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Stigma of Mental Health Care in the Military

June 17, 2014 Comments off

Stigma of Mental Health Care in the Military (PDF)
Source: Naval Center for Combat & Operational Stress Control

While anti-stigma efforts have been employed throughout all branches of the military , research shows that the stigma of mental illness in the military remains high (Hoge et al., 2004; Hoge et al., 2006). Military anti-stigma efforts include but are not limited to the following: (a) the Department of Defense’s (DoD) $2.7-million campaign focused on decreasing stigma in all military branches by inviting service members to share their stories of seeking help; (b) implementation of the combat and operational stress control continuum, allowing service members to be classified as “ready,” “reacting,” “injured” or “ill” rather than the dichotomous labels of “ready” or “ill”; (c) the “Real Warriors Campaign ” anti-stigma initiative that invites successfully treated service members to share their experiences about the effective mental health treatments available; (d) the Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) program developed by the Marine Corps that embeds mental health professionals in infantry regiments, logistics groups and air wings to aid in early identification and treatment of combat stress; and (e) the integration of psychology into primary care settings throughout all branches of service. In addition, post-deployment mental health screenings have been mandated for all military personnel returning from combat that aim to better identify and refer to specialty care, service members who are suffering from post – traumatic stress, depression and alcohol problems. Unfortunately, many at – risk service members do not follow through with needed treatment (Milliken, Auchterlonie, & Hoge, 2007; Bray et al., 2009). Several factors influence an individual’s level of stigma and resulting treatment – seeking behaviors, such as (a) attitudes of higher ranking military leaders, (b) potential repercussions of admitting to mental health issues, (c) gender, (d) marital status and (e) previous history of seeking treatment. Considering that military service members are exposed to significant t raumas and other situations not experienced by the general U.S. population, it is important that these individuals believe it is acceptable to receive mental health treatment. The many factors influencing stigma and treatment – seeking behavior in the milita ry population are discussed throughout this review.

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Former Blue Angels’ CO Reprimanded at Admiral’s Mast (includes link to full report)

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Former Blue Angels’ CO Reprimanded at Admiral’s Mast
Source: U.S. Navy (U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs)

At an Admiral’s Mast proceeding on June 2, a former commanding officer of the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron – the Blue Angels – was found guilty of violating Uniform Code Military Justice articles 92 (failure to obey an order or regulation) and 133 (conduct unbecoming of an officer) by fostering a hostile command climate, failing to stop obvious and repeated instances of sexual harassment, condoning widespread lewd practices within the squadron, and engaging in inappropriate and unprofessional discussions with his junior officers.

As a result, Capt. Gregory McWherter was given non-judicial punishment in the form of a punitive letter of reprimand.

Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Harry Harris Jr., convened the Admiral’s Mast after an investigation he ordered found McWherter allowed his officers and senior enlisted personnel to engage in inappropriate and sexually harassing behavior that significantly contributed to an unprofessional command climate during his second command tour as the Blue Angels commanding officer from May 2011 to November 2012.

The investigation concluded that McWherter witnessed, condoned, and encouraged behavior that, while juvenile and sophomoric in the beginning, ultimately and in the aggregate, became destructive, toxic, and hostile. According to the investigation, at no time did the behavior lead to sexual assault.

Transgenders in the US military: policies, problems, and prospects

June 3, 2014 Comments off

Transgenders in the US military: policies, problems, and prospects (PDF)
Source: Naval Postgraduate School (thesis — Mendez)

This study explores the policies, problems, and prospects related to transgenders serving in the U.S. military. Simply defined, “transgender” refers to persons whose gender identity , behavior, or expression does not conform to their sex assigned at birth. Yet, as the present study shows, the terminology and associated issues are complicated and defy simple definitions. The U.S. military currently prohibits transgenders from joining or serving openly, as seen in policies and medical standards identified by the study. A number of other nations do not prohibit transgenders from serving in their military. The study focuses on the practices of two such nations, Australia and Canada. Also examined is the trend toward changing medical classifications of transgender, resulting from revised perspectives by the world’s most authoritative sources. Notably, these sources have shifted away from classifying gender incongruence as a disorder or placing it in a mental health category. The study concludes that medical reasons for excluding transgenders from the U.S. military are inconsistent with prevailing views. Several areas for further research are recommended.

