With up to 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, new research by Stress, for example, can cause even the strongest relationships to crumble, He points to his work with military couples as an example of how strong social the trajectory from bad to worse is likely to continue throughout the marriage . Press Room. More than half ( percent) of the active component is married, compared to percent of .. of general symptoms, and a variety of psychosocial problems ( including relationship and behavioral dysfunction that would be incompatible with military service. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; a. 7 signs your relationship is failing — even if it doesn't feel like it . relationship. Lots of ups and downs in your relationship could be a bad sign.
In particular, variations in assessment strategies, such as measuring documented psychological health diagnoses among those seeking health care versus anonymous screening, can yield vastly different results, which highlights some of the challenges to accurate identification of those who may benefit from intervention.
It has proved difficult to account for, understand, and reconcile those differences in order to provide the insights and answers needed for effective public policy, prevention, treatment, and reintegration.
Furthermore, only a fraction of TBIs in the military are attributable to combat. TBI is often classified according to severity: This section will focus on mild TBI, which accounts for the overwhelming majority of all TBIs sustained by the armed forces. Between and Augustof theTBIs sustained in the armed forces, The weighted results showed that It asks about common injuries that cause TBI, altered mental states, and symptoms following the injury physical and psychological.
In all, the results from this study indicate that The screen was administered in Iraq 1 month before the soldiers returned from deployment and again 1 year after their return. At the initial assessment, 9 percent of soldiers were found to have a mild TBI. The follow-up assessment, however, revealed that 22 percent of soldiers had mild TBI.
It was not clear if the dramatic increase after 1 year was due to recall bias or to soldiers filtering their responses to ensure they remained with their unit and were not delayed in returning home, or possibly to the poor reliability of the screening tool Polusny et al.
Comorbid Conditions Depression Depression and symptoms of depression are often found in those who have brain injury. In another study of 2, Army infantry soldiers 3 to 4 months following their return from a year-long deployment to Iraq, Hoge et al.
Among those who experienced an altered mental state due to an injury but remained conscious8. Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan IOM, a summarizes the conflicting evidence and notes that most studies that look at the association between substance use and brain injury, examine all brain injuries and either do not indicate the severity of the injury or include injuries of all severities. Long-Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury IOM, bconcludes that there is limited but suggestive evidence of an association between TBI of all severities and decreased drug and alcohol use, relative to pre-injury use, in the 1 to 3 years following the TBI.
A civilian study of TBI found that drinking and reported problems with alcohol were less 1 month after the injury than they had been before the injury but that they had increased somewhat after 1 year although not to pre-injury levels. Suicide In a study using Danish hospitalization data on civilians admitted to a hospital with a concussion, cranial fracture, or a cerebral contusion or traumatic intracranial hemorrhage, Teasdale and Engberg looked at how suicide incidence among these civilians compared with the rate in the general population.
The authors screened the patients in the national death register and found an increased incidence of suicide in the TBI groups, including those with mild TBI, when compared to the general population. In a study of active-duty service members, however, Skopp et al. Those authors suggested that the difference in results between their study and that of Teasdale and Engberg may be due to a difference in the nature of the TBI experienced by the different populations in the two studies.
In civilians TBIs are often associated with risky behaviors, whereas in the military mild TBIs often occur as the result of unpredictable incidents during training or combat.
Of those with TBI, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can develop after the direct personal experience of or the witnessing of an event that poses a perceived threat of death or serious injury. According to the DSM-5, if the symptoms persist for 3 days to 4 weeks, the diagnosis is acute stress disorder, while if the symptoms endure for more than 1 month, the diagnosis is PTSD.
The manual states that the onset of PTSD usually begins within 3 months of exposure to the traumatic event but that it may occur months later. Military-related traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include exposure to war, threatened or actual physical assault, threatened or actual sexual assault, being taken hostage, torture, incarceration as a prisoner of war, and motor vehicle accidents APA, DSM-5 also considers certain indirect exposures through professional duties such as clearing body parts, first-responder activities, and accidental or violent death of a friend or relative to be exposures.
