Going Longer?

Is the Air Force planning to extend the average air expeditionary force rotation for airmen? If an account by Guy Raz with National Public Radio, is correct, service officials are “quietly considering” such a move. The current AEF tour is 120 days, increased from 90 days in late 2004. Earlier this year, Gen. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff, had questioned whether the service shouldn’t return to the 90-day tour because the longer 120 days required a bigger footprint. Now, Raz reports that some in the Army say the four-month rotation of airmen causes them transition problems. Then he quotes the current commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad AB, Iraq, Brig. Gen. Burt Field, as saying, “One of the things we’re going to have to look at is how long we’re going to be able to sustain this effort. And, what’s the right tour length in order to sustain this effort over time.” Of course that quote could point to shorter not longer tours. Stay tuned.