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Army Stretched to the Breaking Point
New Report Crunches the Numbers on Active-Duty Rotations
03/09/2007 11:21 AM ET
The Center for American Progress's National Security Team issued a new report this week analyzing the number and duration of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan by the active Army.

The assessment led them to conclude that "the active Army today is recklessly stretched far beyond recommended use, ultimately hurting our troops and dangerously depriving our country of the strategic reserves necessary to respond to true crises."

From the introduction of "Beyond the Call of Duty: A Comprehensive Review of the Overuse of the Army in the Administration's War of Choice in Iraq" by Lawrence J. Korb, Peter Rundlet, Max Bergmann, Sean Duggan, Peter Juul:

Here is a snapshot of the current state of our 41 combat brigades and three Cavalry Regiments in the active Army.

Of the Army’s 44 combat brigades today, all but the First Brigade of the Second Infantry Division, which is permanently based in South Korea, have served at least one tour. Of the remaining 43:

– 12 Brigades have had one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan

– 20 Brigades have had two tours in Iraq or Afghanistan

– 9 Brigades with three tours in Iraq or Afghanistan

– 2 Brigades with four tours in Iraq or Afghanistan

Army policy recommends that after 12 months of deployment in a war zone, combat troops should come home for 24 months for recuperation and retraining before returning to combat. The Army has been forced to violate this policy many times.

Army policy recommends that troops return home after 12 months of deployment in a war zone. Due to overextension, the Army has been forced to violate this policy many times.

Because each brigade has ongoing rotations of individual troops, the fact that a given brigade has deployed three or four times does not necessarily mean that a particular soldier has also deployed that many times. Nonetheless, the number of troops that have served in Iraq—and who have served more than one tour—is staggering:

– 1.4 million military (Army and other service) troops have served in Iraq or Afghanistan; 650,000 Army soldiers have been deployed to these countries

– More than 420,000 troops have deployed more than once; 170,000 Army soldiers have been deployed more than once

– 169,558 Marines have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan more than once

– More than 410,000 National Guard and Reservists have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001, for an average of 18 months per mobilization; of these, more than 84,00 have been deployed more than once

– Stop-loss (a policy that prevents troops whose enlistment end date has arrived from leaving) has been imposed on over 50,000 troops

There is a clear cost on the troops as a result of the multiple deployments:

– An Army survey revealed that soldiers are 50 percent more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder if they serve more than one tour.

– The suicide rate among troops deployed to Iraq hit an all-time high in 2006


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