Losing the Suicide Battle?

A new report from the Center for a New American Security questions whether the alarming rise in suicides among service members and veterans is threatening the viability of the all-volunteer force. “If military service becomes associated with suicide, will it be possible to recruit bright and promising young men and women at current rates?” asks Losing the Battle: The Challenge of Military Suicides, released Monday. From 2005 to 2010, roughly one service member has taken his life every 36 hours, and one veteran commits suicide about every 80 minutes, according to the report. Although the number of suicides in the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard has remained relatively flat over the years, soldier suicides have steadily risen since 2004, reaching a record number in July, states the report. Marine suicides also have increased overall during that same period. Recent statistics also draw a parallel between combat deployments and suicides, contrary to what military leaders have previously believed, asserts the report.