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In the military, dwell time is the amount of time that service members spend in their home nation between deployments to war zones. Dwell time is designed to allow service members a mental and physical break from combat and to give them time with their families. It is an important component of long term military readiness.[1]


From the early days of the Global War on Terrorism until 2011, dwell time for American service members was reduced to a maximum of 12 months for most service members:[2] "Dwell time at home stations became nothing more than getting ready for the next deployment."[3] In October, 2011, the United States Department of Defense extended dwell time for U.S. soldiers to 24 months for every year deployed to a war zone.[4][5]


The psychological effects of dwell time have not been studied extensively, but MacGregor et al.'s 2012 study of over 65,000 service members found that longer periods at home between deployments reduced the incidence of post traumatic stress disorder.[6] Another study found that longer dwell times were associated with a reduced risk of suicide.[7]


  1. "Ensuring Appropriate Dwell Time and Rotational Cycles". United States Senate. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  2. Larson, Mark (June 29, 2011). "Dwelling on Dwell Time". New York Times. At War Blog. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  3. "Leader Engagement Key to ‘Bridging Basics,’ Battaglia Says". American Forces Press Service. Dec. 4, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  4. Tan, Michelle (4 September 2011). "Dwell time increases to 2 years next month". Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  5. Johnson, Samantha (July 25, 2012). "‘Dwell time’ for military to change". The Battalion. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  6. "Effect of Dwell Time on the Mental Health of US Military Personnel With Multiple Combat Tours". 2012. pp. A55-A59. 
  7. "When Warriors Hurt Themselves". 2 Sep 2010. pp. A34. 

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