Army morale declines, survey shows

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
By Paul Martin

By Bryan Bender

WASHINGTON ­— Only a quarter of the Army’s officers and enlisted soldiers believe the nation’s largest military branch is headed in the right direction — a survey response that is the lowest on record and reflects what some in the service call a crisis in confidence.

The detailed annual survey by a team of independent researchers found that the most common reasons cited for the bleak outlook were “ineffective leaders at senior levels,” a fear of losing the best and the brightest after a decade of war, and the perception, especially among senior enlisted soldiers, that “the Army is too soft” and lacks sufficient discipline.

The study, ordered by the Center for Army Leadership at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, also found that one in four troops serving in Afghanistan rated morale either “low” or “very low,” part of a steady downward trend over the last five years.

But the most striking finding is widespread disagreement with the statement that “the Army is headed in the right direction to prepare for the challenges of the next 10 years.”

“In 2011, [active duty] agreement to this statement hit an all-time low,” according to the survey results, a copy of which were provided to The Boston Globe. “Belief that the Army is headed in the right direction is positively related to morale.”

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