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What do all these new deployment terms mean?

I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and prosperous 2007.

I have been out and about in the Fleet since the beginning of the New Year meeting many of you and as I have said many times over, you continue to amaze me with your enthusiasm, dedication and willingness to complete any and every mission.

I want to take this time to talk to you about the Navy’s new focus on the deployability and employability of our assets as well as other terms used like “dwell,” “Fleet Response Plan (FRP),” and “Homeport Tempo.”

You may have already begun to hear these terms used, and it is important you understand these terms and understand what is behind the changes in how we deploy the Navy—and you.

In order to help you understand these new terms and the new operational focus, I want to take a look back a couple of months. In the last few months, the Navy has been reviewing the deployabilty and employability of its forces to find out how we could increase operational availability while still preserving overall readiness and quality of service for you and your families. 

As a result, we revisited deployment policies, revised some definitions—as you saw above—and signed a new instruction. These changes complement the FRP by limiting deployment lengths and by providing you and your family more stability in your planning.

Before we dig deeper into further details of the new instruction, let’s stop and look at what some of these terms mean.

First, deployability and employability describe a window of operational availability open to task units outside scheduled maintenance and training periods required to maintain unit readiness. Employment, also known as the FRP cycle, is the time from the end of one maintenance phase to the end of the next maintenance phase.

Our nation is at war, and you and your families have proven that you understand this means the nation depends on the capability of naval forces to provide forward operational presence. You remain committed to carrying out the Navy’s—and the nation’s—mission.

In relation to deployability and employability, Homeport Tempo is the percentage of time a unit is in homeport or on station from the end of a maintenance phase to the end of the next maintenance phase. 

Keep in mind that all deployable elements have a maintenance period, but these maintenance periods vary in length and loss of operational capability. For example, ships experience a total loss in availability when they are required to be pier side or in drydock.

Other units, like air wings or detachments assigned to the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, do not lose full capability. These units can still be employed to their level of current capability.

Lastly, dwell is the ratio of the number of days a unit spends on its last deployment to the number of days the unit spends in homeport, on station, or in local waters between deployments.

This term replaces the Navy’s term, “turn-around ratio.” This change, as well as other terminology changes, aligns our verbiage and our deployment policy with our Marine Corps, Army and Air Force counterparts to the extent possible.

What does all this mean to you? 

If your ship deploys on a routine deployment, goes for six months and comes home, you should, per the “dwell” time, remain in your home operating area for six months before the ship will deploy again to any other geographic command.

Think of dwell time as your time at home. Prior to the Navy’s new focus, the ship that had most recently returned from a deployment was considered the ready ship, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice as it was the one geared up and set to go.  Per the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), this is no longer the case.

In a recent message (NAVADM 051/07), the CNO, Adm. Mike Mullen, wrote that “we are deliberately taking action to strike the right balance between our need to provide rotational forward forces, our obligation to prepare forces for major contingencies and crisis, and our time at home.”

His plan is to maximize our ability to deploy, provide flexibility to our COCOMs, align our terminology with the other services, and account for all of your deployed time. Although this is a new Navy policy, not all units will be affected by the changes.

We have taken the oath to support and defend our nation as part of the country’s warfighting, seagoing service. You and your families’ contributions and sacrifices are valued by the leadership and the American public.

This new focus will help us take care of you, the lifeblood and heart of the Navy. 

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