How to Rethink the U.S. Military's Troop Deployment Policy by John Spencer, Politico
Baghdad Iraq 2008. I could see the resentment in the police chief’s eyes. He greeted me with subtle contempt. Don’t blame him. I was the eighth American commander he had met in the past five years.
Over the past 15 years, Iraqi and Afghan police, army, tribal and government leaders have had to build relationships with new military leaders every three, six, nine, or 12 months. Each new soldier comes in, introduces himself and says “I’m here to help.” The words are genuine but the frequent rotation of U.S. military personnel means the trust, rapport and progress are short-lived.
With his recent announcement that 8,400 soldiers will remain in Afghanistan in 2017 and further troop increases in Iraq, President Barack Obama is certain to leave a significant on-the-ground military presence in the Middle East. As a new president enters office and assesses the U.S.’s military strategy, it’s time to reevaluate our deployment schedule for U.S. soldiers. How is a military built around 12-month rotations able to retain knowledge about the local area and build relationships overseas?...