Individuals with PTSD often display a heightened startle response in reaction to unexpected stimuli such as a loud noise or unexpected movement. Additionally, many with PTSD have difficulty remembering daily events and have difficulty concentrating or staying focused on tasks APA, PTSD can be chronic and have no remission, or it can be recurrent and have periods of remission and recurrence Friedman, The estimates depend on when the evaluation was conducted, the diagnostic method used for example, self-reported symptoms versus diagnosis by a health care professionaland the definition used for PTSD.
Among those who saw combat but were not injured, prevalence was 9. The prevalence may also vary according to whether the assessment method included a determination of whether the full DSM criteria for PTSD diagnosis were met as opposed to a briefer positive screen for PTSD.
The researchers found that the studies could be divided into studies of military personnel who were seeking treatment for any injury and those who were not seeking treatment. Studies of non-treatment-seeking service members generally provided PTSD prevalence estimates of about 5 to 20 percent, while studies of treatment-seeking service members yielded estimates as high as 50 percent on the basis of screening, although rates were typically lower when actual diagnoses were made.
Recent research indicates that 23 percent of those seeking treatment receive a PTSD diagnosis. The authors found that the variability in PTSD estimates was probably related to representativeness and case definitions. A further factor may be the level of anonymity, which affects the PTSD estimates through a combination of factors such as concerns about stigma and worries about how a PTSD diagnosis and treatment could affect one's standing with peers and command, influence deployment decisions, and damage one's military career.
Most studies have used post-deployment convenience samples that likely missed those service members most likely to have psychological health problems, such as those with serious injuries or those who have separated from service. The healthiest service members would also likely be excluded in many of the post-deployment studies because they are more likely to deploy multiple times and be in theater and thus unavailable for study participation. Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan IOM, a concluded that using different definitions most likely contributes to much of the variability observed in the various studies and that improving the estimates of prevalence will require the use of a consistent set of criteria for PTSD and a standardized assessment.
Among those that deployed, the IOM a found that certain deployment-related stressors such as troubles at home, lack of privacy, and problems with leadershipcombat exposure, prior traumatic exposure, military sexual trauma, a history of psychological health conditions, and severe physical injury were all risk factors for PTSD.
These are discussed individually below. Deployment-Related Stressors Deployment and deployment-related stressors, including concerns back home, issues with leadership, and lack of privacy, have been associated with increased risk of PTSD Booth-Kewley et al. Moreover, some investigations have indicated that National Guard soldiers suffer disproportionately from deployment Milliken et al.
Deployment-related factors associated with National Guardsmen and PTSD and depression include financial hardship, job loss, and lack of employer support Riviere et al. Traumatic Exposures Prior to military Veterans who have had prior traumatic experiences appear to be more likely to develop PTSD than those who do not have such a history.
Multiple studies have found an association between adverse childhood experiences—such as physical, sexual, and psychological abuse or exposure to a person in the home who was mentally ill, alcoholic, or violent—and psychiatric symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, or depression Cabrera et al. Military sexual trauma Military sexual trauma MST is defined as severe or threatening sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurs while serving in the military Kimerling et al.
Odds ratios remained significant after adjustment for other significant associations, and the effect sizes in women were substantially greater than those in men, indicating that MST has a greater impact on women than on men. A representative survey of DOD service members found that in6.
Sixty-seven percent of women and 73 percent of men reported that the unwanted sexual contact occurred at their military installations, while 19 percent of women and 26 percent of men reported that the unwanted contact occurred while they were deployed to a combat zone. Forty-seven percent of women and 19 percent of men reported that the perpetrator was using alcohol during the incident.
The Military-Media Relationship: A Dysfunctional Marriage' | Article | The United States Army
Among suspected perpetrators investigated, 90 percent were male, 2 percent were female, and 8 percent were not identified. Thirty-three percent of the women and 10 percent of the men who experienced unwanted sexual contact reported the incident to a DOD authority DOD, a. Of the women who did not report the incident, 51 percent did not do so because they felt that their report would not be kept confidential, and 47 percent feared retaliation from the offender DOD, a.
