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U.S. Army reduces soldiers' deployment from 12 to nine months


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U.S. Army reduces soldiers' deployment from 12 to nine months

2011-08-06 09:21:07 GMT+7 (ICT)

ARLINGTON, VIRGINA (BNO NEWS) – The U.S. Army announced on Friday that starting in 2012 it will reduce the deployment time of soldiers in war zone from one year to nine months.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh signed a directive instituting the new policy which has as its main goal to provide more time at home for soldiers and 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 Lieutenant Colonel Peggy Kageleiry, an Army spokeswoman.

The nine-month deployment will affect soldiers serving in all U.S. Army operations, including Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Noble Guardian in Kosovo, and Multi-National Forces Sinai in Egypt.

The change in policy is expected to be fully implemented by April 1st next year, and units deployed before the policy takes effect, January 2012, will continue to have 12 month deployments as it is currently practiced.

The new deployment policy will not apply to all soldiers, however. Corps units and above, and most augmentee, will remain on 12-month deployments although the goal is to eventually reduce all deployments to 9 months.

Soldiers who will enjoy shorter deployments will not be granted environmental morale leave, known as R&R (rest and relaxation), that they currently get while serving in Afghanistan. However, 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," she added.

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

However, 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 in service. "We are constantly analyzing all range of policies to address the issues of the mission, soldiers, and families. 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," Kageleiry said.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-06

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