Less Than Half of U.S. Army Officers in Afghanistan Report High Morale

By Patrick Burke | September 4, 2012 | 12:10 PM EDT

U.S. troops in Aghanistan. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – A 2011 army leadership survey found that only 48 percent of U.S. Army officers stationed in Afghanistan reported “high or very high” morale.

In contrast, 25 percent of officer respondents in Afghanistan said morale was “low or very low.”

“Fifty-nine percent of leaders at [U.S.] locations report high morale, which is higher than those in Afghanistan (48%) and Iraq (43%)," the survey said. "About one-fourth of deployed leaders report low or very low morale (25%) in Afghanistan and (24%) in Iraq, compared to 15% CONUS (continental United States),” the report said.

“For the two prior years, (the survey) found levels of high/very high morale in Afghanistan to range from 43-47 percent for [active] leaders and 51-58 percent for [reserve] leaders.”

Including army officers in all locations – not just Afghanistan -- the survey found that 53% of active duty respondents reported “high or very high” morale, which according to the survey was “largely unchanged” from the same figure in 2010.

Morale of officers in all locations was lowest among sergeants and staff sergeants, with only 40 percent of them categorizing morale as “high or very high.”

The 2011 Annual Survey of Army Leadership – based on the responses of 16,800 commissioned and non-commissioned officers -- is an internal survey that has been conducted by the U.S. Army annually since 2005. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 7 points.

“We, the Army, did this study on ourselves, this did not come from an outside source. We think we are the most introspective organization in the Nation and continually strive to get better.  We listen to our young leaders and value their input,” Lt. Colonel Jeff Allen said in a statement to CNSNews.com.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the 2011 army leadership survey also revealed that only 26 percent of active Army officers believe the U.S. Army is “headed in the right direction.”

Twenty-four percent of those who disagreed with the statement, “The Army is headed in the right direction to prepare for the challenges of the next 10 years,” cited political correctness and troop reductions as primary reasons for their disagreement.

“First, comments on downsizing of the force reflected concerns by leaders that troop reductions would significantly impact the Army’s ability to protect national interests abroad, as well as impact the Army’s ability to respond to future conflicts,” the report said.

“Secondly, several comments indicated that political correctness or the influence of politics in the Army is a reason the Army is not headed in the right direction.”