Survey Finds 'Profound Stress' on Armed Forces
America's armed forces are stressed out, underpaid and worried about the military's ability to meet all of the new demands placed on it, according to a two-year private survey of military personnel to be released onMonday.
Commissioned by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the survey asked 12,000 members of the military about morale, leadership, readiness, quality of life and commitment to military values.
Their answers have
a familiar ring to Defense Department officials who have made improving
the quality of life for the military a priority, and to
''In taking the pulse of today's military this study found a profound stress on the armed forces,'' said the report, ''American Military Culture in the 21st Century.''
That stress is
rooted in the 300 percent increase in overseas deployments for a force
that has been cut by more than one-third over the last decade. The defense
budget was reduced early in the decade to reflect the
Last year the Defense
Department had its first real budget increase of the decade, including
a 4.8 percent pay increase for the military. But the report says there
are still not enough resources to keep up with
''It is a thoughtful study and it raises issues that we as a department are focused on day in and day out,'' said P. J. Crowley, a Pentagon spokesman.
''When you look back at the decade of the 90's, there is no question that we have undergone a dramatic shift in the way we operate,'' he said.
of the all-volunteer military are older on average and more than half
of them are married, often to spouses who work outside the home, the
questions of pay, housing, health benefits and family
Those worries translated into lower morale, said Joseph Collins, the project director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
''Just at a time when military members are needed at home more and more to share family responsibilities, they are being deployed more often,'' Mr. Collins said.
The study also found a concern about how the increasing emphasis on minimizing casualties was affecting the military.
''The entire military cultural ethic depends on self-sacrifice, so if you tell the military to go into harm's way but you can't take casualties, you've got a problem,'' Mr. Collins said.
Two pleasant surprises found in the survey were the strength of those military values in all services and all ranks, and the number of close friendships between members of the military and civilians.
Less welcome were results showing an uneven quality of leadership and questions about the necessity for all the overseas deployments.
The complaints contained in the study read alternately like a plea from the Defense Department for more money and like a campaign stump speech.
In a speech a few
months ago, Gov. George W. Bush of Texas, the front-runner for the Republican
nomination, sounded a similar note. ''Rarely has our military been so
freely used -- an average of one deployment every
Mr. Crowley, the
Pentagon spokesman, said that while there was no question of the increased
stress and strain of deployments on the military, the United States
has more often been criticized for refusing to
''It's one thing to say in the rhetoric of a campaign there are too many missions,'' he said. ''But then you ask which would you not have done; it becomes much harder.'
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