Among the men who did not report the incident, 22 percent did not do so because they thought that individuals not directly involved with the incident might get in trouble, 17 percent thought they would not be believed, and 16 percent thought their performance evaluation or chance of being promoted would suffer DOD, a. The authors found that women who were deployed and experienced combat reported the highest cumulative 3-year incidence of sexual harassment Being born in or later, prior sexual stressors, being recently divorced, and having prior psychological health disorders were also associated with increased risk of experiencing sexual assault or harassment or both.
History of psychological health conditions Military personnel who have been previously diagnosed with a psychological health condition, particularly PTSD, are at greater risk for a repeat diagnosis in theater Larson et al.
Using self-report data, Sandweiss et al. PTSD was significantly associated with baseline psychiatric conditions; service members who had one or more baseline psychiatric conditions were 2. Injury severity and neurologic dysfunction Grieger et al. Protective Factors Although it has been mostly retrospective in nature, some research has been conducted on factors that might protect soldiers from PTSD and other psychological health disorders.
Unrealistic Expectations About Love and Marriage
Gulf War and Health, Volume 6: Physiologic, Psychologic, and Psychosocial Effects of Deployment-Related Stress IOM, reviewed studies of veterans of such past conflicts as World War II, the Gulf War, and the Vietnam War and noted that psychological resilience—often characterized by hardiness, personal control, and positive coping strategies—is inversely related to the risk of PTSD after traumatic or stressful events.
Studies have indicated that strong social support is protective against the onset of PTSD. Furthermore, unit support and post-deployment support were inversely related to PTSD and depressive symptoms. Additional protective factors cited in Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan included positive appraisals of military service, having five or more close confidants, and longer dwell times MacGregor et al.
Comorbid Conditions PTSD is often comorbid with other psychiatric conditions, including substance use disorders. That report reviewed the research on psychiatric disorders in veteran populations and concluded that PTSD is highly comorbid with generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. Alcohol and drug use, sleep disorders, an increased report of general symptoms, and a variety of psychosocial problems including relationship problems, legal problems, violence and aggression, employment problems, and decreased quality of life were associated with PTSD.
Veterans with PTSD were not more likely to be homeless compared to veterans without PTSD, although veterans with prior combat exposure were more likely to be homeless than those without such exposure IOM, Major Depression Mood disorders are a cluster of psychological disorders that are characterized by mood swings or an abnormally depressed low mood or a manic mood or irritability.
The most common mood disorder is depression, and the clinically most important form is major depression, which is characterized by a depressed mood most of the day nearly every day or a loss of interest or pleasure, or both, accompanied by several of the following symptoms: Like PTSD, depression may be defined by strict criteria, such as the DSM criteria for major depression, or by self-assessment of depression symptoms. To meet the diagnostic criteria, major depressive disorder symptoms must be present for a 2-week period.
Prevalence There have been no population-based studies of U. According to RAND Tanielian and Jaycox,the extant studies may substantially underestimate the prevalence of depression in the post-deployment samples.
Furthermore, most studies use convenience samples, which may not be representative of the entire population deployed to war zones.
Estimates of prevalence in active-duty service members ranged from 5 percent Hoge et al. They used three case definitions of depression, each reflecting a level of functional impairment. At 3 months, the prevalence ranged from 16 percent no functional impairment to 8.
At 12 months, the rates were similar to those at 3 months in active-duty soldiers but substantially increased in National Guard soldiers. The authors' best estimate for total prevalence of major depression was 12 percent among the currently deployed, Risk Factors Among U. Other risk factors for depression reported in literature include military sexual trauma, childhood physical abuse, and other adverse childhood experience Cabrera et al.
Deployment is also associated with a diagnosis of depression Gadermann et al. Investigators have shown that depression is a major contributor to health dissatisfaction Rauch et al.
In fact, Kinder et al. Additionally, among service members who attempted suicide in More information about the link between suicide and depression appears in the suicide section of this chapter. Substance Use Disorders Substance use disorders include the misuse of intoxicating substances including illicit drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, and other toxic agents. The behavioral effects of these brain changes may be exhibited in the repeated relapses and intense drug craving when the individuals are exposed to drug-related stimuli.
