direc­tive insti­tut­ing a nine-month “boots on the ground” pol­i­cy for deployed sol­diers, pro­vid­ing more “dwell time” at home for sol­diers and their fam­i­lies.

“Imple­men­ta­tion of this change is based on the pro­ject­ed demand for Army forces, and remains con­tin­gent on glob­al secu­ri­ty con­di­tions and com­bat­ant com­man­ders’ require­ments,” said Lt. Col. Peg­gy Kageleiry, an Army spokeswoman. 

Corps units and above, and indi­vid­ual aug­mentee deploy­ments will remain at 12-month deploy­ments, offi­cials said, adding that the goal for the corps units is even­tu­al­ly to get to nine-month deployments. 

Most aug­mentees — those with par­tic­u­lar skills or those in low-den­si­ty skill sets and grades — will remain on 12-month deployments. 

This change in pol­i­cy, to be imple­ment­ed ful­ly by April 1, will affect sol­diers in all named oper­a­tions, includ­ing Oper­a­tion Endur­ing Free­dom in Afghanistan, Oper­a­tion Noble Guardian in Koso­vo and Multi­na­tion­al Forces Sinai in Egypt. 

Reserve and Nation­al Guard unit tour lengths will be the same as active duty — nine months. In their case, though, offi­cials not­ed, deploy­ment and mobi­liza­tion are two dif­fer­ent issues. Even though these units may still be mobi­lized for 12 or more months, they will spend only nine months of that mobi­liza­tion deployed. 

It is clear to Army senior lead­er­ship that there are still issues tied to Guard and Reserve forces that will need to be worked out, Kageleiry said. 

Sol­diers deploy­ing under the change in pol­i­cy will not be grant­ed envi­ron­men­tal morale leave — known as R&R — but com­man­ders will retain the option of grant­i­ng emer­gency leave and leave for spe­cial cir­cum­stances, accord­ing to Army reg­u­la­tions and local policy. 

“This pol­i­cy will enhance oper­a­tional suc­cess by reduc­ing the fric­tion that comes with hav­ing 10 per­cent of a commander’s per­son­nel being away on leave in the mid­dle of a deploy­ment,” Kageleiry said. “Oper­a­tional con­ti­nu­ity is enhanced, and risk to the indi­vid­ual sol­dier is reduced by not hav­ing to move a war­rior around on the bat­tle­field to go on leave.” 

Also, Kageleiry said, the reduced deploy­ment length poten­tial­ly could improve qual­i­ty of life for sol­diers and their fam­i­lies while con­tin­u­ing to meet oper­a­tional require­ments, and is an impor­tant step in sus­tain­ing the all-vol­un­teer force. 

The policy’s goal, offi­cials said, is to reduce the amount of time sol­diers are deployed and pro­vide more time for them to spend with their fam­i­lies, depend­ing on the needs of the com­bat­ant com­man­der and the poten­tial of decreased oper­a­tions. Units deployed before the pol­i­cy takes effect in Jan­u­ary will con­tin­ue to have 12-month deployments. 

Cur­rent­ly, deploy­ments have been for 12 months, with a goal of 24 months at home. 

Kageleiry said the Army will con­tin­ue to review how to increase the amount of time sol­diers spend at home, depend­ing on the amount of time they are deployed. 

“We are con­stant­ly ana­lyz­ing all range of poli­cies to address the issues of the mis­sion, sol­diers and fam­i­lies,” she said. “We believe that the cur­rent oper­a­tional envi­ron­ment allows us to adjust the deploy­ment pol­i­cy in a way that meets all mis­sion require­ments and bet­ter serve our sol­diers and families.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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