Today’s soldiers are well trained to support U.S. overseas military efforts. Still, research shows that the human body and spirit can only perform repeated combat excursions successfully when given adequate recovery time.
Deployment is a fact of military life that never ceases to be challenging for military servicemembers and their families. Studies show that during wartime, increasing at-home dwell time between deployments, as well as introducing shorter deployment periods, may prove critical to the mental healthcare of soldiers as well as to preserving military families.
As such, the Army is aiming to reduce combat zone deployments to nine months, and to increase dwell time to three years, to create optimum military health conditions for all service members.
Team studies suggest that at nine-to-twelve months of deployment, military stress begins to negatively impact service members and military families. The army has agreed that nine months would be an acceptable deployment time, keeping stress at lowest levels for service members.
DECREASING DEPLOYMENT DURING WARTIME
Twelve-month deployments have been the standard for Army missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. In early 2007, the Army pushed deployments up to 15 months when additional troops were sent to a certain location. The Army returned to standard 12-month deployment lengths in August 2008.
Setting a lower standard minimum deployment length seems to be a question of volume balanced with the best interests of the soldiers.
INCREASED DWELL TIME SUPPORTS MENTAL HEALTH
In order to best support the health and well being of today’s military service members, the Army is working to lengthen dwell time between active duty deployments to 36 months.
Dwell time-length varies for military personnel in different services based on high demand for certain specialties such as signal, aviation, intelligence and military police.
However, no matter how demanding and specialized your position, all U.S. soldiers need adequate recovery time from combat. The Army’s mental health assessment team study has determined that recovery time from one-year combat deployment can take 24 to 36 months.
ARMY DEPLOYMENT-TO-DWELL-TIME RATIOS
The Army is working to fulfill its promise of two years dwell time for active-duty soldiers. With continued withdrawal of U.S. military forces in Iraq and a planned drawdown in Afghanistan, the Army is aiming for average dwell time ratio of one-year-deployed-to two-years-at-home for 70 percent of the active military service by late 2011.