USA Today reports that
More than half of some 770,000 soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military and nearly as many are unhappy in their jobs, despite a six-year, $287 million campaign to make troops more optimistic and resilient, findings obtained by USA TODAY show.
Twelve months of data through early 2015 show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as “I rarely count on good things happening to me.” Forty-eight percent have little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.
The results stem from resiliency assessments that soldiers are required to take every year. In 2014, for the first time, the Army pulled data from those assessments to help commanders gauge the psychological and physical health of their troops.
The effort produced startlingly negative results. In addition to low optimism and job satisfaction, more than half reported poor nutrition and sleep, and only 14% said they are eating right and getting enough rest.
The Army began a program of positive psychology in 2009 in the midst of two wars and as suicide and mental illness were on the rise. To measure resiliency the Army created a confidential, online questionnaire that all soldiers, including the National Guard and Reserve, must fill out once a year.
Last year, Army scientists applied formulas to gauge service-wide morale based on the assessments. The results demonstrate that positive psychology “has not had much impact in terms of overall health,” says David Rudd, president of the University of Memphis who served on a scientific panel critical of the resiliency program.
The Army offered contradictory responses to the findings obtained by USA TODAY. Sharyn Saunders, chief of the Army Resiliency Directorate that produced the data, initially disavowed the results. “I’ve sat and looked at your numbers for quite some time and our team can’t figure out how your numbers came about,” she said in an interview in March.
However, when USA TODAY provided her the supporting Army documents this week, her office acknowledged the data but said the formulas used to produce them were obsolete. “We stand by our previous responses,” it said in a statement.
Subsequent to USA TODAY’s inquiry, the Army calculated new findings but lowered the threshold for a score to be a positive result. As a consequence, for example, only 9% of 704,000 score poorly in optimism.
The Army said the effort to use the questionnaire results to gauge morale Army-wide is experimental. “We continue to refine our methodologies and threshold values to get the most accurate results possible,” it said in the statement.
The Army’s effort to use positive psychology to make soldiers more resilient has been controversial since its inception in 2009. A blue-ribbon panel of scientists from the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded last year that there is little or no evidence the program prevents mental illness. It argued there was no effort to test its efficacy before the Army embraced it . The panel cited research arguing that, in fact, the program could be harmful if it leaves soldiers with a false sense of resiliency.
The Army disputed the findings, pushing ahead with its positive psychology program that now costs more than $50 million a year. At least 2.45 million soldiers have taken a self-assessment test that is a crucial part of the resiliency training, and 28,000 GIs have been instructed on how to teach other soldiers the curriculum.
Back on November 12, 2007, then-Senator Barack Hussein Obama (D-IL) proclaimed,
I’ll be a President who ensures that America serves our men and women in uniform as well as they’ve served us, and that’s why I’m proud to have the support of these veterans advising me on the issues facing our troops and veterans.
After seven years of an Administration that has stretched our military to the breaking point, ignored deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals, and neglected the planning and preparation necessary to care for our returning heroes, America’s veterans deserve a President who will fight for them not just when it’s easy or convenient, but every hour of every day for the next four years.
An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.
Obama is our Armed Forces Commander in-Chief (unfortunately). The responsibility for everything that happens to the men and women serving in our armed forces, in which some part of our federal government is involved, both during and after their service, falls on his shoulders and his alone.
Through his treatment of our Heroes as “ancillary” servants to be used for social experimentation and budget cutting, when he wants to use their money to further his socialization of America, Obama has placed our Armed Forces in an untenable situation.
Distinguished American Veteran, Former United States Representative Lt. Col. Allen B. West wrote the following, concerning Obama’s treatment of our Armed Forces:
Barack Hussein Obama cannot be seen as a Commander-in-Chief and I will never refer to him that way. His fundamental transformation of America means weakening our nation and leaving our Republic less secure. I can just imagine how appreciative and elated his Muslim Brotherhood friends are at this point, to include Turkey’s President Erdogan, as well as the mad mullahs in Iran.
I remember my ex-brother-in-law, Dave. My late step-sister met him at the USO in Memphis during the Vietnam War. David was a Polish Catholic from outside of Detroit, a Navy guy who received his training in the computers of the day, while in service to our country. When he got out, they got married and moved to Dearborn (now Dearbornistan), Michigan, where he got a job with Burroughs. I remember Dave, because he was always good to me, even though I was just a runt kid, 15 years younger than him. I remember him cleaning his service rifle, sitting on the living room floor of our house, and, making sure it was empty, allowing me to to hold it. At the time,I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever done.
I also remember John. John was a friend of my sister’s, who stayed with us, because of problems at home. As I have related before, my folks were the ones whom all my sister’s friends would talk to when they had trouble at home. John was great guy, as well, who wound up enlisting and serving in that “crazy Asian War”, as Kenny Rogers and Mel Tillis once referred to it in song.
I have related before about my own Daddy and my Uncles, and their service in World War II. I have also had friends that served over the years, and one who is still serving in the Air National Guard.
All of these men were/are Patriots. They enlisted out of duty to God and Country.
Our Brightest and Best, who wear the uniform today, are no less dedicated. They deserve to be treated with respect, not as pawns in a game of political expediency, whose rules including social experimentation, political correctness, and blatant disrespect by the Commander-in-Chief..
The greatest American President in my lifetime, Ronald Reagan, once said,
Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.
Reagan was a realist. He realized that, as President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt once advised, the best way to keep America safe, is to “Speak softly and carry a big stick”.
Unfortunately for us, we are presently suffering through a president who speaks like a wuss and carries a feather pillow, a Mexican Flag, and a prayer rug.
Until He Comes,