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Deployments become more predictable with tempo bands

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Candice Allen
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force Reserve Command is changing its Air and Space Expeditionary Force process, giving greater deployment predictability to Reservists. This concept, in place in October, changes how specific Air Force Specialty Codes deploy due to the high demand from the combatant commanders beginning in October. 

"We still have an AEF cycle," said Senior Master Sgt. Margaret Anderson, superintendent of the logistics readiness office, 446th Logistics Readiness Flight. "The 446th Airlift Wing could see mobilizations during our AEF cycle if it becomes necessary to help support active-duty shortages in particular AFSCs." 

"Once you have been mobilized for McChord's AEF cycle, they cannot touch you again for mobilization until the required rest time has lapsed," said Sergeant Anderson.
Rest time will be dependent on which tempo a Reservist is assigned. 

Tempo band A 

Under tempo band A, deployments will stay at 120 days and Reservists will have 16 months off before being involuntarily mobilized again.
"Most Citizen Airmen will go into tempo band A, which is considered normal operations," said Dan Powell, deputy chief for expeditionary combat support at AFRC. "Airmen assigned to this band can expect to see little to no change in how they deploy." 

AFSCs will remain under tempo band A unless mobilized. If mobilized during the wing's AEF cycle, Reservists will be placed into one of two tempo bands - M or N. 

Deployments within Tempo bands M and N 

Under tempo bands M and N, Airmen in critical AFSCs may operate in either 1:1 or 1:2 dwell periods. A "dwell" defines how long the person will have down time before possibly deploying again. If the AFSC is connected to a 1:1 dwell period, they will deploy for six months, and stay home for six months. One potential functional area affected by the 1:1 dwell period is intelligence. Deployments are most likely 179 days. 

AFSCs operating in a 1:2 dwell period will deploy for six months then at home for 12 months. Deployments within the 1:2 ratio range from 120 to 179 days. Potential functional areas affected by the 1:2 dwell are the prime base engineer emergency force, civil engineer squadron's readiness, and logistics readiness officers. 

While in a dwell period, you are still in either tempos M or N to ensure you will have the correct time off under the new system. 

Tempo band M 

Tempo band M has a mobilization period of 1:5 dwell, which requires 45 months off before you're eligible to be mobilized again. 

"An entire career field is not intended to be moved into the mobilization bands," said Mr. Powell. "An example of this is the public affairs career field. As of May 2008, public affairs officers are being postured in tempo band M, while enlisted PA people remain in tempo band A." 

Tempo band N 

Tempo Band N has a mobilization of a 1:4 dwell period which means Reservists have 36 months of rest after mobilization before being eligible for mobilization again. 

Still Fluid 

With that said, before all potential posturing can take place, the active-duty Air Force must provide justification to the Secretary of the Air Force as to why specific AFSCs need to mobilized and placed in 1:1 or 1:2 dwell periods. 

AEF bands will be reviewed annually beginning in October for changes based on mission needs of combatant commanders. Once mission needs have been decided, functional areas will notify wings whether they are placed under 1:1 or 1:2 dwell periods. 

Air Force officials are currently identifying which AFSCs to place in specific tempo bands and notify them six months prior to provide Reservists with greater predictability. 

For more information, talk to your unit deployment manager or the 446th Logistics Readiness Flight. (Staff Sgt. Drew Nystrom, Air Force Reserve Command public affairs contributed to this story.)