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Employability and Deployability: Striking a Balance

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070323-19
Release Date: 3/23/2007 2:36:00 PM


From the Navy News Service

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Employability and deployability has become a hot topic in the Navy because of recent policy shifts designed to align the Navy’s deployment and homeport training time with the rest of the Department of Defense (DOD).

These changes are intended to increase the availability of Navy assets to combatant commanders.

In NAVADMIN 051/07, distributed to the Fleet in late February, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen wrote, “The thrust of this effort was to examine the ways in which we might increase our operational availability, the percentage of time our forces are available for operational tasks and missions, while still preserving our overall readiness and the quality of service for our Sailors and their families.”

According to Mullen’s message, the nation's many strategic challenges require a Navy that is available, responsive and ready.

“We are deliberately taking action to strike the right balance between our need to provide rotational forward forces, our obligation to prepare forces for major contingencies and crisis, and our time at home,” Mullen stated.

The Navy will achieve this by maximizing operational commands’ ability to deploy, providing flexibility to combatant commanders as well as aligning the Navy’s deployment terminology and deployment policy with the Marine Corps, Army and Air Force as much as possible while accounting for all of the Navy’s deployed time.

“We have carefully considered the potential for personnel impacts during this review,” stated Mullen. “As such, we will manage the deployment throttle on our forces so our Sailors and their families are not subjected to a routinely excessive tempo of operations.”

Sailors and their families need to understand the changes to the Personnel Tempo (PERSTEMPO) policy in order to understand the new schedules.

According to Mullen’s message if a unit is expected to deploy more than once between maintenance phases, the maximum planned deployment length will be six months. If only one deployment is planned between maintenance periods, then the maximum planned deployment length will be seven months.

“We will endeavor to schedule a six-month maximum deployment length to the extent possible,” Mullen wrote.

The aligning of terms with the rest of the armed forces includes changes to terms like turn-around-ratio, which was adjusted to the joint term of “Dwell.”

Dwell is the ratio of the number of days a unit spends between deployments and the length of the last deployment in an operational cycle. The intention is to maintain Dwell ratios at greater than or equal to 1:1 between maintenance periods.

“While this is a change...", continued Mullen, “some in the fleet have been operating under this policy in a de facto sense throughout the global war on terrorism. Additionally, this change aligns Navy limits with those of the other services.”

Another of the changes for Sailors is the elimination of the 56-day minimum for deployments.

According to Mullen’s message, “Any time spent on deployment will be counted as deployed time, even if only for one day.”

These changes will improve the Navy’s availability in the war and for major contingencies. At the same time, it will preserve the traditional 50 percent time-in-homeport standard, better account for deployed time, and provide the most predictability possible for deployment and operating schedules.

“We must always be prepared to respond as the strategic environment demands, as we have done recently to support sending a second carrier strike group to USCENTCOM,” Mullen continued. “This approach will do much for our ability to defend the nation, deter and dissuade our adversaries, reassure our partners and friends, and when called, to fight and win the nation's wars. It is why the nation has a navy. Your contribution is critical to this effort and I thank you for your professionalism, leadership, and mission focus.”

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