Category Archives: Military

Obama’s America: Army morale is low, job satisfaction low, and more than half have poor nutrition and sleep

tired soldier

USA Today: 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.

army morale

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 program, and 28,000 GIs have been instructed on how to teach other soldiers the curriculum.

“The Army funds this program because the Army values the lives of soldiers and wants to instill skills and competencies that will enhance their connections, relationships and ability to mitigate stressors and exercise help seeking behaviors through their life,” says an Army statement released last month.

But the internal data obtained by USA TODAY shows most soldiers today trending in the wrong direction. Two-thirds were borderline or worse for an area called “catastrophic thinking,” where poor scores mean the soldier has trouble adapting to change or dwells on the worst possible things happening.

Other results:

  • Forty-eight percent or about 370,000 soldiers showed a lack of commitment to their job or would have chosen another if they had it to do over again. Only 28% felt good about what they do.
  • About 300,000 soldiers or nearly 40% didn’t trust their immediate supervisor or fellow soldiers in their unit or didn’t feel respected or valued. Thirty-two percent felt good about ab bosses and peers.
  • In one positive trend, more than 400,000 soldiers or 53% said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their marriage, personal relationship or family. About 240,000 expressed dissatisfaction.
  • For physical fitness, nearly 40% were in good shape, 28% were borderline, and 33% did poorly.

Retired vice admiral Norb Ryan, head of the Military Officers Association of America, and Joyce Raezer, executive of the National Military Family Association, said the results are not surprising. Fourteen years of war and recent decisions to downsize or cut funding for the military have left morale low, they said.

A recent survey by the Military Times and a Navy Retention Study also show troops increasingly unhappy.

Saunders defended the Army resiliency program, known officially as Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, as an effort that has resonated with soldiers.” When we talk to soldiers, soldiers tell us about the life changes they’ve had,” she says.

Morale is low? Shocker, not.

Hillary Clinton what difference does it make

See also:

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DCG

Soldiers Were Lectured On ‘White Privilege’ At Equal Opportunity Briefing

white privilege

Daily Caller: A diversity training session for the Army turned into a lecture on “white privilege” Thursday.

The Equal Opportunity briefing, which was presented to approximately 400 soldiers in the 67th Signal Battalion in Fort Gordon, Ga., garnered attention after a photograph of a PowerPoint slide of the presentation was posted on Facebook.

The slide, titled, “the luxury of obliviousness,” states, “[R]ace privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them.” It adds, quoting, “To be white in American [sic] means not having to think about it.”

The quote appears to be from James Baldwin, as referenced in sociologist Allan G. Johnson’s book, “Privilege, Power, and Difference.” The popular book teaches readers how to examine the implications of their privilege.

Cpt. Lindsay Roman, a spokesperson for the Army, told USA Today the presentation material was not authorized and not part of the standard presentation. The Equal Opportunity instructor, instead, chose to incorporate the topic of white privilege into the presentation.

On Facebook, people expressed outrage over the inclusion of the topic of white privilege. Some individuals even joked that they would file an Equal Opportunity complaint against the Equal Opportunity course, pointing out hypocrisy of singling out white people.

As a result of this situation, Roman said, “To prevent further instances, all unit instructors will receive additional training on the importance of following Army EO training requirements.”

This is not the first time a discussion of white privilege has made its way into Equal Opportunity material. The Equal Opportunity Advisor Student Guide, which was used to train Equal Opportunity instructors during a 3-month course at Patrick Air Force Base, also explicitly discussed the topic of white privilege. The manual was provided through the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, which is affiliated with the Department of Defense.

According to USA Today, Army officials are currently investigating the matter at Fort Gordon.

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DCG

Blowback: ISIS leaders are former officers of Saddam Hussein’s army

Dr. Eowyn:

Blowback is a bitch.

If you, like I, wonder how and why the Islamic State seemingly came from nowhere with military skills and prowess, here’s the answer.

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

Here’s an unintended consequence of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq which overthrew Saddam Hussein and his Baath party from power:

Most of the senior leaders of the murderous Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) are former members of Hussein’s army.

Islamic State leadersLiz Sly writes for The Washington Post, April 4, 2015, that even with the influx of thousands of foreign fighters, almost all of the leaders of the Islamic State are former Iraqi military officers, including the members of its shadowy military and security committees, and the majority of its emirs and princes, according to Iraqis, Syrians and analysts who study the group.

They have brought to the organization the military expertise and some of the agendas of the former Baathists, as well as the smuggling networks developed to avoid sanctions in the 1990s and which now facilitate the Islamic State’s illicit oil trading.

Abu Hamza (not his…

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Political cartoonists are having a field day skewering Obama on Islam

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A big h/t to FOTM’s Glenn47!