Diagnosis of substance use disorders is based on an individual's pattern of behavior and usage of the substance and is marked by a cluster of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms. An individual with a substance use disorder will continue using the substance despite the presence of substance-related symptoms and the problems they cause.
According to DSM-5, symptoms may include taking more of a substance or taking it for a longer time than originally intended; the inability, despite a desire, to reduce the consumption of a substance; spending significant time obtaining a substance, using it, and recovering from its use; the failure to fulfill work, school, or family obligations because of substance use; recurrent social and interpersonal problems because of substance use; withdrawal from social occupational or family activities because of substance use; and continued use despite repeated physical and psychological health problems APA, Prevalence Alcohol Milliken et al.
Heavy alcohol use five or more drinks for males and four or more for females per occasion, at least once per week, for the past 30 days in the active-duty military remained mostly constant between By service, adjusted for demographic differences, heavy alcohol use is highest in the Marine Corps Compared to civilians, a greater percentage of service members are heavy alcohol users overall The difference varies by age group, however.
Older service members aged 46 to 64 are less likely to be heavy drinkers than civilians of the same age 3. Military personnel aged 18 to 25, however, exhibit significantly higher rates of heavy drinking than their civilian counterparts Although the rate of heavy drinking has remained mostly constant, binge drinking five or more drinks for males, or four or more drinks for females, on a single occasion at least once in the past 30 days among active-duty service members increased from There are signs that this increase may have slowed, however, because between and there was no significant change in binge drinking across all services.
The binge drinking rate in the Navy increased from In the Marine Corps had the highest rate of binge drinking Compared to civilians, military personnel binge drink at a higher rate Civilians aged 46 to 64, however, binge drink at a higher rate than service members of the same age In the Army, incidents of drug and alcohol abuse in soldiers increased from 28, offenses in to 34, in and then decreased by 9.
Those recent decreases were coupled with increased rates of referral for drug and alcohol treatment. In fiscal year FYthere were more than 24, referrals of soldiers to the Army Substance Abuse Program; about 50 percent of those referred were enrolled. Forty-three percent of active-duty Army personnel reported binge drinking within the preceding month. Although 12 percent of soldiers reported alcohol problems on the Post Deployment Health Re-Assessment see Appendix Fonly 2 percent have been referred for further evaluation or treatment.
Alcohol abuse is associated with several risk factors related to combat service, such as exposure to the threat of death or injury, witnessing atrocities, depression and PTSD symptoms, and a diagnosis of PTSD Burnett-Zeigler et al.
Illicit Drugs According to self-report data, the illicit drug use rate excluding prescription drugs among active-duty military was 2. Across services, usage rates range from 3. Deployment seems to be a factor in illicit drug usage rates. Illicit drug use, including prescription drugs, among active-duty personnel increased from 5. Rates were also below 2 percent in reserve personnel not on active duty, but they exceeded 2 percent in National Guard personnel not on active duty.
Drugs tested for included amphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, MDA methylenedioxyamphetamineopioids, and phencyclidine. Illicit drug usage excluding prescriptions is lower among active-duty service members than among civilians for all age groups and overall 2.
About 14 percent of U. The report defines polypharmacy as the use of four or more prescription medications of which at least one is a psychotropic drug or a controlled substance, and it notes that the number of soldiers receiving polypharmacy increased in FY — fromtoSince prescription drug misuse has increased dramatically across services—from 2 percent in to 4 percent in to nearly 12 percent in Bray et al.
By service, the Army had the highest rate of prescription drug misuse Risk Factors In reviewing the literature on alcohol misuse among active-duty service members, Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan IOM, a found that heavy alcohol use was higher among those deployed to any operational theater than among the non-deployed. Other risk factors for increased alcohol use or misuse among active-duty service members include perceived high work stress, being younger, being male, experiencing the threat of death or injury, higher frequency of deployment, greater cumulative time deployed, and diagnosis of PTSD.
