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Poor leadership, not repeat deployments blamed for rise in Army suicides

Jul 29, 2010 8:46:00 PM - thestate.com
A new Army report has founded that inattention to rising rates of drug abuse and criminal activity among soldiers and not repeat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan is responsible for the record-high levels of suicide among troops.

The 300-page report, which was released Thursday, said that military commanders are so focused on preparing their troops for war that they've allowed troops to engage in risky behavior at home that may lead to suicide.

The 15-month study, titled "Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention," said that the vast majority of soldiers who killed themselves - 79 percent - had never been deployed to a combat zone or had been deployed just once.

The report instead blamed the Army's intense focus on war preparations for "unintentionally" limiting base commanders' "leadership and management requirements."

The result, the report found, is that "enforcement of policies designated to ensure good order and discipline has atrophied. This, in turn, has led to an increasing population of soldiers who display high-risk behavior which erodes the health of the force."

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