NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Fewer Troops and More Military Responsibilities = Stress

January 10, 2000

A report due out today warns that the "breathless pace of operations" combined with cuts in troop levels have left members of the armed services feeling overwhelmed and micromanaged. The Center for Strategic and International Studies concludes that the combination could endanger the military's effectiveness in a war.

  • The report says that cutting military personnel by one-third and expanding operations by 300 percent since the end of the Cold War "has created a profound stress on the armed forces."
  • The Internet has also contributed to a climate of impersonal "command by e-mail" -- which has undermined morale and readiness.
  • When the 12,000 service members polled were asked whether their unit had high morale, only 26 percent agreed or strongly agreed.
  • Many service members cited low pay, stress and unexpected deployments as contributing to a poor quality of life.

Many focus group participants complained that "service life was simply no longer fun."

The study recommends increasing pay and addressing issues such as housing to help halt recruiting and retention problems.

Source: Andrea Stone, "Study Cites Stress in Military," USA Today, January 10, 2000.


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