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Research Questions

  1. How many soldiers has the Army provided to Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn? How does this demand for soldiers compare with the numbers of troops provided by the other services?
  2. Of the soldiers on active duty today, how many have deployed to OEF or OIF/OND, and for how long? How many have not yet deployed, and for what reasons?

In October 2008, Army leadership asked the RAND Arroyo Center to assess the demands placed upon the Army by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The resulting analysis (documented in Army Deployments to OIF and OEF, DB-587-A) found that the Army had provided over 1 million troop-years to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). In addition, most active-duty soldiers deploying to these operations were on their second or third tour.

This report serves as an update to the original documented briefing. The Army has now provided more than 1.5 million troop-years to OEF and OIF/Operation New Dawn. There have also been two noteworthy trends since the original study: From December 2008 to December 2011, the cumulative amount of time that a soldier has spent deployed has increased (on average) by 28 percent, and the fraction of active-duty soldiers who have not yet deployed has decreased, from 33 percent to 27 percent.

Key Findings

The Demands Placed Upon the Army by Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan

  • The Army has provided the bulk of U.S. troops to Iraq and Afghanistan: over 1.5 million troop-years as of December 2011, and 54 percent of all active component troop-year deployments within the area of operations.
  • Since 2008, the cumulative amount of time that a soldier has spent deployed has increased (on average) by 28 percent. In contrast, the percentage "not yet deployed" and the Army's unutilized capacity to deploy have both decreased.
  • As of December 2011, roughly 73 percent of active component soldiers had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, an increase of 6 percentage points since December 2008. Most of these soldiers were working on their second, third, or fourth year of cumulative deployed duty.
  • Most of the remaining 27 percent are not yet deployed, since they are recent recruits, are forward-stationed in other overseas locations, or have contributed to Operation Enduring Freedom and/or Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn without deploying.
  • The Army retains very little unutilized capacity to deploy additional active component soldiers without increasing the burden on those who have already deployed.

Research conducted by

This work was performed as a direct-support effort by RAND Arroyo Center to the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, and to the Army Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Office and conducted within the RAND Arroyo Center's Manpower and Training Program. RAND Arroyo Center, part of the RAND Corporation, is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the United States Army.

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