Among Army service members, being age 45 or older, male, smoking cigarettes, having a substance use disorder, being a victim of preadolescent sexual abuse among womenhaving a major psychiatric disorder, prior legal problems, a history of motor vehicle accidents, and poor family support were all risk factors for misuse of opioids Department of the Army, Among recently returned National Guardsmen, Burnett-Zeigler et al.
National Guardsmen frequently reported that stigma and concerns about their military careers were barriers to their seeking treatment. Looking at risk factors by deployment phase, Ferrier-Auerbach et al. However, psychological health status was not a predictor of drinking among the pre-deployed National Guard.
Among post-deployed National Guardsmen, Kehle et al. PTSD symptom severity was a predictor for alcohol-use disorder in the study population.
Additionally, Stecker et al. Suicide and Suicidal Ideation Suicide is a lethal self-inflicted action, a suicide attempt is a nonfatal action, and suicidal ideation refers to suicidal thoughts, such as wishing to commit suicide. Suicide is a leading—as well as a growing—cause of death among U. DOD's suicide rate in was The Army, with It is difficult to determine the percentage of people who have suicidal ideation who go on to attempt or complete suicide.
However, in a study of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in a large number 52, of active-duty members of the Air Force, Snarr et al. Risk Factors Risk factors for suicidal ideation among active-duty male personnel in the Air Force include not being married, being non-Christian, being junior enlisted, being employed as medical personnel, having alcohol problems, working longer hours, having poor social support, being dissatisfied with relationships, having poor coping ability, having experienced interpersonal violence, and being dissatisfied with the Air Force way of life.
Among Air Force women, risk factors include lower rank, financial stress, alcohol problems, relationship dissatisfaction, interpersonal violence, poor social support, and being non-Christian. Among both sexes, depression was the strongest predictor of suicidal ideation.
At the individual level, depressive symptoms and alcohol problems were both risk factors for suicidal ideation. For mothers in the study population, however, alcohol problems actually decreased the risk of suicidal ideation. At the family level, relationship satisfaction reduced the risk of suicidal ideation, and interpersonal violence victimization increased the risk. For mothers, parent—child relationship satisfaction also reduced the risk for suicidal ideation.
At the workplace level, dissatisfaction with the Air Force way of life was a strong predictor of suicidal ideation among men, and satisfaction with workplace relationships reduced the risk of suicidal ideation among women.
At the community level, social support reduced the risk of suicidal ideation among both men and women. A perception of community unity was protective for men. The authors suggest that focusing on the non-individual and less-stigmatizing risk and protective factors at the workplace and community levels may be an effective strategy for the military's suicide prevention efforts Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
The Dysfunctional Relationship Between The Military And The Media - CBS News
At least 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a psychological illness at the time of their death. Risk factors for completed suicide among service members include being male, white, under the age of 25 years, junior enlisted or high-school educated, and divorced. The suicide rate in divorced service members was 55 percent higher than that in married service members.
Active-duty service members had a 70 percent higher risk of suicide than did deployed reserves and National Guard members. Firearms accounted for 62 percent of all suicides, and drug overdose was the most frequent method of suicide attempts 57 percent DCOE, DOD data illustrate the relationship between psychological health disorders and suicide attempts. Among service members who attempted suicide ina majority Among suicide attempters, Being with a man ODA team is pretty cool and heady, but it doesn't qualify an assessment on the operational end state.
For example, I often had to field questions from reporters who had been with a squad in Baquba who used their limited experience in one part of my area to quiz me on battalion operations in Mosul, a radically different part of our area. It's tough judging the whole from a part.
And again, what they might be reporting to the American people will soon end up on foreign websites, and will influence our adversaries. That's where the line between public affairs and information operations becomes a bit blurry.
We could spend all day debating the virtual battle space and the marketplace of ideas. But when it comes to the debate over how to divide responsibility between public affairs and information operations, the press has not been as precise as it should in helping our readers understand those differences, as well as the differences in the tools of battlefield deception and tactical psychological operations versus strategic communications.
But I know one thing for certain: When I hear that the military assesses its theater communications strategies in units called "strategic effects," I know something may not be right.
