Tags: Homeland | Security

Low Army Morale Reflects Lack of Sane Leadership

Friday, 01 May 2015 11:41 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The beatings may have to continue if morale doesn’t improve in the Army. Wait, my mistake, that’s a t–shirt punch line. In the Army spending will continue if morale doesn’t improve.

The Army Resiliency Directorate — which sounds more like the product testing lab for Silly Putty than a command within an organization defending the nation — has declared war on stinkin’ thinkin.’ Six years and $287 million later, Field Marshall Debbie Downer continues to rout Army optimists.

USA Today has the Army’s mental health data and it makes you wonder if it’s safe for these people to be around firearms. “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,” the paper reported.

“Twelve months of data through early 2015 show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52 percent, 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.”

Breaking out the data, more than half reported poor nutrition and fears that Michelle Obama may be looking at mess hall menus. While a mere 14 percent said they are getting enough sleep and those troops were stationed in the Pentagon!

The Army started what USA Today calls “a program of positive psychology” in 2009 when the U.S. was fighting two wars and Army brass was worried about bad publicity from reports of suicide and mental illness.

Pentagon paper pushers and other rear echelon types flying over Iraq in helicopters couldn’t grasp why grunts weren’t encouraged by military strategy that essentially consisted of driving through the same minefield every day hoping you won’t be blown up.

After all Brian Williams was shot down in a helicopter and it didn’t hurt his morale.

Army lawyers weren’t about to revise the Rules of Engagement with Al Jazeera breathing down their necks. Putting a higher priority on avoiding damage to mosques and hostile civilians than protecting our troops is a small price to pay if it avoids calls from the White House.

Besides, the troops are all volunteers.

It was much easier to re–wire the troops than rewrite the ROEs, hence the positive psychology program. But the Good News Special Operations Group got off to a rocky start after Pentagon planners discovered most outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t have cubicle walls, so an entire run of really effective, morale–boosting posters had to be recycled.

Rather than be depressed, Pentagon positive thinkers reoriented the psychology program and ordered soldiers to take an online self–assessment test, similar to a breast cancer self–examination, except you’re poking around in your brain instead of your breasts.

A panel of scientists from the Institute of Medicine was unimpressed. According to USA Today it concluded “there is little or no evidence the program prevents mental illness” and the Army didn’t bother to test the program’s efficiency before implementation.

This futile effort doesn’t even prevent the bad publicity it was designed to eliminate.

Once the paper confronted Sharyn Saunders, jefe of the Resiliency Directorate, she first denied the results. Then, taking a cue from the Atlanta, Ga. public school system, the Army changed the test results by drastically revising the scale for what would be considered a negative score.

Presto! Now only 9 percent of the troops have a low optimism index and those soreheads are probably bigots unhappy about women in combat. The truth is low morale in all the armed services is a perfectly sane response to the lack of leadership and even honor among Pentagon paper pushers and brass polishers in the field.

The Washington Post provides a perfect example in a front-page expose of the “chronically dangerous” air traffic control system at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. This is the only major U.S. military base that “is wholly dependent on civilian air–traffic controllers.” These controllers are so incompetent one former FAA official was astonished at the chaos, “It’s mind-boggling. Literally, it’s the most dangerous airspace I’ve seen in the world, and I’ve been to Afghanistan.”

The Navy’s response was to deny the obvious in an effort to appease a motley crew of insubordinate, drug–using, America–haters and the government that hired them. The risk of a catastrophic air disaster involving U.S. troops is a small price to pay if it keeps President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh from complaining to our good friends at Al Jazeera about heavy–handed Yankee crusader cultural imperialists.

The volunteers in our military aren’t stupid. Daily they see the PC rot that has infected Pentagon leadership and the result is depressing. In the past, there was nothing like victory to improve an army’s morale, but this administration is only good at winning elections.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.


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The volunteers in our military aren’t stupid. Daily they see the PC rot that has infected Pentagon leadership and the result is depressing. In the past, there was nothing like victory to improve an army’s morale, but this administration is only good at winning elections.
Homeland, Security
Friday, 01 May 2015 11:41 AM
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