13, 2006: The U.S. Department of Defense keeps close tabs on what the troops
think, and one of the big concerns currently is "dwell time." That's the amount
of time troops are at their home bases. Ideally, the troops should be home
two-thirds of the time, and should spendĀ at least twelve consecutive
months home before another deployment overseas (or even another training area).
One solution under serious consideration is bonus payments for time spent away
from home, in excess of the "2:1" and "12 Consecutive Months" guidelines. These
payments would be in the same spirit as combat and hazardous duty pay, which
have been popular and effective. But to work, such payments would have to be
high enough, and infrequent enough, to improve morale, and not just be a
reminder of how often you are being sent overseas. Then again, there are always
troops who want extra overseas duty, partly because they like the action, and partly
because of the extra pay already offered.