U.S. Army Stressed After Nearly a Decade of War

In one tragic case cited in the report, a soldier was accused of rape in 2000 and 2003, but a civilian law enforcement investigation could not provide enough evidence to prove the crimes occurred as alleged. In 2004 the same soldier was accused of raping three females and again in 2005 for indecent assault and indecent exposure. He was finally convicted of the 2004 rapes.

"When known criminals are not removed from the force, it sends a message to the rest of the soldiers in the unit that high-risk behavior, such as drug use, is acceptable," the report says.

Compound Problems

The study found an overlap in destructive behavior by some solders. When it cross referenced over 10,000 cases of serial drug users with 2,405 alleged serial criminal offenders since 2001, it fond 1,675 soldiers appeared on both lists.

Ultimately, the report lays blame at the feet of Army leadership for failing to identify troubled soldiers and discipline those who commit crimes, suggesting that doing so only begets more problems.

"Soldiers who are prone to practice high-risk behavior have little reason to question consequence, as they see there will likely be none," the study says.

Still, the Army is also at war and faces the challenge of sending soldiers to both Iraq and Afghanistan. The study says "too many" soldiers entered the service on waivers and that "these soldiers may be among a critical mass that engages in high risk behavior and may commit suicide."

"These data suggest either commanders lack awareness of these increasing problems or they are ignoring risk factors to retain soldiers to maintain unit deployment strength. In either case the results are tragic," it says.

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