WASHINGTON – Aided by the shrinking troop requirements for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is cutting the current yearlong deployment tours to nine months for most of its units beginning next January.
The change will not affect any of the Army troops deploying this year, and some high-demand units – such as aviation and military police – will continue to serve 12-month tours.
The move reflects a reduced demand on the military as the Pentagon looks to shrink the size of the Army and Marine Corps and slash budgets.
Troop deployments to the warfront were lengthened from one year to 15 months in early 2007 as the Bush administration surged forces into Iraq to quell the escalating violence.
By late 2008, most units were back to serving one-year deployments, but many still were not getting much more than a year’s break at home before returning to war.
The goal has been to give soldiers two years between deployments.
Under the shorter deployment schedule, soldiers will no longer get automatic leave to go home, but emergency leaves will still be considered. Most National Guard and Reserve troops will also see their deployments shortened to nine months, but they may be mobilized for the full year.