Unit cohesion is essential to efficiently and effectively accomplish the mission.
This cohesion relies on a very delicate balance of varied factors: discipline, morale, motivation, leadership, and trust. These factors are all equally important, of which if any were to fail then the unit as a whole suffers. Of those factors, trust is the most difficult to build; and once lost is devastating to the other factors. Workplace violence is a sensitive topic for many people, for varying reasons. Perhaps, those individuals are victims of such incidents, or have perpetrated acts of workplace violence, or even have considered it. Acts of workplace violence are becoming increasingly common, according to the United States Department of Labor Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary (2017):Fatal work injuries involving violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased by 163 cases to 866 in 2016. Workplace homicides increased by 83 cases to 500 in 2016, and workplace suicides increased by 62 to 291. This is the highest homicide figure since 2010 and the most suicides since CFOI began reporting data in 1992.
(p. 1)Indisputably, workplace violence is increasing; however, what is not conveyed from those statistics is the psychology and common issues that cultivate and produce such staggering numbers. Social media has fundamentally changed the way individuals interact and exchange ideas. Expressions and thoughts are no longer limited to conventional means of personal interactions, instead being exchanged over alternative means of communication.
Although some may argue that this is a benefit, I believe that it is detrimental to both society and individuals as a whole. The ability to interact with others without face to face interaction fosters an environment of impersonality, distance, and dehumanization. Historically, usage of social media can be linked to various domestic terrorists, school-shooters, and culprits of workplace violence. Psychological profiles of commonalities of these types of people show that typically these individuals suffer from social media usage. Workplace ViolenceCommon Issues Typically, if one was to ask oneself or others what constitutes workplace violence the usual response would be a physical altercation or assault. However, workplace violence encompanses a broader selection of events and behaviors.
According to the United States Department of Labor Workplace Violence Program (DOLWVP), “there are far more incidents of violence that do not involve casualties but have the same traumatic effects” (p. 1). Definitions from the DOLWVP of workplace violence include: Physical assault upon oneself or another person; actions which damage, destroy, or sabotage property; intimidating or frightening others; harassing…showing undue focus on another person; verbal abuse including offensive, profane and vulgar language; and threats (direct and indirect).
.. (p. 1).
After reviewing what the Department of Labor considered workplace violence, one might be astounded by how much was encompassed by that term. What some may consider playful banter between co-workers is actually defined as workplace violence according to the U.S. federal government. Workplace violence is often preventable, although it is difficult for individuals to determine if a situation will result in violence. Workplace violence is a very complex issue and resolutions are often difficult to determine when faced with.
Often individuals dismiss some of these forms of workplace violence such as intimidation, verbal abuse, and threats between service members as this is often considered the de facto way of the Army. This is quite unfortunate because it breeds an environment and military society where these types of behaviors are commonplace and accepted. What often results from situations such as this, is when individuals take this freedom too far and believe they are above reproach for their actions. These individuals often have a history of physical violence that no one has reported or intervened, either by fear of retaliation or because they believe it is normal and acceptable.
In a 2008 investigation by a task force of expert medical personnel and field-grade military officers (Milikan, 2012), the task force found that there was: Mixed support from command and peers for getting help, but on the whole, command and peers did not promote help-seeking. In some cases, leadership verbally supported help-seeking, but their actions contradicted their message and ultimately discourage help-seeking (Milikan, p. 407).This seems to be a common sentiment of junior enlisted personnel army-wide, as soldiers often refuse to seek out treatment because of the social stigma associated with seeking aid. This revelation was revealed after conducting an extensive study of multiple brigade combat teams at Fort Carson as ordered by the Commanding General of the post. The study revealed that individuals who were incarcerated or pending UCMJ action of violent crimes shared sociological and environmental factors. These individuals often received enlistment waivers for violent crimes in their past, had alcohol dependencies, and typically conducted themselves as if they were above reproach for their actions. Note that there is not a proven link between workplace violence and soldiers who received enlistment waivers, but shared common pre-existing issues that often resulted in UCMJ action.
