Soldiers’ six-month tour in Afghan may change to 9 months

#1
Soldiers’ six-month tour in Afghanistan under the military’s microscope
Matthew Fisher, Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, March 21, 2008

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Nothing has been more sacrosanct in the Canadian Armed Forces than foreign tours of duty of six months with about three weeks of holiday somewhere in the middle.

It was a policy crafted for a much gentler time when peacekeeping tours could be planned years in advance for places such as Cyprus and the Golan Heights and not for a dynamic counter-insurgency such as the one now faced by Canadian troops fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Kandahar.

There are serious questions about how six month tours can continue when, not even halfway through Canada's combat commitment in Kandahar -- which Parliament overwhelmingly has decided will now last well into 2011 -- commanders are having an increasingly difficult time mustering troops.
More on the link
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=391343
 
#2
Skynet said:
Soldiers’ six-month tour in Afghanistan under the military’s microscope
Matthew Fisher, Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, March 21, 2008

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Nothing has been more sacrosanct in the Canadian Armed Forces than foreign tours of duty of six months with about three weeks of holiday somewhere in the middle.

It was a policy crafted for a much gentler time when peacekeeping tours could be planned years in advance for places such as Cyprus and the Golan Heights and not for a dynamic counter-insurgency such as the one now faced by Canadian troops fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Kandahar.

There are serious questions about how six month tours can continue when, not even halfway through Canada's combat commitment in Kandahar -- which Parliament overwhelmingly has decided will now last well into 2011 -- commanders are having an increasingly difficult time mustering troops.
More on the link
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=391343
Always felt sorry for the yanks having to spend a year on tour.
Always hated the crabs for spending only 3 months on tour.

I think us and the Canadians have got it right at about 6 months per tour. Dunno if I'd want to spend much longer than that on tour.
 
#3
feck that!!! ill tell you all now, if the British Army decided that we were gonna do 9 months instead of 6 it would all go pete tong, we can barely manage sending lads for 6 months without people signing off left right and centre....infact after 14 years service if they announced we were gonna start that shoite id be leaving aswell.
 
#4
Personally would ****ing hate to be doing 9 month tours, however it does make sense when you think about it though. At the minute, and please bear in mind I work in a Corps, current rotations mean blokes are doing 6/7 month tours followed by 18 months at home. 12 of these months are taken up with things such as carrer courses and AT. The next 6 months will involve intensive build up training, i.e. away from home on exercise or course etc, followed by a repeat of this cycle. This equates to a great deal of time away from the unit and in the case of pads, family.

If we start doing 9 month tours the same rotation would give blokes 24 or even 30 months at home/training before the next tour.
 
#5
ah945 said:
....

If we start doing 9 month tours the same rotation would give blokes 24 or even 30 months at home/training before the next tour.
Or three months less at home... don't put it past them. :x
 
#6
Think of the reserves trying to get 9 month tour, plus 3 Month OPTAG past their employers.

Good effort the MOD, bunch of cunts.
 
#7
9 months would suck!

I got back from Telic to my normal place of work and had the feeling I had started a new job! The changes!!!!!!!

Tours are like a time portal! Your life stops for however long you are away and it can be tricky trying to pick up the pieces on your return! 2 wks R n R should be extended if anything needs extending!!!

Bring back National Service and then we would have plenty of BODS to send out there and increase the time between tours! Win win situation!
 
#8
I would think the MOD are thinking about this option very seriously in order to try and balance the rotations. I doubt though they will bring it in until they have a big enough take up with the new commitment bonuses!
 
#9
Praetorian said:
Think of the reserves trying to get 9 month tour, plus 3 Month OPTAG past their employers.

Good effort the MOD, bunch of cunts.
Don't the TA get mobilised for 12 months anyway?
 
#10
Crap idea. The additional strain on already strained individuals and their relationships would mean significant increases in PTSD, broken marriages and so on and inevitably lead to increased retention problems.

With the Army the way it is now, 9 month tours could very well be the straw that breaks the camels back.

Correct response to the problem - increase the size of the Armed forces.
This will cost money. Alternative solution - reduce commitments.
 
#12
Maybe if they ask for volunteers from the RLC/REME/AGC to do 9 months (away from the front line) They will probably fill the vacancies no problem, Doing 9 months frontline for the teeth arms will probably lead to massive rise in PTSD.
 
#13
AIUI the topic has been looked at in the past as part of routine checks of the deployment system, the answer has always been (and I understand will always be) that 9 month tours don´t work and shouldnt happen. Please dont work yourself up over something that no one is planning to introduce.
 
#14
US Army troops regularly do 12 months but, in compensation, they have significantly better food and welfare facilities whilst on operations and far better funding and facilities for families welfare back home. They also have far more significant financial rewards for deployments. (Despite all of which, they also have a massive recruiting and retention issue)

US Marines do shorter tours but this is tied in to their ship rotation cycles.
 
