New deployment rules to protect time at home
Sailors' days at sea to be matched 1 for 1, officials say
By Andrew Scutro - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Mar 8, 2007 7:43:57 EST
Ship crews and other Navy units will now fall under a one-for-one
operating schedule designed to ensure a day at home for every full
day spent at sea, Navy officials said Wednesday.
While admitting there will always be exceptions in time of war,
officials said under the new "Personnel Tempo of Operations
Program," the Navy has adopted "dwell time" metrics and procedures
to measure — and enforce — those time periods.
"If a ship deploys on a routine deployment, goes for six months and
comes home, per the `dwell' numbers, they should be back in their
parent [area of responsibility] for six months before they can
deploy again to any of the other geographic commands," said Capt.
Mike Durkin, director of Global Force Management with Fleet Forces
Command in Norfolk. "Dwell is the number that counts for how long
you are supposed to be [in your home operating area] following a
It's been 21 years since the last formal change to the Navy's
personnel tempo of operations program, officials said, and it comes
right from the top. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen
announced the new policy in a Feb. 27 message. Mullen said that
while the Navy still needs to lean forward, the plan is designed "so
our sailors and their families are not subjected to a routinely
excessive tempo of operations."
The new plan, according to CNO's message, attempts to "provide the
most predictability we can in our deployment and operating
For example, Durkin said a carrier strike group that leaves Norfolk
and deploys for six months to the Middle East would not deploy again
for six months.
"Unless there's an urgent need," he added. "In that case we have to
go up to CNO to get his approval to do that. They will not be
routinely scheduled to deploy within that dwell period."
Previously, the ship that most recently had returned from deployment
was often viewed as the most ready and thus most likely to be sent
back out. Under the dwell time framework, that ship is protected
from a quick-turnaround deployment.