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Cracks and fissures: Pentagon says 6 percent of force is highly stressed

This Pentagon study is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in military personnel issues, but especially for those looking at PTSD. The bottom line is that at least 6 percent of the active-duty force appears to be highly stressed, having served more than 25 months in combat zones since 9/11, while 74 percent have served less ...

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BENAVIDES, TEXAS - MAY 27: Jesus Bocanegra, 24, walks in uniform to a Memorial Day weekend service May 27, 2006 in Benavides, Texas. Bocanegra has been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, a result of his service in Iraq in 2003-04. Despite his current ambivalence to the Iraq conflict, ?The Ten Commandments says 'Thou shall not kill', and it doesn?t add 'except for war'," he says now, he still dons his uniform to participate in veterans activities in his home state. Bocanegra is on several anti-depression drugs and struggles to recover from the mental strain of a year at war. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

This Pentagon study is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in military personnel issues, but especially for those looking at PTSD. The bottom line is that at least 6 percent of the active-duty force appears to be highly stressed, having served more than 25 months in combat zones since 9/11, while 74 percent have served less than 12 months in such zones.

Personnel policy wonks will want to dive deeper, but there are three easy points to take away here: 1) A small group is carrying a disproportionate part of the load, and 2) the majority isn’t carrying its share, so 3) the Army needs to do a better job of spreading the burden.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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