Current operational tempo takes toll on soldiers, with many experiencing high levels of stress and burnout
The U.S. Army is facing growing concerns over the high operational tempo of its soldiers as overseas deployments reach the highest levels since the war on terror. The strain is leading to fears of burnout and retention issues, which could further hamper the branch’s ability to carry out its mission effectively.
According to data compiled by Military.com, there are currently about 120,000 Army personnel deployed abroad, a number comparable to those seen during the peak of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is putting a significant burden on a smaller force, leading to stress and difficulties for soldiers and their families.
“The average citizen doesn’t know how stressful this is on our families. I think it has been an incredible strain on our soldiers and our families,” said Sargent. Major of the Army Michael Grinston on Monday. “We have a 100 percent obligation to be ready for the worst-case scenario, so we have to go to the CTC [combat training center]. The American people would never forgive us if we sent soldiers to Europe that weren’t as trained as the best we could get.”
While there are currently no active large-scale conflicts for the Army to fight, the branch is still tasked with training for future wars. This goal has grown considerably more difficult in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which resulted in the deployment of thousands of U.S. troops to Europe to deter any future expansion by Russia.
The current operational tempo is taking a toll on soldiers, with many experiencing high levels of stress and burnout. One current soldier, speaking anonymously to Military.com, revealed that the strain has been hard on his family and has forced him to consider leaving the Army altogether.
These struggles with retention come at a time when the Army is already facing its largest recruiting crisis in decades, falling 15,000 members short of meeting its recruiting target in fiscal year 2022.
As the Army continues to face high operational tempo and retention challenges, it will need to develop effective strategies for recruiting and retaining personnel to ensure that it can carry out its mission effectively. Balancing the demands of training and preparedness with the well-being of its personnel will be essential for maintaining the Army’s readiness and capabilities for the future.