Phases of Deployment

Do you know the phases of deployment? Knowing what to expect is the first step to ensuring readiness and resiliency! Whether you’ve been through multiple deployments or you’re about to deploy for the first time, understanding the deployment cycle and attending its corresponding events is an easy way to guarantee you’re in the loop on all the services available to you and your Family and ensure your smooth transition through each phase. Starting with pre-deployment and ending with reintegration, the graphic below shows how each phase connects to form a sequence.

Deployment for active servicemembers and National Guard and Reserve members, as well as Individual Augmentee (IA) deployment, follows these cycles:

1. The Active Duty Deployment Cycle

Pre-deployment phase
When not deployed, servicemembers and their units undergo traditional training to prepare for the conduct of military duties. During this phase, servicemembers go through normal training and medical evaluations that maintain their personal and unit readiness level. From the family point of view, this phase is "normal life," as the servicemember is at home and going to work on a regular basis. Near the end of this phase, the unit will be alerted for possible deployment and will receive orders to mobilize. Upon receiving a mobilization alert, preparation for deployment begins, including required briefings, additional training, medical and dental evaluations, and possibly counseling to ensure that service members are ready and able to be deployed. The pre-deployment phase ends when service members or their units physically leave the home installation for the theater of operations.

Deployment phase
The deployment phase of the cycle begins with the physical movement of individuals and units from their home installation to the designated theater of operations. This phase of the deployment cycle can be a stressful time for servicemembers and their families as they face the realities of a deployment and what that means for them. The remainder of the deployment phase primarily involves the performance of military duties in support of the mission either in the theater of operations (overseas) or within the United States. Near the end of the deployment phase, the unit will begin preparations for its return to the home installation, culminating with the unit’s redeployment home.

Post-deployment phase
Servicemembers return to their home installation, and prepare to "reintegrate" into normal life, with individual branches of service offering additional briefings, training, medical evaluations, and counseling to assist. In the post-deployment phase, active duty service members will be ready to return to their normal jobs on the installation.

Reintegration phase
This phase includes reintegration into family life and the community, as well as reintegration into regular military duties. Units may require servicemembers to complete follow-on briefings, training, counseling, and medical evaluations during this phase. Servicemembers and their families may experience some stress during this phase, as everyone readjusts to life together. Many support services are available for service members and their families to make this readjustment easier, either through the branches of Service or through the community.

2. The Reserve / Guard Deployment Cycle

This phase is similar to the active duty pre-deployment phase in that the servicemember is living a "normal life," and undergoing regularly scheduled training and medical evaluations that maintain their personal and unit readiness level. When servicemembers receive a mobilization alert they will be given briefings, additional training and medical evaluations in preparation; the pre-deployment phase ends when servicemembers or their units physically leave the home installation for the theater of operations.

Deployment, Post-deployment and Reintegration Phases

Same as active duty deployment phases (see above).

3. Individual Augmentee Deployment

Individual augmentee (IA) deployment occurs when a servicemember receives orders to deploy individually or with a small group to augment a different unit. This type of deployment is different from deployments that occur when an entire unit, squadron, or ship is ordered to deploy. An IA can be an active duty, a National Guard, or a Reserve service member, and can either volunteer for IA service or be selected for it. usually IAs are Navy and Air Force service members that augment an Army or Marine Corps unit. Deploying IA Sailors and Airmen usually require additional training and can be ordered to tours longer in length than a traditional deployment.

When called for an IA deployment, service members usually have shorter notification times, lack specific information concerning their deployment, and are often deployed to areas that present communication challenges.


Please go to the Frequently Asked Question Section for more information on deployment.