What is it?
Historically, redeployments have been considered administrative movements with no emphasis on aggregating unit cargo or returning it in an expeditious manner. Thus, it was not uncommon for units to have their equipment returned on multiple ships (often in excess of 20) or to receive it 120 to 150 days after redeployment. However, because of Soldier and unit dwell times averaging 12 months or less between consecutive Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan rotations, the Army had to shorten redeployment timelines in order to meet Army Force Generation and Reset requirements.
What has the Army done?
The Army has been influential in improving the Joint redeployment process in two key areas. The first is updating old and/or creating new Joint and Army doctrine and policy to facilitate the redeployment process and stress its importance in sustaining combat operations. The second is convincing U.S. Transportation Command (USTC) and Central Command to take a thorough look at their business processes and determine ways to reduce redeployment timelines, particularly the transit from the sea port of embarkation to destination (depot, home, or mobilization station).
Joint and Army doctrine now addresses redeployments as operational (versus administrative) movements that are critical in “reestablishing joint force readiness” and must be planned and managed as intensively as deployments.
In the past year, the Army has influenced Central Command and the USTC to conduct redeployments as operational movements, to reduce timelines, and to establish firm metrics. Brigade combat team (BCT) sealift timelines (from available load date to required delivery date) are now programmed to take less than 58 days for OIF and 65 days for OEF. OEF timelines were reduced for a relatively low cost by using faster ships, and reducing the time it takes to return equipment from “port to fort.” For example, the sailing time from Fujairah, United Arab Emirates to the U.S. East Coast has been reduced from 32 to 26 days by increasing the average sailing speed from15 to 18 knots. Furthermore, the USTC has compressed the discharge and movement of unit equipment from the seaport of debarkation to home station from 14 to 8 days. After the success of the 3/10 BCT redeployment this summer, Army G-4, Logistics, developed and distributed thorough tactics, tips, and procedures (TTPs) for BCT redeployments from OEF. Their purpose is to clearly identify “who does what, when, and where” so that the process remains the same from rotation to rotation. We anticipate that these TTPs will provide great continuity and be an invaluable tool for future OEF redeploying units, as well as for the organizations that support them.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army requires redeployment equipment to be returned to depot or home installation in 50 days or less. This represents an 8- to 15-day decrease in current metrics. The USTC and Central Command are now looking at ways to reduce OIF redeployment timelines by means of efficiencies similar to those discovered for the OEF redeployment process. The Army staff will continue its efforts to improve redeployment doctrine and policy, and will institutionalize the ethos that redeployment operations are as critical as deployment.
Why is this important to the Army?
Current redeployment metrics allow BCTs less than 130 days to conduct collective training between consecutive deployments. This is barely enough time to meet minimal standards in preparing for counterinsurgency operations. Collective training for full-spectrum operations takes 180 days. In order to meet the Army’s objective of 15 months dwell and redeployment of full-spectrum trained units, equipment must be returned to depot or home installation for Reset, inventory, and individual training no later than 50 days after the available load date for sealift.