This is not a military occupational specialty, like artillery. You can't fire a message downrange and measure its effects against your enemy the way you conduct bomb-damage assessment. Ideas are not electrons that you can positively charge, and then measure the illuminating effect. I have sat with strategic effects officers who counted the number of so-called "positive" stories they have placed in Iraqi media as if that tally meant anything in the real world where content is suspect-and the supplier of that content even more so.
I spent five years in Moscow-although my wife marked the time as five winters-and so I have learned how citizens of a dictatorship, or of a former dictatorship like in Iraq today, distrust their local media. These tallies of so-called "positive" stories in Iraq are meaningless in the real world. You can't spread democratic values through means that are undemocratic.
And if there are cases where, perhaps, such propaganda or deception is required to reach a specific tactical end endorsed by senior leaders, then it should be done by those people who operate under Title and not those in uniform who operate under Title In a world linked by Internet and satellite TV, tactical information operations downrange, even in enemy territory, will play to folks in Peoria in a few hours.
I admit, we're wrestling with all this We're finding it's like nailing Jello to a wall. There are some studies done that prove there is no silver bullet in this arena, and the quantification of "messaging" is certainly not a refined science. But the military is a culture where metrics are important, and there are some well-meaning individuals in our ranks who need a little more experience in strategic communication.
Fact is-and we in the military need to focus on this critical point-while information and public affairs are still called "non-lethal fires," we usually can't ensure they have timely or reliable effects. You know, the chairman of the joint chiefs recently said that information is the critical realm of the future battlefield. Military leaders try to control all aspects of every fight, but the fact is, a message-centric battlefield is hardly manageable because it changes and the messages that are sent are so unreliable to read in the receiver.
But this gets back to the point about our relationship, because as we-military and media-interact, our responsibility remains giving the most informed, best analyzed, and factual information to the public.
That's tough for us, because our profession has so many complications. What kind of "fixes" do you think are appropriate to help our relationship improve and help our marriage get beyond dysfunctional' Shanker: I can offer some rules of the road for this military-media relationship.
Maximum disclosure with minimum delay. When a question is asked, there are only three allowable answers: Or, as a very smart captain once told me: Once something bad has happened, you can never change that.11 Signs You're In A Toxic Relationship
All you have control over is how the public learns about it. Ever since the invasion of Iraq, senior officers like to speak of "the speed of war. Yet your system for reporting information up the chain of command for release to the media is shackled by the rusty chains of the industrial age.
I have been with your forces in contact with the enemy. I know that when you cover a war it covers you, and completely, and so I cannot expect a new directive for a squad leader to break contact just to file a press release. And I know to distrust first reports. Even so, when it takes 8, 12, 16, or 20 hours for the military command or the Pentagon to comment-perhaps clarify, perhaps correct-reports from downrange on an incident that was broadcast live over satellite TV-well, you have surrendered several news cycles before your version of events is laid before the unblinking judgment of public opinion.
That time can never be recovered. Those first impressions may never change. The adversary responds faster with its statements, whether truth or falsehood.
Absent your timely response-you lose. You raise some interesting points. I'll take a few for comment. First, you've only given me three allowable answers for any question, but I would contend there needs to be many, many more. I certainly agree with you on always telling the truth, but often the truth is extremely complicated and reporters are usually looking for quick and easy answers that can be either written succinctly or pushed into a video sound bite.
In war as old Carl Clausewitz said-even the simplest things are difficult. Those difficulties are not always understood immediately, and even if they are, they are hard to explain. If a reporter is willing to spend the time and discuss the implications of an event, most of us in the military are willing to expand on the story. In combat, time is a scarce resource. Along with this, I've seen an inherent lack of trust when senior military leaders attempt to provide answers to the press; I always get the impression you think we're trying to "spin" you.
I know that's sometimes the case, but I also know that many reporters are always looking for the "gotcha" moment when they can spin a story to cause more conflict. So speaking the truth-without all its complications-is sometimes something a soldier doesn't have time for, but reporters on deadline often discount.
Second, the military maxim of "never believe a first report" is one that-with age and experience-I put increasing stock in. Military commanders with any savvy will always allow even the most seemingly disastrous event to percolate. But the reporters seem to have a need for instantaneous gratification. So how do we fix this problem' Earned trust-on both sides-may be the only solution. You are absolutely right on the increasing ferocity and tempo of combat.
