The Army announced today, July 16, a policy change that will lengthen the current deployment deferment period to six months for military mothers of newborns and certain military parents adopting a child.

Effective Aug. 1, 2008, Army mothers of newborns and certain Soldiers adopting a child will be able to stay home two months longer before being assigned on a permanent change of station to a dependent-restricted overseas tour, accompanied overseas tour where concurrent travel is denied, temporary duty away from their home station, or on a deployment.

This expanded policy applies to a Soldier who is a new mother, to a single Soldier who adopts a child, or to one member of a dual-military couple who adopts a child, with the deferment period beginning the date the child is placed in the home as part of the formal adoption process.
Soldiers who are currently on a postpartum deferment that will end prior to August 1 will follow the four-month deferment guidelines; however, commanders are encouraged to grant a longer deferment period when operationally feasible. Soldiers who are on a deferment on Aug. 1 will be eligible to extend from their current four-month deferment to the expanded six-month deferment; the Soldier may waive this extension.

The effective date of this policy change coincides with the Army's return to a 12-month Boots-on-the-Ground deployment cycle, and is timed to give commanders an opportunity to prepare for the change as the Army resets and rebalances the force in a period of persistent conflict. "This policy also allows our Soldiers and their Families some additional time to restore balance and predictability to their personal lives," said Lt. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. "It demonstrates the Army's continuing commitment to our Soldiers and Families as stated in the Army Family Covenant. As balance is restored to our Army, we plan to review the policy again for possible lengthening of the deferment period."

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