29 May 2010

Unintentional Humor: Troop Dwell Time (supposedly) Unaffected By Looming Afghanistan Surge

OK - this wasn't meant to be humor, but it turns out that reports that troop dwell time being unaffected by the Afghan surge is actually a steaming pile of turd-flavored horse-puckey.

All general officers, senior executive service professionals, colonels, brigade and battalion commanders, command sergeants major and sergeants major received die message, which said, in part, "Even with the increase ordered by the president, we estimate that about 70 percent of the active component and about 80 percent of the reserve component will achieve the (boots on the ground) and dwell goals we set for 2011.

"The remainder of the force will continue to see their dwell rate increase and should meet these goals by 2012," they said

McHugh and Casey wrote that the increase of the Army's size by 70,000 troops in the last five years allows the service to absorb the troops increase without stretching deployments to 15 months, limiting time between deployments to less than 12 months or halting the plan to end stop-loss.

"Assuming the drawdown in Iraq continues about on schedule," they said, "we will also continue to make progress toward our goals for the ratio between boots on ground deployment time and ... 'dwell' or length of time at home station between deployments for FY11."

Those ratios are l-to-2 for active component troops and l-to-4 for reserve-component personnel.

Remember that 1-to-4 ratio for the reserve component boys and girls. Why should you remember it? Well here, read this first:

27 May 2010, Defense.gov News Release: DOD Announces Units for Upcoming Rotation to Afghanistan

The Department of Defense announced today the alert of replacement forces scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The announcement involves two brigades of Army National Guard consisting of approximately 7,000 personnel.

Specific units alerted are:

37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Ohio Army National Guard

45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Okla. Army National Guard

The units will replace redeploying units, with no increase in overall force levels. They are currently scheduled to begin their deployment in the summer of 2011 and are receiving alert orders now in order to provide the maximum time to complete preparations. It also provides a greater measure of predictability for family members and flexibility for employers to plan for military service of their employees.

The 37th and 45th IBCTs will deploy to Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces.

Note the two ARNG units being mobilized: 37th IBCT from Ohio, and the 45th IBCT from Oklahoma.

Now, check out the announcement of the Iraq rotation units from a release dated 9 April 2007.

Defense.gov News Release: DoD Announces Force Adjustments

These Reserve units are not scheduled to begin deployment until December 2007. They are receiving alert orders now in order to provide them the maximum time to complete their preparations. It also provides a greater measure of predictability for family members and flexibility for employers to plan for military service of their employees. The final determination of whether these units will deploy will be made based on conditions on the ground in Iraq.

This alert is not associated with the current troop surge. These units would deploy as replacement forces for formations currently operating in Iraq. There are approximately 13,000 personnel in these four brigades.

Specific units receiving alert orders include:

39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Little Rock, Ark.

45th Infantry Brigade, Oklahoma City, Okla.

76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Indianapolis, Ind.

37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Columbus, Ohio

Yep, our good buddies from Ohio and Oklahoma just had 1 year rotations that started in December of 2007. And they're headed back in the summer of 2011. That means from date-of-return (December 2008) to the date of deployment for next mission (call it June 2011 for now). Do the math. That's barely 2.5 years (12/08-12/09, 12/09-12/10, 12/10-6/11).

Yep, that 4-1 rotational policy is a pile of crap. After it was put in place, these two brigade were cut on their dwell time by over 35%. And that doesn't count all the twice-a-month drill weekends, extended annual training sessions, additional courses/certifications, and home-station pre-mob training that takes part-time soldiers away from careers, schools, families, churches, and jobs. Again, these are supposed to be part-time soldiers who were promised a 4-to-1 dwell time.

Now, you may be thinking, "Hey, these guys joined the military, they can deal with it. We need them to turn around their dwell time ahead of schedule just this once so we can deal with Afghanistan and then get out." Not a bad thought. Too bad it's not going to hold water.

The 45th Infantry Brigade had a deployment from Fall 03-04 in Afghanistan.
In fall of 2003, the 45th Infantry Brigade was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, assuming command of Task Force Phoenix II from 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division.

The turnaround from that rotation to the Iraq rotation? Fall 2004 they came home, December 2007 they were back out the door. Dwell time? 3 years.

