Changing Tempo

The Air Force has revised the rotational baseline of the air and space expeditionary force, changing it from 120 to 179 days for active duty airmen. Back in May 2008, the Air Force introduced five rotational bands for the AEF—”A” through “E”—with each band defining how long an airmen would remain at home station and train following an overseas deployment. “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,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz in explaining the changes. As a result, airmen formerly in tempo band A will now reside in tempo band B. They will still have a 1:4 deploy-to-dwell time, but will now spend six months on call for deployment followed by 24 months at home, as opposed to the previous four-month/16-month cycle. Tweaking the baseline will provide a single battle rhythm for all airmen, regardless of functional area, according to Air Force Personnel Center officials. The only difference now between the tempo bands is the deploy-to-dwell time, ranging from 1:4 to 1:1. Combat Air Force units transition to the new baseline beginning this month, while expeditionary combat support airmen begin the transition in January. All deployments are expected to be six months by October 2012. (Randolph report by Jon Hanson)