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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO commented on the Army's past and present use of force rotations to determine the feasibility of this approach to reducing permanently stationed forces overseas. GAO noted that: (1) key drawbacks of past force rotation programs were the higher cost of rotations versus permanent stationing of troops, reduced combat readiness due to rotations, increased personal and family problems for soldiers rotated without their families, and inadequate internal U.S. force structure to support overseas rotations; (2) past cost comparisons have not covered all relevant cost factors and considered a full range of rotation options; (3) some decline in readiness routinely occurs whenever units prepare for rotation; (4) past studies have not examined what actions other services may have taken to overcome the problems of family separation; and (5) the Army made its assessment that its force structure could not sustain force rotation prior to recent reduction actions and did not consider alternatives to a full rotation of forces.

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