Adm. Mullen Concedes ‘Dwell Time’ Plan Will Slip
Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he would put in place a plan to expand the time that soldiers spend at home between deployments. By 2011, Gates said, he and Army officials wanted to give war-weary soldiers two years at home for every year deployed, up from the 12 months of “deploy time” to 12 months of “dwell time” they currently experience.
The extended surge in Afghanistan effectively forecloses on that plan. Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded that point in a Pentagon press briefing just now:
We are beginning to be able to reset the force, if you will. The Marine Corps next year will actually get out to a two-to-one [years] dwell time/deployment time ratio. The Army will not, still. The Army — it’ll take a couple more years to do that. And all that speaks to more time at home, training for additional missions other than just counterinsurgency, as well as rehabbing and refurbishing equipment which is worn as well as purchasing new. And while we have notionally a two-year to three-year period of time to do all this, what I’ve asked my staff to do is look in detail at — in terms of exactly what it’s going to take, exactly how much time it’s going to take and exactly how much money it’s going to take.
Placing the dwell time change on the back burner because of Afghanistan cost the Obama administration the support of the progressive veterans organization VoteVets.