Dwell time (military)

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In the military, dwell time is the amount of time that service members spend in their home station between deployments to war zones. It is used to calculate the deploy-to-dwell ratio. Dwell time is designed to allow service members a mental and physical break from combat and to give them time with their families. It is an important component of long term military readiness.[1]


From the early days of the Global War on Terrorism until 2011, dwell time for American service members was reduced to a maximum of 12 months for most service members:[2], increasing the deploy-to-dwell ratio to over 1:1 (15 months vs 12 months). "Dwell time at home stations became nothing more than getting ready for the next deployment."[3] In October, 2011, the United States Department of Defense extended dwell time for U.S. soldiers to 24 months for every year deployed to a war zone,[4][5] decreasing the deploy-to-dwell ratio to 1:2.


A 2012 study of over 65,000 service members found that longer periods at home between deployments reduced the incidence of post traumatic stress disorder.[6] Another study found that longer dwell times were associated with a reduced risk of suicide.[7]


  1. ^ "Ensuring Appropriate Dwell Time and Rotational Cycles". United States Senate. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  2. ^ Larson, Mark (June 29, 2011). "Dwelling on Dwell Time". New York Times. At War Blog. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Leader Engagement Key to 'Bridging Basics,' Battaglia Says" (Press release). American Forces Press Service. Dec 4, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  4. ^ Tan, Michelle (4 September 2011). "Dwell time increases to 2 years next month". Army Times. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  5. ^ Johnson, Samantha (July 25, 2012). "'Dwell time' for military to change". The Battalion. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  6. ^ MacGregor, Andrew J.; Peggy P. Han; Amber L. Dougherty & Michael R. Galarneau (2012). "Effect of Dwell Time on the Mental Health of US Military Personnel With Multiple Combat Tours". American Journal of Public Health. 102 (S1): A55–A59. doi:10.2105/ajph.2011.300341. PMC 3496457. PMID 22390601.
  7. ^ "When Warriors Hurt Themselves". New York Times. 2 Sep 2010. pp. A34.