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Air Force increases deployment times

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz announced a change to the air and space expeditionary force rotational baseline from 120 to 179 days for the active component.

He said the revised construct will increase predictability and stability for affected airmen and their families, while providing better support to combatant commanders by increasing continuity at deployed locations.

“In the two years the Tempo Band construct has been in existence, the number of airmen deploying for 120 days has steadily decreased,” Schwartz said. “Since airmen in Tempo Band ‘A’ expected to deploy for 120 days but were frequently tasked for 179-day deployments, I saw no reason to maintain a 120-day baseline.”

Previously, the Air Force used five tempo bands, ranging from “A” through “E.” With the change, the Air Force will move Tempo Band “A” unit type codes and associated personnel to Tempo Band “B.” Incorporating a 1-to-4 deploy-to-dwell time, the change results in six months of deployed time for airmen and 24 months at home.

Revising the baseline also provides a single battle rhythm for all airmen, regardless of functional area. The difference between the remaining tempo bands is the deploy-to-dwell time, ranging from 1-to-4 to 1-to-1.

Because of the complexity of changing the baseline, officials said it will take until October 2012 before all deployments are six months.

Expeditionary combat support airmen will begin the transition in January 2011, with a five-month deployment. Remaining deployment vulnerability periods will vary between five and six months.

Combat Air Force units transition to the new baseline beginning this month. They previously were in an “enabler” category at a 1-to-3 deploy-to-dwell time. Those units will move to Tempo Band “C,” remaining at a 1-to-3 deploy-to-dwell time, but will see an increase from 12 to 18 months at home station between deployments.

“Ultimately, this is good for the Air Force mission, our airmen and their families,” said Col. James Horton, the director of AEF and personnel operations at the Air Force Personnel Center. “While the deployment time is longer, it also means the downtime is longer.

“This change is meant to reflect a more realistic and consistent deployment outlook,” he said. “By better managing our wartime operations tempo means we can provide our Airmen and their families the greatest level of stability and predictability.”

For more information, visit the AFPC personnel services website at, and search keyword “deployments,” or call the Total Force Service Center at 800-525-0102.

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