But you make a good point in that "first impressions never change. To us, that means getting whatever report to the press as accurate and informative as possible.
Truthfully, I've been in organizations that have taken an inordinately long time to get our press releases out, and on several occasions it hurt the cause and frustrated me as a commander. But no matter how hard we try, I don't ever think we will get those releases to you as fast as you would like them. We need to continue to address this in our relationship. Finally, our adversaries do often get information to the press, the TV, the Internet faster than we do. That's because we have an enemy that is preplanning and entrapping, not "responding.
But as you know, there's a difference between info ops and public affairs. We have to be truthful when we talk to the press; our enemies do not. I know that men and women in uniform justifiably rankle when media describe the armed services as a monolith, as if there is some "capital M" military.
Of course, there are different branches and, within each, different occupational specialties and so on. So tell me, please: Why do so many in the military criticize my profession as if there is a news monolith, a "capital M" media' We are different. There is the big-time, mainstream media with vast resources to cover this building, to maintain large staffs in such places as Baghdad and Kabul, and to publish numerous stories every day on those missions.
There are small-town outlets that depend on the wire services for their information from the front. Some reporters have studied the military, some have not. TV has different needs. There is foreign media, and divided again between reporters from allies and those from more, shall we say, hostile capitals. Then there are the blogs, where increasingly persuasive reporters show up for work at their kitchen tables in the standard uniform: T-shirt and boxer shorts.
Just as you study an adversary, you must tell your subordinates in the field that they must strive to understand how different are the reporters in contact with you. And just as you conduct disciplined planning for possible contingencies, with branches and sequels for potential outcomes, you are not completing the planning process without doing the same for your media engagement.
As I became more experienced with the media, this is the one area that I realized needs Ph. Not all reporters-or outlets-are created equal, and not all of you want the same kind of care and feeding. I didn't learn that until I was a brigadier general, as prior to that I was lumping all of you into one amorphous group.
Our younger leaders are learning these kinds of intricacies in combat earlier. But our young lieutenants or sergeants who haven't yet learned the difference between an AP stringer and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist are the same as some of the cub reporters that have come into my ops centers who don't know the difference between a tank and an artillery piece.
We can all take some friendly advice from the other side, but this is sometimes as difficult as laser brain surgery to folks on your side and mine. For example, even as an older brigadier general, I had an epiphany during a battle in in Iraq.
We had a very complicated operation which needed finesse, but we also needed to send a message to the enemy that we would be unrelenting and lethal. We had a few options as to where we wanted to locate and embed the dozens of media that we shared information with. Should they go with a unit that was doing a tank thunder run, or with an infantry unit that would see some tense negotiations and nuanced battlefield operations.
Our final decision' Place the TV journalists with the units that would be getting the exciting film footage with tough combat, and place the print journalist one from your paper with the unit that would require the deeper analysis. It was masterful, everyone was initially happy as they pleased their editors and bureau chiefs, and we looked smarter than we were!
But even that changed when the reports were filed, and each journalist thought the other side of the grass was greener and wanted us to switch them to their competitors' locations. Newspapers, television, and radio remain your most vital means of remaining connected to the rest of American society.
This is especially important because the default mode of our democracy is peace, and it is hard to keep a nation on war footing. Constant hostilities are not part of our national DNA, and for that we should be proud. But I know that many of you feel uncomfortable with the bumper sticker that America is a nation at war-while it's really just a military at war, along with the intelligence community.
It is no wonder the military is becoming self-regenerating: The American armed forces risk becoming the Prussian military of the 21st century. That's on the home front.
And downrange, reporters are as much a part of the battlefield as weather and terrain.
You would never abandon the battlefield because of inclement weather. You would never surrender to difficult terrain. So why on earth would you choose not to engage with us' I am a reporter. I look for narratives that will attract readers and inform them.
If a military officer talks to reporters, I can't guarantee your story will be told the way you want it. But if you don't speak with reporters, I can guarantee your side of the story may not be told at all.