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What is Deployment?

Military deployment is the movement of armed forces. Deployment includes any movement from a military Service Member’s home station to somewhere outside the continental U.S. and its territories. One example would be when a unit based in the U.S. is deployed to another country to enter into a combat zone. Deployment is not restricted to combat; units can be deployed for other reasons such as humanitarian aid, evacuation of U.S. citizens, restoration of peace, or increased security.

Mobilization is when an individual or unit is sent somewhere within the continental U.S. or its territories. For example, a unit may have been mobilized to assist during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to a location in Louisiana from their base in Illinois. Mobilizations count as deployments under the USERRA Act.

Deployments can last from 90 days to 15 months. With the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, multiple deployments became more common than in past conflicts.

For more information specific to deployment and returning from deployment, please see our other handouts Challenges During Deployment and Common Challenges During Re-adjustment to Civilian Life.