The Defense Department has unveiled a program that will reward administrative leave to servicemembers whose service in combat does not meet the department's goal for the time at home-station between deployments.
Under the new policy, active-duty servicemembers who are deployed for more than 12 months in a 36-month period will earn one day of administrative absence for each month beyond 12. If servicemembers are deployed for more than 18 months in a 36-month period, they will earn two days of administrative absence a month. Past 24 months, they will earn four days a month.
Members of the reserve components will earn one day of administrative absence a month for every month beyond 12 they are mobilized in a 72-month period. Members of the reserve components will also earn two days a month if they are mobilized past 18 months in a 72-month period, and four days a month if they are mobilized past 24 months in the same period.
Administrative absences are days off authorized by the commander, and are separate from normal leave accrued by a servicemember.
The policy is retroactive to Jan. 19, so any servicemember who was deployed or involuntarily mobilized from that day forward, whose service exceeds the time frame in the policy, will earn the days off. Also, troops who were deployed within the last three years, and are deployed now, will earn administrative leave for their current deployment.
DOD has had a policy since 2004 that pays servicemembers who are extended in theater beyond 12 months $1,000 a month. That policy is still in effect, and applies to Army personnel who now have to serve 15-month tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The new policy is meant to deal with frequency of deployments, rather than the length of each deployment. The administrative leave servicemembers earn under this policy will stay with them through their military career and can be used anytime, with commander approval.