Chief says dwell at 24 months beginning October
March 2, 2011
By J.D. Leipold
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 2, 2011) -- In firm words, the Army chief of staff said Soldiers deploying after Oct. 1 could expect to have 24 months at home upon return.
"That\'s a huge step, it's a place we needed to go because our studies tell us it takes 24-36 months to recover from a one-year deployment," said Gen. George W. Casey Jr., before members of the Association of the U.S. Army at their winter symposium and exhibition, Feb. 25 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"We had to get there, and once we're there, we need to hold ourselves to that," he continued, adding that he'd sent Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates a note stating that for the first time in more than five years the global force management allocation plan for 2012 would allow the Army to meet expected demand at an acceptable deployment tempo.
Casey said that while Soldiers could expect 24 months "dwell time" when they get home, the Army is actually aiming to give them 36 months -- time to spend training and with their Families.
While Casey said the Army wasn't in a bad place to begin looking at the transition into sustaining balance in a period of declining resources, he reminded the audience that the war is not over.
"We know the budget has to come down; we know we need to be more efficient in how we execute, but we have to be very, very careful that we don't inadvertently hollow out the force as we're trying to reduce the resources," he said.
The chief added that the most important element the Army needs to maintain its combat edge is a continued focus on versatility. "The one thing we know about the future is we never get it exactly right," he said.
"With modularity we've taken a huge step toward being able to put together versatile force packages to deal with different challenges... we need to carry that over into our equipment, into our training and into our leader development," he said.
Casey said giving Soldiers at the lowest level the information they need to execute their mission is critical to maintaining the Army's combat edge.
"That's all empowered by the network," he said. "We're going to see the Joint Tactical Radio System family of radios start coming out next year and we're going to see the reality of what we know we need to achieve."
Another element to maintaining the combat edge, he said, is full-spectrum training.
"We're just starting to do that," he said. "The more we practice it, the more we're going to inform ourselves on whether that's right and how we need to adapt and adjust."
The final element to maintaining combat edge, he said is ensuring the reserve component is resourced and used in a way that allows the Reserve and Guard to maintain the skills they've built over the last decade.
"Half our Guard and Reserve are combat veterans," Casey said. "We have reduced the training time for brigade-sized units from 180 days to 66... that's a huge accomplishment and that will be one of the main things that we've got to maintain as we work our way through and go forward from here."
Casey is slated to retire April 11, after nearly 41 years of service.