First came the casualties-the grim tally of military dead and wounded. Then, as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continued, came post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) among the troops who came home.
Now the U.S. military is coping with a high-profile incidence of psychological and behavioral problems among troops-from drug addiction, major depression, and suicide to spousal abuse and other violence, rising divorce rates, crime, heavy drinking, and maltreatment of children. And the situation is getting new attention from military medical personnel, top defense officials, veterans' groups, and Congress.
Last year six Soldiers from units at Fort Carson, Colorado, were accused of killing eight people over the previous 12 months. The case set off a crash investigation to find what prompted the shooting spree and has made Fort Carson an icon, underscoring the need to tackle the increased behavioral problems among service veterans more effectively. The report, issued in July, said the effects of exposure to combat had been a factor.