Army Deployments Will Be Reduced to Nine Months

On August 5, the U.S. Army announced that it would be reducing the length of deployment to overseas war zones to nine months, as opposed to the current standard of twelve months. This reduced deployment length is set to take effect in April 2012. Such a move should ease the stress on troops who are already stretched thin in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army Secretary John McHugh emphasized this point, stating, “The reduced deployment length will improve soldier and family quality of life while continuing to meet operational requirements, and is an important step in sustaining the all-volunteer-force.” Deployments were previously extended to 15 months in 2007. They have typically lasted for 12 months since then, although longer deployments are not uncommon. This announcement comes after the Army’s Suicide Prevention Task Force released a report on July 29, which states that there were 160 suicides in the Army during the 2009 fiscal year. Most of these suicides were among those who had only been deployed once (or not at all) or were in their first term of service. Shorter deployments are therefore hoped to reduce stress and decrease instances of suicide. Although the standard two weeks of rest and relaxation will disappear and the reduced deployments do not apply to everyone in the U.S. military, the change should be an overall positive step for the Army. Read more about the reduced deployments at CNN and about the Suicide Prevention Task Force report at the Army’s website.

By Meaghan Kelley, Connecticut College ’12

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