~Éowyn

U.S. deploys 290 paratroopers to Ukraine flashpoint

Dr. Eowyn:

For a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Obama sure behaves like a war president.

The war in Iraq is supposed to have ended, but the Army is deploying 1,250 soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division back to Iraq “to train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces as they battle the Islamic State.” (See DCG’s post: http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2015/03/31/paging-code-pink-troops-from-10th-mountain-division-heading-to-iraq-this-summer/)

Now comes news that, in addition to supplying lethal arms to Ukraine, Obama is deploying 290 paratroopers to train Ukraine’s national guards, which is curious behavior for an administration that insists the U.S. is working with all sides in the Ukraine crisis to reach a peaceful solution and that “ultimately it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide their future.”

That is a lie, as shown by the leaked phone conversation between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt more than a year ago. The conversation shows the Obama administration favors the Ukraine “opposition” and has very clear ideas about what the outcome should be and is striving to achieve these goals. See https://cofda.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/u-s-arms-latvia-against-russia-with-120-armored-units/.

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

The Ukraine flashpoint between the U.S. and Russia is heating up.

More than 10 days after the AFP first reported that the Obama administration will be deploying 290 paratroopers to Ukraine to train its national guard soldiers, the story finally is getting traction, carried by other news media like NewsMax, MoneyMorning, and China Post.

Beginning April 20 in three waves of training, each lasting eight weeks, 290 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Teambased in Italy, will train 900 Ukrainian national guard troops in the town of Yavoriv in the government-controlled western region of Lviv, near the Polish border.

Yavoriv, Ukraine

At the end of the training, the U.S. and Ukraine will conduct joint war games.

U.S. Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said the paratroopers will train six Ukrainian national guard companies “with a focus on internal security and territorial defense, and that “While we continue…

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Paging Code Pink: Troops from 10th Mountain Division heading to Iraq this summer

Stars and Stripes: Troops from the Army’s 10th Mountain Division will be headed to Iraq later this year, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced Monday.

About 1,250 soldiers from the division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Drum, N.Y., will deploy in August or September to train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces as they battle the Islamic State. The deployment will last nine months, according to Maj. Josh Jacques, a spokesman for the 10th Mountain Division.

Deploying members of the unit will replace soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division.

DCG

U.S. Marine’s stunning sign reminds us of the costs of Obama’s Bergdahl swap

A United States Marine did something that the phalanxes of America’s military officers are too timid to do.

This is the sign he held up before passing motorists about what his supposed commander in chief did (source):

Marine on Bergdahl swap

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by the Taliban from June 2009 until May 31, 2014 when the Obama administration negotiated his release as part of a prisoner exchange for five high-level Taliban members who were being held at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

On June 25, 2014, the U.S. Army stated that there is “no evidence” that Bergdahl had “engaged in any misconduct” during his years in captivity.

Nine months later, on March 25, 2015, the Army announced that Bergdahl had been charged with two counts under the Uniform Code of Military Justice: one count of “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty” and one count of “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.”

Here’s a reminder of what Obama gave up and what America sacrificed in exchange for this deserter.

1. Five High-Level Taliban Terrorists

Bergdahl prisoner swap

2. Six U.S. Army Soldiers who died looking for Bergdahl

soldiers died looking for Bergdahl

Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas, and Private 1st Class Morris Walker, 23, of Chapel Hill, N.C., were killed by a roadside bomb in Paktika province on Aug. 18, 2009, while trying to find Bergdahl. Like Bergdahl, they were part of the 4th BCT from Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, of Murray, Utah, died Aug. 26 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was shot while his unit was supporting Afghan security forces during an enemy attack. Like Bergdahl, Bowen and Walker, he was part of the 4th BCT.

2nd Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, of Dallas, Texas, died Sept. 4 in Paktika Province when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device and a rocket-propelled grenade. Like Bergdahl, Bowen, Walker and Curtiss, Andrews was part of the 4th BCT.

Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, of Snyder, Texas, died Sept. 6 in Paktika province after being wounded by an IED. Like Bergdahl, Bowen, Walker, Curtiss and Andrews, Murphrey was part of the 4th BCT.

On Sept. 4, 2009, Private 1st Class Matthew Martinek, 20, of DeKalb, Ill., was seriously wounded in Paktika province when Taliban forces attacked his vehicle with an improvided explosive device, a rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire. (Source: Time)

Note: According to The Daily Beast, seven U.S. soldiers were killed looking for Bowe the deserter.

3. Tax payers paid $5 million in ransom to the Taliban

Gateway Pundit reports, Dec. 22, 2014, that Lt. Colonel Shaffer told Bill O’Reilly that the Obama administration paid $5 billion and released five top Taliban Gitmo detainees in exchange for deserter Bowe Bergdahl.

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~Éowyn