Gates said he asked, "The surge brigades are out. ... Why isn't it coming down? Well, because the op tempo in Afghanistan was going up at the same time."
He said that was one reason why he gave the Army "some time to plan this."
He cited a faster-than-expected Army expansion, strong retention numbers and the drawdown in Iraq as enabling factors that will allow the Army to stop using stop loss.
One of the ways the Army will continue to eliminate the need for stop loss in the future will be by offering financial incentives to soldiers nearing the end of their enlistment contracts.
The Army Reserve will stop using stop loss this coming August by mobilizing units that don't include stop-loss soldiers and the Army National Guard will do the same in September.
Beginning in January 2010, the active duty Army will start deploying units without stop loss soldiers.
Gates also announced that the military would begin to make $500 monthly payments to servicemen forced to stay under stop-loss. Though Congress approved $72 million for such payments last fall, the Defense Department had not announced a payment schedule for the funds until today.
Gates announced that the payments would be retroactive to Oct. 1, 2008.