Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

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 ...

589095_090127_PTSD_1.272.jpg
589095_090127_PTSD_1.272.jpg
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.

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. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

U.S. President Joe Biden listens to remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on May 19.
U.S. President Joe Biden listens to remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on May 19.

Russia’s Defeat Would Be America’s Problem

Victory in Ukraine could easily mean hubris in Washington.

Russian and Belarusian troops take part in joint military exercises.
Russian and Belarusian troops take part in joint military exercises.

Russia’s Stripped Its Western Borders to Feed the Fight in Ukraine

But Finland and the Baltic states are still leery of Moscow’s long-term designs.

Electricity pylons are shown under cloudy skies during rainfall near Romanel-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland, on Sept. 15.
Electricity pylons are shown under cloudy skies during rainfall near Romanel-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland, on Sept. 15.

Europe’s Energy Crisis Is Destroying the Multipolar World

The EU and Russia are losing their competitive edge. That leaves the United States and China to duke it out.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces new European Union energy policies at the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels, on Sept. 7.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces new European Union energy policies at the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels, on Sept. 7.

With Winter Coming, Europe Is Walking Off a Cliff

Europeans won’t escape their energy crisis as long as ideology trumps basic math.