And the 37th? Well, they re-flagged from an Armor Brigade in 2007, so you have to look around a bit for their unit information, but it doesn't take long to find that they had a rotation to Kosovo from 2004-2005.
About 1,000 Ohio Army National Guard soldiers mobilized in June 2004 for for four months of training prior to a six-month deployment to Kosovo as peacekeepers. Included in the group are 100 members of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company 37th Armor Brigade out of the armory at Akron-Canton Airport. A total of more than 1,000 soldiers in a dozen units across Ohio have been mobilized for the assignment on the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo. The soldiers first trained at Camp Atterbury, IN., followed by more training in Germany. The soldiers arrived in Kosovo in September 2004.

Dwell time between Kosovo and Iraq? 2.5 years (Spring 2005-December 2007).

So these two brigades of part-time soldiers have been on the run for over 8 years. By the time this next rotation is done, we will have had part-time soldiers deployed for 3 out of 9 years (between 2003-2012, when they're expected home).

Compare the rotation schedule of these two part-time brigades with the full-time
214th Fires Brigade from Ft Sill, OK.

In January 2003, the 214th Field Artillery Brigade answered our Nation's call deploying HHB, 2-4 Field Artillery Regiment, and 1-14 Field Artillery Battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In June 2006, the 6-52 Air Defense Artillery joined the 214th Field Artillery Brigade. In September 2006, the brigade was redesignated as the 214th Fires Brigade. In October 2006, the 2-5 Field Artillery and the 168 Brigade Support Battalion, became a part of the 214th Fires Brigade. In April 2007, HHB, 214th FB deployed for 15 months in support of OIF. Elements of 2-4 Field Artillery Regiment and 2-5 FAR are currently serving in Iraq.

So since 2003, they've deployed 1 HHB and 1 BN, the Brigade HHB, and "elements" of 2 other battalions.

How about Ft Sill's 75th Fires Brigade?

On 5 November 2004, HHB (-), 75th Field Artillery Brigade deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in order to serve as the 75th Force Field Artillery Headquarters attached to the 1st Cavalry Division (CD) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) II. The Brigade mission was to quickly deploy, conduct RSOI, force protection, and establish Command and Control (C2) of 1st CD’s counter-fire operations. The 75th Brigade provided C2, intelligence planning, fire control, and the integration of lethal and non-lethal effects to maximize intelligence based counter mortar/rocket operations.

In September 2006, The 75th Field Artillery Brigade was re-organized and renamed the 75th Fires Brigade. Today, the 75th Fires Brigade continues the mission of being a deployable, combat brigade, prepared to support any contingency in support of the Global War On Terror. The reorganization of the Brigade established 2-18FAR (Mission Ready!) as the organic Fires battalion and established the 100th Brigade Support Battalion (Diamond Support), and C/26 TAB as the other organic units associated with the Brigade. 3-13FAR (Red Dragons) and 1-17FAR (Copperheads) are assigned to the Brigade as the additional Fires battalions.

Well, they deployed the Brigade HHB for a year, and... well, their own unit history page doesn't list any, so if they went anywhere, they don't want to admit to it.

Sounds like the place to find dwell time is not in the Ohio or Oklahoma Army National Guard, but rather in the Active Duty Field Artillery at Ft Sill, OK.

In the meantime, it's pretty clear that the dwell time policies of the US Army are a complete sham, and if soldiers are needed to continue to rotate overseas with a 1-to-3 dwell time ratio (or less), then perhaps they should start pulling troops out of fires brigades from Ft Sill instead of pulling them out of banks, construction sites, farms, factories, and universities in Ohio and Oklahoma.

By: Brant


Anonymous said...

Ask the current 45th IBCT Commander how much dwell time he's gotten since his last deployment. Inquirinq minds want to know!

Anonymous said...

The 37th IBCT dwell time was cut short because that State's Leadership (now former leadership)and current Brigade Commander requested to go earlier than the original 2013 rotation date. Lets ask them all who really benifits from this deployment?

Unknown said...

I got back From Iraq in May 2010, I'm scheduled to leave for Afghanistan in August 2011...I'm in the Michigan National Guard...