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July 19, 2006

Troop Morale Survey

First off - all the usual caveats about self-selecting surveys (they tend to skew because people who feel strongly one way or the other tend to select, vice the ones who care a lot less).

No huge surprise - the officers and the enlisted have, um, *differing* perceptions of things. I think the most interesting data are those for the junior officers - they have officer attitudes, are closest to the action, and have not yet been fully acculturated to caution.

Seventy-four percent of Stripes military readers in Iraq who responded to a readership survey said fighting the war for America was “very” or “somewhat” worthwhile. About a quarter of the respondents said it was “not very worthwhile” or “not worthwhile at all.”

Here's a little bit about the disconnect:

While half of the respondents between the ranks of E-1 and E-6 said their unit’s morale was somewhat low or very low, 82 percent of the commissioned officers who responded said they believed their unit’s morale was high or very high. The percentage of these officers rating their unit's morale as somewhat low or very low was 15 percent. Seventy-four percent of readers with ranks from E-7 to E-9 plus warrant officers rated their unit’s morale as high or very high.

This is the bit that I think is perhaps most useful - the junior officers, who are closest to the action yet should be invested in victory, so to speak - are not as sanguine about things in Iraq as their bosses are.

At the same time, although they rated their morale high, the junior officers, O-1 through O-3, were less inclined than others to feel that conditions in Iraq had improved compared to when they first arrived. Forty-eight percent of these officers believed conditions in the country had improved; 44 percent felt the conditions were the same or worse. Sixty-seven percent of enlisted believed conditions had improved, while 69 percent of officers O-4, or major, and above believed conditions had improved.

As a pulse check, fodder for further data collection. What say you guys?

If you can get to it, you can read the whole thing here (oddly enough, from behind the firewall at Fort Leavenworth, you can't *get* to the Stars and Stripes website, while I can from home and the corporate office).

John | Permalink | Comments (4) | Observations on things Military
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