Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bad leadership or bad recruits?

As Wounded Times pointed out many times over the years, the number of military suicides has gone up even when the number of enlisted went down. This article mentions the branches cutting numbers.

It seems as if the leadership in the military is constantly trying to blame the recruits for all of it. The suicides, the attempted suicides and now misconduct. All of us know they have also discharged thousands under personality disorders. Is this really all about bad recruits, all undergoing mental health exams and background checks, or is it more about leadership failing those who want to risk their lives to serve?
Misconduct forcing more soldiers out of Army
Newly obtained data show the number of officers and enlisted personnel who’ve left the Army due to misconduct has soared in recent years, a sign of big changes since the Iraq war and the peak of U.S. fighting in Afghanistan.
The Associated Press
February 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — The number of U.S. soldiers forced out of the Army because of crimes or misconduct has soared in the past several years as the military emerges from more than 10 years of war that put a greater focus on battle competence than on character.

Data obtained by The Associated Press show that the number of officers who left the Army due to misconduct more than tripled in the past three years. The number of enlisted soldiers forced out for drugs, alcohol, crimes and other misconduct shot up from about 5,600 in 2007, as the Iraq war peaked, to more than 11,000 last year.

The data reveal stark differences among the military services and underscore the strains that long, repeated deployments to the front lines have had on the Army’s soldiers and their leaders.

It’s also a reflection of the Army’s rapid growth in the middle the last decade, and the decisions to relax standards to bring in and retain tens of thousands of soldiers to fill the ranks as the Pentagon added troops in Iraq and continued the fight in Afghanistan.
read more here

Army suicides 2012 351
Army suicides 2013 296
Only 55 less but they discharged 11,000

Less Sailors
The Navy went through a similar process. When the decision was made to cut the size of the 370,000-strong naval force in 2004, the number of sailors who left due to misconduct and other behavior issues grew. In 2006, more than 8,400 sailors left due to conduct issues.

As the size of the Navy began to stabilize — it’s now at about 323,000 — the number of problem sailors leaving also began to decline steadily, dropping each successive year to a new low of about 3,700 in 2013. In nearly one-third of the cases each year over that period, the problems involved drug and alcohol use. More than 1,400 cases each year involved a “serious offense” or civil or criminal court case.

Navy 59-46=7 suicides

Less Airmen
The Air Force, which is smaller than the Navy and Army, reported far fewer cases of airmen leaving for misconduct, both for officers and enlisted service members. The number of officers separated from service since 2000 due to a court-martial ranged from a low of 20 in 2001 to a high of 68 in 2007. For enlisted airmen, the number ranged from a high of nearly 4,500 in 2002 to a low of almost 2,900 in 2013.

Air Force 59-55=4 Air Force suicides

Less Marines
Data for the Marine Corps, the military’s smallest service, were not broken out by officers and enlisted personnel. Overall, it showed that Marines leaving the service due to misconduct was about 4,400 in 2007, but has declined to a bit more than 3,000 last year. Those forced to leave for commission “of a serious offense” has nearly doubled from about 260 to more than 500 in the past seven years. The number of Marines who left after court-martial has dropped from more than 1,300 in 2007 to about 250 last year. The Marine Corps also grew in size during the peak war years, and is reducing its ranks.

Marines 48-45=3 suicides
read the rest of the report on military suicides here

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