Dwell Time

By Kate Brannen / December 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters traveling with him to Afghanistan yesterday that President Obama's decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to the country will not lead to shorter dwell times for the Army or the Marines. However, he confirmed that it would delay the Army's plans to get "back in balance" by 2011.

Gates said Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway thinks the Marines will still be able to meet their goals for restoring balance -- increasing the length of time spent at home between deployments.

"It'll be a harder push for the Army, but it'll -- they will still head in the right direction," said Gates. "It'll just be slower getting to the one to two for the Army."

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey's stated goal for fiscal year 2011 has the active force staying for two years at home for every one year deployed, and the reserve component spending four years in “dwell” for every one year deployed.

The goal remains, but with the decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, at least 30 percent of the active force will not meet that goal by 2011, Inside the Army reports this week.

Gates also said that certain “enabling forces” in high demand will most likely not see much relief in the deployment/dwell cycle.

"The one exception and the one area that we worry about in some of the forces that are the most stretched are some of those ((that)) we call the enablers -- the helicopters, the intelligence, the counter-((improvised explosive device)), road clearance, engineers," said Gates. "Some of these specialists are pushed pretty hard."