The bill prohibits units and members of the reserves from being deployed if the unit or member has been deployed within three preceding years.
“This bill attempts to strike the correct balance,” said Congresswoman Kaptur, who serves on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. “We must take care not to allow our military forces to be stretched too thin. Constant redeployment takes a tremendous toll on our troops and their families and on the whole leaves our nation more vulnerable.”
Due to the nature of their assignments, special operations forces would be exempt from the requirements for rest and recuperation. The provisions also could be waived by the chief of the appropriate service branch if a solider voluntarily requests mobilization. The president could waive the limitation on deployment in the event of a national security emergency.
The legislation aims to help alleviate a significant military readiness gap. Due to the strains imposed by Iraq, an estimated 250,000 soldiers in the Army and Marine Corps have now served more than one tour in Iraq; each of the Army’s available active duty combat brigades has served at least a 12-month tour in Iraq or Afghanistan. Earlier this year, the Defense Secretary announced all active duty Army soldiers would have their tours in Iraq extended from 12 to 15 months.
The bill is supported by the Reserve Enlisted Association, the only Joint Reserve association representing enlisted reservists of all ranks from all five branches of the military.