As the situation in Iraq becomes quieter, American military leaders are pondering their options regarding the future. Should troops be withdrawn who were sent during the surge? As their term of deployment winds down to an end, where will replacements come from? If present levels of troops are maintained in Iraq it will most probably require activating additional National Guard units and Reserve forces. There is considerable discussion as to whether a pause should be instituted, decisions which involve– tour length, th number of troops required, and the mix of National Guard, active duty and reservists who will constitute the force in the field.
Army units still serve 15 month tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is there a point at which maintaining existing forces in the Middle East creates serious problems about the morale both of those serving and family members at home?