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Iraq: Army may shorten tours
Posted by: McQ on Friday, February 17, 2006

Another indicator that things are going better in the effort to train up the Iraqi military and police forces is the possibility of shortening the tours of Army units presently in Iraq:
The Army will move to shorter tours of duty in Iraq as American forces take on different roles in the months ahead. Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told U.S. News that the Army intends to move to six-month and nine-month tours for brigades serving in Iraq, as opposed to the customary full year.

Army officers have said that in the coming months they hope to move their forces out of Iraqi cities and convert them into quick-reaction forces that can come to the aid of Iraqi police and army units. Schoomaker refused to put a timetable on such changes, saying the change would be based on when Iraq becomes more stable.

"As we do more strategic overwatch I believe we will be moving in the direction of nine-month or six-month tours," he said. "We will be reserve or reaction forces."
If we were anticipating "more of the same" of that in which we're currently engaged in terms of a mission I would probably be against such a move. While you can get away with shorter tours for some services, learning their Area of Operations (AO) well often takes 3 to 6 months for a unit. After they learn the personalities, culture and tendencies of their AO they're much more effective within it.

However, if, in fact, they're going to be "reserve or reaction forces", then the hard part, the daily patrolling, raiding and policing within the AO, will be done by Iraqis. Our forces would only show up as the cavalry in case the Iraqis get in a situation which is over their head. That would probably mean that we had used our combat multipliers in their behalf (Army and fixed wing aviation assets) and they were still confronted with a dicey situation requiring the committment of a reaction force.

I would suggest those scenarios wouldn't be as numerous as one might think (don't forget, other Iraqi units would respond as well and we'd be encouraging that) and, given a little time, such missions might taper off to almost nothing.

In essence, the US units would be the "go to h*ll" force, when everything, and I mean everything tried to that point had failed to turn the tide. It would also assume that the future would see some pretty good size battles in the offing (something I don't think we'll see, frankly).

Anyway, this is good news for soldiers who have been on a couple of year long rotations and are anticipating another. Most soldiers can stand on their head for 6 months or so. But a year deployment is a heck of a long and lonely time, especially when families are involved.
Schoomaker said moving to the shorter rotations will be based on "conditions." But the Pentagon has already said it will be pulling out several brigades from Iraq and instead stationing them as a quick-reaction force in the Kuwait desert. That means it is possible that some Army units deploying to Iraq either later this year or next could see shorter tours.
Glad to see they're talking about putting them in Kuwait instead of keeping them in Iraq. That makes much more sense than keeping them in positions in Iraq which will need constant resupply and who's resupply units will continue to be targeted by IEDs.
 
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So that’ll be 6 month twice as often as one year unaccompanied. I think that’s too short, myself, especially if you aren’t getting shot at.

It’ll suck, of course.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
So that’ll be 6 month twice as often as one year unaccompanied.
I don’t think so ... given the stated mission, I doubt you’d end up with anything near the force that is there now. Most likely it would settle in with a 2 bde force (4 bdes a year). Entirely doble. And with the Marines involved it could be an entire year or so without the first Army bde being deployed.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Well, even better.

You could make your whole career with 0 to 1 Iraq tours in that case.

I was the S-1 for 122nd Signal in Korea. A 12-month rotation policy results in a 25% quarterly personnel turnover. (Yeah, I know, duh.) It’s hard to keep anything working well at *that* rate, much less a greater one.

I guess that it’s a sneaky way to have 3 brigades there most of the time.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
One thing I think is good about the rotations in this conflict is they’re doing it by unit and not replacement. That means that you at least have unit cohesion going for you. You know the people you’re working with. Unlike VN where you were a replacement and not only had to learn the AO but the people you worked with as well.
It’s hard to keep anything working well at *that* rate, much less a greater one.
Rotating bdes instead of replacement will help that problem. Also, being a reaction force vs. a force which is in charge of an area makes it a much easier mission to train for and one which doesn’t require the time in-country that the orther requires.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Can this news of reduced troop levels, increasing Iraqi troop numbers, shortening of deployments, and Iraq wanting to join NATO mean anything other than "We are winning"? Well, unless you’re John Murtha.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
This just in, the Democrats now have a plan in Iraq. They apparently copied the same plan the army just announced.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://

 
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