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Understanding Military Culture - Supreme Court

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Understanding Military Culture
Joshua Bode, LCSWVeterans Justice Outreach Coordinator, Boise VA Medical Center
Knowledge and understanding of military culture can lead to:
Increased ability to relate to and support your Veteran client resulting in a stronger therapeutic alliance - the strongest determinant of treatment outcome.Deeper understanding of the context for mental health symptoms and conditions.Improved treatment planning that is informed by increased military cultural knowledge.Increased appreciation for military service.
Learning about military culture includes a deeper understanding of both the:
Structure of the military such as branches and ranks.Missions, ideals and core values of military culture.
Learning Objectives
Become familiar with military terms and demographicsDescribe stressors in the militaryImplications for Treatment Court Teams
Service Branch Sizes
Female Service Members
Race Profile of Military
Diversity
33% of Active and 25% of Reserve Guard are racial/ethnic minorities.Representation of most of these groups are parallel or higher than general population.Asian and Hispanic representation is lower than general population
Military Branches
Army = SoldierAir Force= AirmanNavy= SailorMarine Corps= MarineCoast Guard= Guardian
Military Core Values
Army- Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal CourageAir Force- Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence In All We doCoast Guard- Honor and Integrity, Greater Good of the Coast Guard, Innovation, Personal Initiative, Drive for Success, and TeamworkMarines- Honor, Courage, CommitmentNavy- Honor, Courage, Commitment
Army Mission
Fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders.
Air Force Mission
To fly, fight, and win…in air, space and cyberspace.Distinctive CapabilitiesAir and Space SuperiorityGlobal AttackRapid Global MobilityPrecision EngagementInformation SuperiorityAgile Combat Support
Coast Guard Mission
The United States Coast Guard is a multi-mission, maritime military service within the Department of Homeland Security and one of the nation’s five armed services. Its core roles are to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America’s coasts, ports and inland waterways.
Navy Mission
The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.
Marine Corp Mission
The Marine Corps has been America's expeditionary force in readiness since 1775. We are forward deployed to respond swiftly and aggressively in times of crisis. We are soldiers of the sea, providing forces and detachments to naval ships and shore operations. We are global leaders, developing expeditionary doctrine and innovations that set the example, and leading other countries' forces and agencies in multinational military operations. These unique capabilities make us "First to Fight," and our nation's first line of defense
Military Rank
Enlisted Personnel (E-1 through E-9)Warrant Officers (W-1 through W-5)- highly specialized experts (2% of military)Commissioned Officers (O-1 through O-10)
MOS/NEC/AFSC
Marines, Army, and Coast Guard use MOS or Military Occupational SpecialtyNavy uses Navy Enlisted ClassificationAir Force uses Air Force Specialty Code
Military Status
Active DutyFull TimeReserve/GuardFederal/State39 days/yearTypically monthly drills two-week annual trainingMay be called to Active Duty for deploymentsLack the support system Active Duty has returning from deployment.
Military Acronyms and Terms
FRG= Family Readiness GroupARNG= Army National GuardFAC= Family Assistance CenterTAG= The Adjutant GeneralMOBEX= Mobilization ExerciseANG= Air National GuardTDY= Temporary DutyFOB= Forward Operations BaseOIC= Officer InChargeNCO = NoncommissionedOfficerNCOIC= Non-Commissioned Officer in ChargeJAG= Judge Advocate GeneralKIA= Killed In ActionMRE= Meals Ready to EatAIT= Advanced Individual TrainingUCMJ= Uniformed Code Military JusticeSARC= Sexual Assault Response CoordinatorNBC= Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Weaponry
Military Stressors
Life Threat (combat/deployment)LossInner ConflictWear and tear/lack of control
Military Sexual Trauma
Active Duty personnel (with reference to the past year) have experienced:Offensive sexual behavior: 52% of women and 29% of menUnwanted sexual attention: 31% of women and 7% of menSexual Coercion: 9% of women and 3% of menUnwanted sexual contact: 6.8% of women and 1.8% of menVA population (with reference to their entire military service) experienced:MST: 21.4% of women (48,106) and 1.1% of men (43,693)
MST Consequences
Distress and Mental IllnessLower physical health and self esteemMore severe PTSD symptoms.More severe consequences because:Interpersonal TraumaPerpetrated by someone who is presumably supposed to be protecting your lifeIt may not be possible to report the crime, for a variety of reasonsIt may be coupled with combat exposure as well
Impact of Combat
The level of combat is the main determinant of mental health statusDeployment Length, familyseperation, and number of deployments also a major factorSoldiers/Marines with mental health problems were more likely to mistreat non-combatants.
What’s Soldiers and MarinesExperienced
Saw dead bodiesHad been shot atKnow someone who was wounded or killedSaw injured or killed AmericansWas responsible for enemy deaths

Army Marines93% 94%93 9786 8765 7548 65
Rates of Mental Health Issues
Self-reported PTSD: 14.1%PTSD, Depression, or anxiety: 16.7%More than half of members positive for mental health problems would not seek care.60-90 days post deployment, mental health issues reported at following rates:Army 38%Marines 31%
Family Strain
Examples are Divorce and Family ViolenceHigh marital satisfaction typically but problems have increased over years due to deployments.Families are crucial for recovery and are often the first to recognize stress problems in service members.
Substance Use
No tolerance in Military for drug useAlcohol use is very acceptable and often times encouraged in some military unitsPrescription Drugs (narcotics particularly) have been used to keep people fightingVeterans tend to be more likely to abuse alcohol or prescription drugs due them being legal and accepted during military service
Battlemind
Buddies(cohesion) vs. WithdrawalAccountabilityvs. ControllingTargetedAggression vs. Inappropriate AggressionTacticalAwareness vs. HypervigilanceLethallyArmed vs. “Locked and Loaded” at HomeEmotionalControl vs. Anger/DetachmentMissionOperational Security (OPSEC) vs. SecretivenessIndividualResponsibility vs. GuiltNon-Defensive(combat) Driving vs. Aggressive DrivingDisciplineand Ordering vs. Conflict
Military Acronyms and Terms
FRG= Family Readiness GroupARNG= Army National GuardFAC= Family Assistance CenterTAG= The Adjutant GeneralMOBEX= Mobilization ExerciseANG= Air National GuardTDY= Temporary DutyFOB= Forward Operations BaseOIC= Officer InChargeNCO = NoncommissionedOfficerNCOIC= Non-Commissioned Officer in ChargeJAG= Judge Advocate GeneralKIA= Killed In ActionMRE= Meals Ready to EatAIT= Advanced Individual TrainingUCMJ= Uniformed Code Military JusticeSARC= Sexual Assault Response CoordinatorNBC= Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Weaponry
What do we learn from this?
Veterans have a history of pro-social behavior in most casesThey bring along a set of values instilled in them through military trainingThey are trained to a point in which their reaction is at times without thought. This is crucial in a combat situationOften times, the mental health issues we are dealing with are the result of trauma
How do we apply this?
Veterans have not lost those core values they have been taughtUnderstanding and emphatically addressing trauma history will reduce substance use and symptoms of PTSDRetraining is needed to allow veterans to step away from training that kept them safe in combat
How do we apply this? (cont.)
Sense of purpose is a major key in recovery for these veteransFamily is extremely importantListening is often times more important than understandingVeterans will strive in a situation where there are clear policies and structure

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Understanding Military Culture - Supreme Court