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ARLINGTON, Va. — Beginning in September, the Army each month will designate one U.S.-based brigade as a “force stabilized” unit that will arrive, train and fight as a unit for three years before turning over as a group.

At the same time, the service will begin a “home basing” approach, which will keep junior soldiers at one installation for six to seven years — well beyond the current three-year average, according to Brig. Gen. Sean Byrne, the Army’s director of military personnel policy.

Force stabilization, as the initiative is known, is supposed to foster “increased readiness and stability for the fighting force, and predictability for families,” Byrne told Pentagon reporters Monday.

The initiative has two parts: home basing and unit-focused stability, Byrne said.

Under home basing, when soldiers join the Army, they will be assigned a home base where they will stay at least through the time they earn the position of squad leader, for enlisted soldiers; or of company commander, for officers, Byrne said.

Even when it comes time for a soldier to attend a leader development school, such as the basic noncommissioned officer’s course, the soldier will attend the class on temporary travel status (TDY), instead of uprooting himself and his family in a permanent change of station move, Byrne said.

Only after a soldier is leader-qualified — at about the six- or seven-year mark, Byrne said — will that soldier be considered for an assignment at a different installation.

Home basing will not have an effect on Europe-based soldiers “for the time being,” Byrne said. “There will still be an element going over for three-year tours, and we’ll still be doing individual assignments to [Europe] locations.”

Nor will there be a change for Korea, where the Army will continue its current practice of rotating troops in for one-year assignments, he said.

However, Korea will be treated “more like a deployment,” in that once the one-year tour is complete, the soldier will return to his or her home-base installation, where the family remained, Byrne said.

Under the unit-focused stability part of the initiative, soldiers will stay in the same unit, as a group through a 36-month cycle, Byrne said, rather than moving in and out using the Army’s current individual replacement system.

After soldiers arrive at a unit, which will be called the “reset period,” they will go through a six-month training period.

Then for the next 30 months, the unit will be considered “in a high state of readiness,” Byrne said.

Army plans also call for soldiers to go through “one operational deployment of six months to one year” during that 30-month “ready” period, Byrne said.

The force stabilization concept is especially timely, Byrne said, because of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker’s recent decision to center itself around highly capable, enhanced brigades, rather than larger, more cumbersome divisions, as its central combat maneuver unit.

The Army currently has 33 brigades, but Schoomaker has said he wants that number to increase to at least 43, or even 48, depending on funding. So at a pace of one brigade per month, it will take the Army about three years to complete the transition to the force stabilization model, Byrne said.


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