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1 In 5 Troops Discharged For Misconduct Between 2011 And 2015 Had PTSD Or TBI, Report Finds
Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury can impact the behavior of service members, and may lead to separations for misconduct, according to the findings of a Government Accountability Office study published today.
In a five-year period, three out of five service members dismissed from the military for misconduct were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, drinking, or other adjustment-related issues two years prior to their separation.
From 2011 to 2015, 62% of the 91,764 service members separated for misconduct had been previously diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, or “certain other conditions that could be associated with misconduct,” reads the GAO report.
Of those separated for misconduct, many received other than honorable or other “bad paper discharges,” which may make them ineligible for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs:
16 percent had been diagnosed with PTSD or TBI, while the other conditions, such as adjustment and alcohol-related disorders, were more common. Of the 57,141 service members, 23 percent, or 13,283, received an “other than honorable” characterization of service, making them potentially ineligible for health benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“It’s horrific to think of these young men and women as statistics, but that’s what they’re becoming,” John Rowan the national president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said in a statement.“These are veterans who volunteered to serve in a time of war, yet they’ve been failed by previous administrations.” In the statement, Rowan called on President Donald Trump “to exercise his constitutional authority and to act now to save these veterans with bad paper.”
The stress of back-to-back deployments to war zones against an insurgency that hides among the civilian populace, and where the threat of improvised explosive devices were high, has lead to hundreds of thousands of service members being diagnosed with PTSD and TBI, the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Based on the report, these injuries can negatively impact a service member’s thoughts and behavior, which can lead to discipline problems, poor performance at work, and ultimately, to the service member’s dismissal from the military. Depending on how they’re discharged, that can dramatically impact their access to care through the VA.
Veterans who received other-than-honorable discharges, commonly referred to as “bad paper” discharges, are often unable to receive veterans’ benefits, such as health care. That’s particularly problematic in cases where a veteran’s discharge may have been the result of a mental health condition or a head injury, which negatively impacted his or her performance.
Though the VA secretary, David Shulkin, announced in March that the department would begin offering emergency mental health treatment for veterans with “bad paper” discharges, the assistance is on a case-by-case basis for emergencies, and doesn’t extend full VA benefits to veterans with “bad paper.”
The study also found that the Air Force and the Navy failed to comply with DoD policies for screening troops with PTSD and TBI prior to discharging them. Both the Marine Corps and the Army failed to adhere to their own screening, training, and counseling policies related to TBI and PTSD, according to the report:
GAO found that 18 of the 48 non generalizable sample separation packets reviewed for Marine Corps service members administratively separated for misconduct lacked documentation showing that the service member had been screened for PTSD and TBI.
The report added: “During interviews with Army officers, GAO found that some officers may not have received training to identify mild TBI symptoms, despite Army policy that all service members should be trained.”
The GAO has recommended that the DoD direct the Air Force and Navy to fix “inconsistencies in their screening and training policies and ensure that the military services monitor adherence to their screening, training, and counseling policies.” The military agreed with most of the GAO’s recommendations.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Trump: $6.1 billion in DoD money going to border wall wasn’t for anything that seemed ‘too important to me’
President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."
Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."
D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.
"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."