To fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army has sent its troops on 12-month deployments to the combat zones, sometimes with not even a full year back home before being ordered off to fight again. Some soldiers even served 15-month stints.
Acknowledging that an exhausted ground force needs time to rest, retrain — and re-examine its mission and core values — the Army’s top officer has pledged that the service will develop plans to shorten combat tours to nine months, with 18 months between missions.
That initial ratio of deployment-versus-dwell time would be a way-point toward a goal of nine-month combat tours followed by 27 months back home.
Well, if you had enough troops in the Army, you could do that today. But the dwell time at home station isn’t determined so much by the length of the deployment, but rather by the total size of the force relative to the deployed strength.
That is, if the Army were twice as big (in troop units) with the same deployment load, the dwell time would automatically double.