Army Seeks to Shorten Tours

As security improves, military leaders push to cut 15-month tours to 12 by summer
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2007 1:02 PM CST
Vermont Army National Guard Spc. Brian Jillson, right, holds his son, Kyle, as the 131st Engineer Company stands in formation after returning home Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007, in South Burlington, Vt., after...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With violence slowing in Iraq, many Army leaders want to drop the 15-month tours of duty imposed on soldiers earlier this year to sustain the surge, the AP reports. “We can’t sustain that,” says Army Chief of Staff George Casey, the former top commander in Iraq who is among generals seeking a return to 12 months by next summer.

That will only be possible if President Bush decides to keep withdrawing troops past pre-surge levels. Even then, commanders on the ground may want flexibility in reducing tours, deviating from the first-in, first-out policy. Casey notes that the US hasn’t used an all-volunteer army for such a large conflict since the Revolutionary War. “It’s a dicey game,” he says.