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Nine-month Army Deployments to Begin in 2012

By Rob McIlvane
Army News Service

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."


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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

10/21/2011 5:53:18 PM
As a National Guardsman, I am frustrated that we will still be gone from home for the same amount of time as we were prior to this policy, but we still do not get leave.11-12 months away from home is a long time without leave. They are making us implement a pass after we accomplish mob tasks at MOB station, many Soldiers don't have the money to travel home or have their families come visit, so whether you call it mobilized or deployed they are away from home much longer than 9 months. In the future we will deploy and under this new policy we are projected to be at Mob station for 60 days and demon for 14 days; this is a total of 11.5 months, hmm doesn't sound like a 9 month deployment to me.
- Jennifer Breitbach, Kalispell, MT

8/9/2011 3:59:12 PM
we need a program where all young women and men pay there share cost of freedom not just the few either in the military or some other role but they all should pay the price freedom is not free there is a cost and all should pay, what a great country we live in, we have problems but we can and will solve them we are americans and we will do what must be done....
- Donald Coon, Bogota, Colombia

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