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Army Tours of Duty Expected to Drop to 9 Months

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Defense officials confirm that the U.S. Army will announce Friday that its troops will no longer be serving year-long combat deployments as they move towards nine-month tours of duty.

The Army has been studying the change for some time and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey had advocated the change when he was the commander of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command. The timeline for implementing the change is unclear.

The announcement should ease the stress of soldiers who've had to endure the longest combat deployments among the military services. At one point, during the surge in Iraq in 2007, Army units were serving 15-month deployments.

Marines serve seven-month combat tours and have seven months off between their next deployments. For sailors, ship deployments last a minimum of six months and some serve nine-month deployments depending on ship rotation schedules. Air Force personnel serve a minimum six-month deployment.

Currently, Army soldiers are supposed to get at least two years off in between overseas combat deployments, what's known as "dwell time." In a June interview with the Army Times, former Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said the Army was looking at increasing dwell times to three years, but that it might take until 2014 for such a change to be fully implemented.

It’s unclear if there will be a dwell time announcement Friday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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