Rank Insignia - Enlisted

Rank Insignia - Warrant Officers

Rank Insignia - Officers

Military Benefits

Military Pay Chart

Military Scholarships

 


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
presidential candidates who are debating how to strengthen the armed forces.

''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
end of the cold war and the breakup of the Soviet Union, leading to cuts the report says were too deep.

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
technological changes and with the military's new ''nontraditional'' roles, like peacekeeping, drug interdiction and humanitarian missions.

''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.

Because members 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
stability were at the top of the list of concerns, the survey found.

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
nine weeks in the last few years,'' Mr. Bush said. ''Since the end of the cold war, our ground forces have been deployed more frequently, while our defense budget has fallen by nearly 40 percent.''

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
intervene overseas, most recently to prevent genocide in Rwanda.

''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.'

Back

WEBMASTERS: LINK TO US FROM YOUR SITE!
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Copyright NDMS 1999. All rights Reserved.

No government funds were used to create this web site nor does it constitute an endorsement of the U.S. Department of Defense or Department of Transportation, nor is NDMS a government funded organization.