The Right Answer:

Lt. Gen. John Bradley, head of Air Force Reserve, doesn’t plan on using 15-day rotations, he said during a seminar in Washington, even though that is the max time available by law short of mobilization. The general explained that Air Force Reserve Components haven’t had to mobilize anyone “with one exception at the beginning of the Iraq War [when] we had an A-10 squadron mobilized for seven months in Iraq.” Bradley said that neither he nor Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley, head of the Air National Guard, can “order any of our people to work more than two weeks,” beyond mobilizing them. They haven’t had to resort to mobilization and avoid the 15-day rule because reservists have been volunteering—in most cases for 40-day tours and some for 120 days. “I think 40 is the right answer,” Bradley asserted. To cover the standard 120-day Air and Space Expeditionary Force time period, “we rotate our people in 40-day rotations,” he explained, adding that some reservists do volunteer for 120-day tours, but most can only manage 40 days away from their civilian careers.