The Joint Chiefs of Staff have been considering just how long deployments should be for active duty members. Right now, each service employs different approaches. And, that has bothered Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In his view, they should be the same. Speaking to troops in Iraq in December, Rumsfeld ruminated that he has listened to the Joint Chiefs’ “explanations three or four times and I still don’t understand” why there are different tour lengths for the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. He went on: “When I listen to something three or four times and I still don’t understand, it makes me wonder if the people explaining it understand.” The four Chiefs actually examined the policies over a two-year period. The consensus, per USMC Gen. Peter Pace, JCS Chairman, is that the different time lines do make sense. Just in case, though, he added, “That doesn’t mean we won’t keep looking at the situation.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.