Posted on Dec 3, 2015
MSgt Curtis Ellis
39.6K
27
14
5
5
0
I'm happy this is happening as soon as it is. I hope something beneficial and productive comes of this for our veterans, and hopefully, lessons are learned to ensure better programs are put in place for transitioning our future veterans.

"The NPR, in October, reported that the Army, since 2009, has separated 22,000 soldiers for misconduct after they returned from Iraq or Afghanistan and had been diagnosed with mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. Murphy and 11 fellow senators called on the military to investigate the allegations in a Nov. 4 letter to senior Army leaders."

The Army will conduct a “thorough, multidisciplinary review” in response to a call from a group of 12 senators to investigate reports that the service discharged for misconduct as many as 22,000 soldiers who had been diagnosed with mental health problems.

“We strive to have a process that is fair, objective and deliberate, and that ensures due process and the maintenance of good order and discipline within the ranks,” Acting Army Secretary Eric K. Fanning wrote in a letter to Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. “The decision to separate a soldier from the Army for any reason is not an easy one, which is why we require a thorough review of the facts in each and every case. Nevertheless, I appreciate the concerns you raised in your letter and take them very seriously.”

To address those concerns, Fanning directed the assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs to “conduct a thorough, multidisciplinary review of the issues you raised,” Fanning wrote in the Nov. 30 letter.

The team tasked with the review will include the Army’s inspector general and auditor general, Fanning wrote.

The letter was released by Murphy’s office.

National Public Radio in October reported that the Army, since 2009, has separated 22,000 soldiers for misconduct after they returned from Iraq or Afghanistan and had been diagnosed with mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

Murphy and 11 fellow senators called on the military to investigate the allegations in a Nov. 4 letter to senior Army leaders.

We are troubled by recent allegations that the U.S. Army is forcefully separating for misconduct service members diagnosed with PTSD or TBI,” they wrote. “We are concerned that it may be easier to discharge service members for minor misconduct — possibly related to mental health issues — than to evaluate them for conditions that may warrant a medical discharge.”

As a result, they said, many of these soldiers will not receive “crucial” retirement, health care and other benefits. These actions also may discourage other service members from seeking the medical help they need, the lawmakers said.

Murphy on Thursday released a statement saying he was “especially troubled” to learn of reports of the soldier separations, and he applauded the Army’s decision to conduct a review.

“I’m relieved that the U.S. Army is conducting a thorough investigation into what may have gone wrong and remain optimistic that they will fix their mistakes," he wrote.

In addition to the newly-directed review, the Army has in place a process to review discharges of soldiers who were separated for misconduct but who also were diagnosed with PTSD or TBI, Fanning wrote in his letter.

According to federal law, the Army Discharge Review Board expedites the review of applicants who request a change in the characterization of their discharge due to a diagnosis of PTSD or TBI, he wrote. In these cases, a physician participates as a board member, as required by the law, Fanning wrote.

The Army also has, over the last five years, put in place several steps to review and improve its behavioral health programs and administrative procedures, he said.

They include:

• Establishing a task force to conduct an extensive review of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System and implementing more than 45 recommendations to improve the system.

• Establishing an immediate appeal process where a soldier in the administrative separation process who does not agree with his or her diagnosis can receive, upon request, a second opinion.

• Establishing 58 new behavioral health clinics embedded at the brigade level. These clinics have resulted in an increase in consultations, from 900,000 in 2007 to more than two million in 2014.

• Publishing extensive policies to guide the diagnosis and treatment of soldiers with PTSD and establishing numerous avenues for care, including 11 intensive outpatient programs at Army installations with the highest number of deploying combat units.

“Know that the entire senior Army leadership, our commanders in the field, and every Army leader are committed to ensuring soldiers get the care they need,” Fanning wrote. “We are working diligently to provide soldiers the best medical treatment available while on active duty, and to transition them seamlessly to the Department of Veterans Affairs for treatment as they re-enter civilian life.”

http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/12/03/army-launches-review-soldier-misconduct-discharges/76731238/
Edited 4 y ago
Avatar_feed
Responses: 9
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
5
5
0
I'm really torn on this because I can "logically" see how this happens.

If you have a soldier experiencing what can best be described as "symptoms" of these conditions, the Command is NOT the best suited to identifying the difference between a "Mental Health" issue, and a "Misconduct" issue. They just aren't. How is an E5-E8 supposed to know the difference between a soldier under his charge who is acting out because he saw something he can't cope with, and a soldier who just doesn't care? These are the folks making recommendations to Captains to Colonels about the fates of these guys.

I don't doubt there were cases of "political expedience" and just getting the folks off the books, but I find it far more likely that we had folks who weren't screened ended up seeing the door.
(5)
Comment
(0)
Avatar_small
PO1 William "Chip" Nagel
3
3
0
I can see that throwing them out with a "Misconduct" is a Great/Horrible Cost Saving Measure for the Government, No Benefits, No Cost to the Government but it is definitely Disenguous. They served their Country and many were "Damaged" by what they saw and what they did and this caused them to act out in inappropirate ways. I am happy their cases are getting a second look.
(3)
Comment
(0)
Avatar_small
MSG Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
2
2
0
I can save the millions of dollars they are about to waste. A misconduct discharge goes through many levels of review before it is executed. They were separated due to their misconduct. PTSD is not a viable excuse for poor behavior. It sends a bad message when leadership and their decisions are undercut.
(2)
Comment
(0)
MSG Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
MSG (Join to see)
4 y
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS - This is simply an attempt to justify piss poor behavior by blaming PTSD. There are systems in place to assist leadership to make appropriate decisions in these situations. It is very simple. Actions have consequences.
(0)
Reply
(0)
MAJ Alvin B.
MAJ Alvin B.
4 y
Possibly. I expect that many of the discharges will be upheld. However, the IG has also reportedly confirmed that there were instances (perhaps widespread and systematic) at some installations that may indicate things were done improperly.
(2)
Reply
(0)
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
4 y
MSG (Join to see) - I agree actions have consequences. I also think that bureaucracies tend to ignore People, and the Army (military in general) is one of the biggest Bureaucracies there is. As MAJ Alvin B. said, the IG has confirmed there were instances (possibly systemic) where things were done improperly. Does this surprise you? If this was 1 soldier or 10, or even 100.. I'd lean HEAVILY towards your side... but we're 2 orders of magnitude past that. We're talking 5%~ of the current Army. 10% of the current USMC. That's A LOT of folks. That is not the Army "getting it right 100% of the time."
(2)
Reply
(0)
MSG Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
MSG (Join to see)
4 y
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS - You are correct that is a lot of folks that committed misconduct and are now trying to make an excuse to justify why they acted in the manner they did. So rather than hold them accountable for their actions, the proposed solution is to investigate the command because they must have committed misconduct of their own by making their subordinates accountable for their actions.
(0)
Reply
(0)
Avatar_small

Join nearly 2 million former and current members of the US military, just like you.

close
Seg?add=7750261&t=2