#15
Dog-faced-soldier said:
Crap idea. The additional strain on already strained individuals and their relationships would mean significant increases in PTSD, broken marriages and so on and inevitably lead to increased retention problems.

With the Army the way it is now, 9 month tours could very well be the straw that breaks the camels back.

Correct response to the problem - increase the size of the Armed forces.
This will cost money. Alternative solution - reduce commitments.
spot on.

Another good idea would be to stop civialinising all the posts. That way the lads who are approaching or experiencing "tour burn out" can have a rest without having to leave the Armed Forces.
 
#16
Mitigating the fact that we are fighting two wars on two fronts using a peace time army funded by a peace time budget with an extension of our tours is no answer.

But, if you know you are only in until the next election, it probably makes sense to our scum politicians to ruin it before the next lot get in!
 
#17
Actually, a 9-month tour was pretty much the standard back in the 60`s - and at that time Separation Allowance was a benefit still waiting to be thought of! I still have very distinct memories of wives who, for various reasons, had to stay in Osnatraz while their hubbies went away for 9 months to places like Aden, the Gulf States, Cyprus, Borneo and wherever.

Sure, there was a break in the middle of it, but that didn`t make it any easier! Plus, those deployments were in general not as `hot´ - in the shooting sense - as the ones being done these days.

But even then, the headshed was coming to the conclusion that tours, and especially unaccompanied tours, of that length were not conducive to having a unit full of happy soldiers - or an efficient unit, if the individual being deployed had a key role. Throughout the Seventies and into the Eighties these tours were gradually shortened to 4 - 6 months.

And now they brains-that-be (speaking figuratively) are thinking of reintroducing 9-month tours. I accept that the bods who made the changes back then are now all either retired or croaked, but surely the files/documents are still around for reference purposes? Truly, no one learns anything from history!
 
#18
A_Brace_of_Buns said:
Actually, a 9-month tour was pretty much the standard back in the 60`s - and at that time Separation Allowance was a benefit still waiting to be thought of! I still have very distinct memories of wives who, for various reasons, had to stay in Osnatraz while their hubbies went away for 9 months to places like Aden, the Gulf States, Cyprus, Borneo and wherever.

Sure, there was a break in the middle of it, but that didn`t make it any easier! Plus, those deployments were in general not as `hot´ - in the shooting sense - as the ones being done these days.

But even then, the headshed was coming to the conclusion that tours, and especially unaccompanied tours, of that length were not conducive to having a unit full of happy soldiers - or an efficient unit, if the individual being deployed had a key role. Throughout the Seventies and into the Eighties these tours were gradually shortened to 4 - 6 months.

And now they brains-that-be (speaking figuratively) are thinking of reintroducing 9-month tours. I accept that the bods who made the changes back then are now all either retired or croaked, but surely the files/documents are still around for reference purposes? Truly, no one learns anything from history!
Careful there! I think the boys who served in Aden, Borneo and Malaysia might disagree on the degree of "hotness" in theatre. Even Cyprus wasn't a bed of roses with EOKA just around every corner! :D

I would be against 9 month tours although I can see the Canadian's problem - and I haven't heard any rumours.

Litotes
 
#20
I am in favour of longer tours. The shortest tour I have done was 6 months in TELIC. 8 months in Falklands and 10 months on Herrick and residential tours in N. Ireland have been my experience.

When fighting counter-insurgency longer tours make a lot of sense. You establish links and then develop relationships with the locals. In Afghanistan I was the point of continuity for the Afghans with 3 brigade HQs coming or going while I was there, you have no idea how frustrating the Afghans found it! From my perspective the NATO effort lacked structure and cohesion due to the rapid turnaround of forces. The entire situation seemed to mark time instead of progress and the Afghans found themselves continually re-instructing the NATO forces in how to do business in Afghanistan, Afghan capabilities and Afghan politics. 6 month tours were predicated on N. Ireland where it was (culturally and linguistically) much easier to understand what was going on. They were then adopted to the Balkans because it was convenient to do so (less impact on the operational commitments plot). The issue now is that we are fighting a different type of enemy in differing theatres and 6 month tours are just not optimal.

Naturally if extending tours we need to look at the whole picture. The US troops generally run a lower tempo of operations and manage their troops better in theatre, rotating in and out of the line while in theatre. They also pay much greater attention to the families at home.

The issue may well be do we want to continue running 6 month tours for the next 15 years in Herrick, or run 9-12 month tours and be able to pull out in 10 or less years?

Personally I would rather get the job done properly then bodge it. That said a bodge solution could be in developing continuity posts that see people in theatre for 2 years, both in the HQs and in the OMLTs.
 

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