Peace Time: May 30, 2001


A U.S. Army survey of 13,000 officers and family members, conducted in a way to elicit candid answers, revealed more details about why morale is low and dissatisfaction rife in the military. The major gripe was a heavy wartime workload in peacetime. This was made worse because much of the work was not related to combat readiness. The most onerous ones have to do with things like "sensitivity training," but there are many more mundane ones (like additional work to insure that endangered species are not harmed during training exercises.) Realizing that they have a major problem, and officers and troops leaving in large numbers, the brass ordered some changes to try and address the problem. 

@ There will be more combat training. This is a particular sore point among combat troops, who see themselves doing a lot of busy work at the expense of their combat skills, and thus increasing their risks on some future battlefield. 

@ Providing more four day weekends around federal holidays. This provides a break from the heavy workload. Soldiers are not paid for overtime and work a lot of extra hours and weekends. 

@ Soldiers with kids in their senior year of high school will have transfers delayed until after graduation.

@ Leaving young officers in their jobs longer so they can learn their jobs. Formerly, young officers would be moved around rapidly, never staying in one place long enough to really learn much. 

@ Limiting the number of weekends the troops can be worked. 

These are items that can be implemented with an order. Still a problem is the mistrust junior officers and troops have for their commanders. Overseas assignments, especially on peacekeeping missions, is also a problem. Many soldiers feel they signed up to fight, not to play policeman among feuding foreigners.


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