Math vs. Morale?

Speaking with airmen at Kirtland AFB, N.M., Wednesday, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace acknowledged that one of the questions he gets most often when he visits deployed troops has to do with tour-length differences from service to service. Pace says it is “the biggest morale factor” he has confronted on his travels, saying it may “compute math-wise” but not necessarily “in people’s minds and hearts.” (It’s a difference that has bothered Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, too, but so far he has been willing to accept the wisdom of his service chiefs—in this case—that each service has different requirements.) Pace noted that the Joint Chiefs have studied the situation and will continue to do so. “Just because an assumption is true today, doesn’t mean it will be so tomorrow,” he said. Of course, even within the Air Force, different specialties face different deployment lengths—it’s not a one-size fits all.