In the absence of a decision, morale can decline.
"It has nothing to do with the politics; it's, 'What do you expect of me? Is this mission valued? And are we going to move forward as we were trained or are we not? Are we going to keep pulling back?' That uncertainty -- it puts into the mix unease. And yes, that affects people psychologically.
U.S. Army officials point to a lack of mental health professionals in the field as part of the reason for the sagging morale, and they're trying to change that. They say they are on track to fulfill their goal of having one mental health worker for every 700 U.S. soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan by the end of the year.
In his weekly address Saturday, he made this promise, "We owe our troops prayerful, considered decisions about when and where we commit them to battle to protect our security and freedom, and we must fully support them when they are deployed.
"We also owe them the absolute assurance that they'll be safe here at home as they prepare for whatever mission may come. As commander-in-chief, I won't settle for anything less," he said.