Today, a long-overdue bill is being introduced in Congress by Rep. Ellen Tauscher which calls for increasing dwell time for our service members who will serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Current deployment policies and operational tempo, which usually consists of a 1:1 ratio of time deployed and time at home, are compounding the wounds of war for our troops. It is a medical fact confirmed by DoD studies (see Mental Health Advisory Team reports IV and V) that repeated exposure to high-intensity combat with inadequate dwell time greatly increases the incidence of service-connected psychological problems.
Here's Rep. Tauscher talking about dwell-time when it was discussed in 2007:
In June 2007, the DoD Mental Health Task Force reported that almost half of the members of the Guard and Reserve who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing such problems, as are 38% of active duty Soldiers, and 31% of active-duty Marines. Those percentages -- and the damage done to our troops and their families -- will only increase if more troops are deployed with inadequate dwell time.
This bill, which would restore an approximately 1:2 ratio of time deployed to time at home, will help ensure that our brave men and women in uniform have the time they need to rest, recuperate, and retrain.
I, and all of us at Veterans for America, urge the members of the House Armed Services Committee and all members of Congress to support this important legislation. The well-being of our servicemembers depends on it.