And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Calling for What Has to Happen Anyway, the New Firmness

So, you may hear that the chorus for troop draw down is gaining momentum. We must withdraw troops "before Xmas" and must withdraw more "next spring." It's all a political game.

Why? Because in September we end the surge. That is the military begins to run out of fresh troops it can throw into theater given it's schedule of rotations (15 months on 12 off for Army, 8 months on 12 off for Marines, if memory serves). What that means is that those people who had their deployments extended to complete the surge are now approaching the end of those extentions. They come home (in most cases). So legislators calling for their withdraw this fall (you'll notice the numbers they are calling for are "small" or "token") are betting to win. Legislators that call for a bigger withdraw next Spring are also betting on a sure thing. Next Spring the numbers work out to mean a low point in deployments to Iraq. The only way we wouldn't do that is if the DoD extended tour times again, which is highly unlikely.

So, the legislators get to say that the President listened to them, that they were right. And the administration gets to say they're just following the plan they already had. It's a win-win for everybody in politics.


David Klecha said...

FWIW, I think the Marines only max out at 7 months in country. And the thing with Marines is that they've been on a slightly "lazier" version of that rotation for decades with the MEU floats (usually 6 on ship, 18 "off"), which is one of the reasons why the Corps has continued to insist on the 6-7 months in country we're on now.

But one of the reasons it is just 12 months off for the Marines is that the units are oscillating between Iraq and MEU floats.

Steve Buchheit said...

Thanks, Dave, for clearing up the Marines deployment schedule.