Morale: Bringing Down the Divorce Rate


January 13, 2006: One of the casualties of the war in Iraq has been the families of troops over there. The divorce rate always goes up when more troops are away from their families. Troops in the U.S. Army had 10,477 divorces in 2004, but that was reduced to twenty percent in 2005 by taking action. The problem began to began to show up in 2002, as the families of Special Forces troops got stressed from husbands being away for, in some cases, over a year. Special Forces troops are often away half the time for years on end, and this is tough on wives back home looking after kids, and themselves, without a husband. The invasion of Iraq in early 2003, sent over a hundred thousands troops to Iraq in late 2002, and kept them there though early 2004.

By the end of 2003, it was clear that the divorce rate was rapidly climbing. The army implemented dozens of new programs and policies, relying on rapid communications provided by the Internet (which everyone, both troops and their families, used heavily) . Special attention was paid to single troops who were thinking of getting married, thus avoiding many brief marriages. These men and women had heard of the military divorces, and the army made it easier for the unmarried troops to find out exactly what they were going to be up against in that department, and warn them. By preventing bad marriages in the first place, many divorces among the recently married were avoided. A major effort was also made to help out the families that had kids, particularly teenagers, to deal with the stresses of separation.




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