Some would argue that this pattern of lenience can be attributed to a changing Army of acceptance and need, yet when how many incidents of servicemember (SM) on SM violence have occured over the past few decades are taken into account, it shows that this is a military-wide issue. The taskforce also found that stigma, defined by the team as “a key barrier to seeking mental health care” (Milikan, p. 408), was viewed differently across the ranks of soldiers.
The study found that:Junior-enlisted soldiers…reported being viewed as “weak” or labeled “bad soldiers” by peers if they sought mental health care or received mental health diagnoses. Peer perceptions and personal factors were reported at least as important in perpetuating stigma as leadership issues. The junior-enlisted groups expressed fear of retaliation for seeking mental health care (i.e.
being ridiculed or treated differently by unit leaders and fellow soldiers). Senior-enlisted groups reported concerns seeking mental health care would reflect negatively on their leadership abilities…reporting “if you go to see someone, you’re committing career suicide” (Milikan, p. 409).The stigma behind seeking medical treatment for personal issues prevents soldiers from seeking the treatment that they need, and most often require. This causes a downward spiral of cause and effect where soldiers refuse to seek treatment and then the soldier’s issues cause an incident.
Between 2003 and 2008, the Army saw an increase of rates of arrest for major crimes including murder and sexual-related incidents. Fort Carson, however, specifically had an abnormal increase compared to other installations Army-wide. In 2003 the rate was “~14 per 10,000 vs. ~9 per 10,000” (Milikan, p.
407). In 2008 the rate was “~23 per 10,000 vs. 14 per 10,000” (Milikan, p. 407). This increase resulted from a variety of factors, primarily soldiers refusing to seek treatment post-deployment from Iraq, and secondarily because of prior pre-existing issues such as alcohol abuse and violent tendencies.
//engage with findings of Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention Report of 2010 ordered by General Peter J Chirarelli// //social stigma reinforcement /w willingness to seek treatment and stress early intervention by soldiers and command teams WITH UNDERSTANDING OF RISK FACTORS AND HOW TO PROPERLY RESPOND//Historical Incidents U.S. Army soldiers are indoctrinated and trained during Basic Combat Training to close with, engage, and destroy enemy combatants with extreme prejudice. To achieve this indoctrination, soldiers are broken down from their civilian identities and built layer by layer into trained combatants. Soldiers are encouraged and molded to achieve an incredible level of aggression and dehumanization to be able to eliminate threats without hesitation. This trait is essential in a warzone, but has the potential to cause strife and conflict in a garrison environment. Soldiers molded and indoctrinated to adopt and live that type of mentality will always carry that with them, either consciously or subconsciously.
The military relies on the temperament and instincts of recruits toward violence to prepare recruits and mold them into the fighting force required of today’s Army. Unfortunately, the realities of this preexisting mentality and combat-oriented conditioning often cannot be contained, of which the effects spill over to other aspects of soldiers lives. The Fort Carson epidemiologic investigation conducted by the special task force found that the soldiers allegedly involved in crimes at Fort Carson were, in retrospect, at risk for “engaging in violent behavior based on a clustering of known risk factors for violence.
These included prior criminal behaviour and psychopathology (particularly, alcohol/drug disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders) (Milikan, p. 409). Analysis of enlistment waiver data showed that there was not a significant link between moral waivers and violent behaviors or crime. According to the USAREC Waivers Briefing, G-1, Department of Military Personnel Management during February of 2009, approximately 14% of total U.S. Army recruits were granted moral enlistment waivers during the years of 2007 and 2008 (USAREC, 2008). Although it was shown that there was no significant link between waivers and violent behaviors, it was shown that soldiers who received enlistment waivers for alcohol/drug related offenses were more prone to being discharged from the Army for misconduct and/or violations of regulations.
The study by the task force also found that:Similar character traits may exist between developmental pathways leading to aggression and the types of misconduct covered by moral enlistment waivers granted to U.S. Army recruits.
If true, soldiers with known criminal activity (before or during enlistment) may represent a population with higher preexisting risk factors for negative behaviors, including substance abuse and propensity for rule-breaking behavior…and the existence of multiple comorbid risk factors in individuals may pose the greatest risk for potential risk for potential expression of violent behavior (Milikan, p. 409).This risk of potential outbursts of violent behavior degrades soldier readiness and a unit’s overall ability to conduct its assigned mission effectively.