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Guard Brigades to Receive Alert for Iraq Deployment

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2007 –

About 13,000 National Guardsmen will be alerted for possible deployment to Iraq in fiscal 2008, a senior defense official said on background today.

Four National Guard brigade combat teams are likely to be alerted in the near future, the official said. If the decision is made to mobilize and deploy them, they would not leave until December 2007 at the earliest.

National Guard officials said that alerting a unit does not necessarily mean mobilization and deployment. “We want to give our soldiers all the advance notice we can so they can prepare their families, their friends and their employers for their possible deployment,” the official said.

The senior defense official said that any mobilization and deployment would be governed by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the judgments of commanders in the country. The four brigades are part of the normal fiscal 2008-2010 rotation.

Calling up National Guard brigades requires this advance notification. DoD will call up the brigades as whole units and not put them together from other units.

The lead time for identifying replacement forces for the fiscal 2008 to 2010 rotation, means there may still be additional units that DoD identifies for deployment long before these National Guard units deploy. DoD is still working on the fiscal 2007-2009 rotation.

The possibility of an alert is a prudent move. “What will be level of effort in January 2008?” the senior defense official asked. “Who knows? It will be determined by the conditions on the ground and the recommendations of the commanders that are there.”

Some of the National Guard units that may be alerted will fall sort of the “dwell time” policy goals for reserve units. The DoD goal is for reserve component units to serve one year deployed and five years at home.

DoD and the Army is looking beyond the flag of the unit, the official said, they are looking inside the unit and assessing the deployment histories of individual soldiers. Of the four brigades, roughly two-thirds of the soldiers have not deployed.

These units will only mobilize for a year, the official said. In the past, a unit’s training, deployment and demobilization meant that soldiers could be gone from their homes as long as 18 months.

The official said that a dwell time of one year to five for the reserves and one to three for the active component is about right. “But we know that as a nation at war we can’t always make those policy goals that we have for ourselves,” the official said.

With the changes to brigade structures in the active and reserve components, the official said future deployments will be closer to the goals. The way the Army is building modularity, the service should end up with the ability to sustain a significant level of effort and forces and still maintain the dwell time, the official said.

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