Time, not money, for troops losing 'dwell time'
ARLINGTON, Va. — U.S. troops who cut short their time at home to deploy will get some time off but no money, Defense officials said Wednesday.
The move is retroactive to Jan. 19 for active-duty troops who do not get two months at home for every one month deployed and Reserve component troops who do not get five months off for every month they are mobilized, officials said.
The Defense Department had considered whether to give money to troops who have to break “dwell time” — or their time at home — to deploy, but officials ultimately decided against it, said Michael L. Dominguez, undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness.
“We weren’t trying to find some metaphysical balance between the service you are rendering and a bucket full of gold,” Dominguez said.
Officials decided the best way to compensate troops who have to deploy early was to give them more of a respite, said Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy.
To that end, the Defense Department came up with a formula to determine how much time off troops who break dwell time to deploy can get, a Defense Department news release says.
The formula for active-duty troops is based on a 36-month time period, the news release says.
Within those 36 months, active-duty troops get one day off for every month they are deployed beyond 12 months. After 18 months, they get two days off per extra month deployed. After 24 months, they get four days off per extra month deployed.
Reserve component troops are awarded days off under the same formula based on a 72-month period.
U.S. troops who are extended while in theater will continue to get an extra $1,000 per month, Dominguez said.
In January, Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the DOD to figure out how to compensate troops “who are required to mobilize or deploy early or often, or to extend beyond the established rotation policy goals.”
Right now, troops get about one month off for every month deployed, but with the U.S. military involved in wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. troops have been getting less and less time at home between combat tours.
The Defense Department announced recently that two units would spend less than a year back home before deploying: The 1st Armored Division Headquarters, based in Wiesbaden, Germany; and the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, based in Fort Drum, N.Y.
Last week, the Defense Department announced that tours for soldiers in the U.S. Central Command Area of Operations would be extended from 12 to 15 months in order to keep five brigades from having to break dwell time to deploy.
Soldiers who serve 15-month rotations in the CENTCOM theater are eligible for an extra $3,000 in compensation.