Use of Social Media Networks and Mobile Phone Applications for Reporting Suspicious and Criminal Activities on Mass Transit

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Use of Social Media Networks and Mobile Phone Applications for Reporting Suspicious and Criminal Activities on Mass Transit
Source: Naval Postgraduate School

From the thesis abstract: “The threat of terrorism remains in the forefront daily, and public transportation systems remain a preferred target for terrorist attacks. Mass transit customers have long served as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the public transportation environment. In support of the Department of Homeland Security’s See It Say It campaign, mass transit customers contribute to this effort by reporting suspicious and criminal activities on subways and buses. The use of social media networks and mobile phone applications by mass transit law enforcement is slowly evolving as a tool for reporting suspicious and criminal activities on subways and buses. By reviewing the data and current use of social media networks and smartphone applications such as by mass transit law enforcement agencies, this thesis demonstrates that citizens want to play a role in assisting law enforcement in solving crimes. Mass transit law enforcement agencies can leverage community involvement and reduce crime by providing customers with an anonymous means for reporting suspicious and criminal activities. However, whether the use of social media networks and smartphone applications have resulted in an increase in reporting suspicious and criminal activities and a reduction in crime is unresolved, warranting future study in this area.”

Suicide Terrorism: A Brief Bibliography of Scholarly Resources, Updated 2014

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Suicide Terrorism: A Brief Bibliography of Scholarly Resources, Updated 2014
Source: Naval Postgraduate School (Dudley Knox Library)

This bibliography, compiled by Greta E. Marlatt at the Naval Postgraduate School, contains a list of resources related to suicide terrorism. Resources include both books and periodicals. The list is organized alphabetically and links to resources are provided when available electronically.

Active shooters: is law enforcement ready for a Mumbai style attack?

December 3, 2013 Comments off

Active shooters: is law enforcement ready for a Mumbai style attack? (PDF)
Source: Naval Postgraduate School

Between April 16, 2007, and December 14, 20 12, the United States has seen 25 mass shootings, seven of which occurred in 2012. A report by United States Department of Homeland Security, in 2009, suggested that the United States will be the target of a terrorist act that could cause a high number of casualties.

The November 26, 2008, attack on Mumbai is a transparent example of how determined terrorists, trained to die fighting, can bring a large metropolitan city to its knees. It is entirely probable that Mumbai – type attacks could occur in the United States. Since the local law enforcement respond to attacks in progress, any active shooter event would be handled by the local jurisdiction. Many law enforcement agencies have begun to incorporate tactical plans to respond to Mumbai – type terrorist a ttacks.

This thesis focused on police preparedness of select large metropolitan law enforcement agencies for potential Mumbai – type terrorist attacks. A comparative analysis of these police agencies was conducted, which showed that the frequency of trainin g was found to be varying and inadequate by these agencies. A similar concern was that none of the agencies had equipped all the police officers with rifles, which were deemed critical to engage well – equipped active shooters.

It is the conclusion of the thesis that gaps in preparedness exist and law enforcement organizations have room for improvement. It was also concluded that agencies need to enhance communication capability between neighboring jurisdictions and focus on triage of the victims during t he early stages of attacks when medical personnel would be unable to approach.

Preventing School Shootings: A Public Health Approach to Gun Violence

October 22, 2013 Comments off

Preventing School Shootings: A Public Health Approach to Gun Violence
Source: Naval Postgraduate School (via Homeland Security Digital Library)

From the thesis abstract: “Gun violence in America must be addressed at the highest levels of society. Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech were attacks on the very fabric of America. School shootings represent attacks on our nations’ future. A public health approach to gun violence focuses on prevention. Public safety professionals, educators and community leaders are squandering opportunities to prevent horrific acts of extreme violence. Preparedness is derived by planning, which is critical to mobilizing resources when needed. Rational public policy can work. Sensible gun legislation, which is accessible through a public health approach to gun violence, neither marginalizes nor stigmatizes any one group. University administrators must fully engage the entire arsenal of resources available to confront this pernicious threat. The academic community can create powerful networks for research, collaboration and information sharing. These collective learning environments are investments in the knowledge economy. In order for the police to remain relevant, they must actively engage the community they serve by developing the operational art necessary to cultivate knowledge, relationships and expertise. Police departments must emphasize strategies that improve performance. Police officers must understand the mission and meaning of ‘To Protect and Serve’ and the consequences of public safety, which often comes at their personal peril. Gun violence in America is a public health epidemic and preventing it requires a collective responsibility.”

An exploratory study of pre-admission predictors of hardiness and retention for United States Military Academy cadets using regression modeling

August 6, 2013 Comments off

An exploratory study of pre-admission predictors of hardiness and retention for United States Military Academy cadets using regression modeling (PDF)
Source: Naval Postgraduate School

This study uses regression techniques on United States Military Academy (USMA) cadet/ candidate data in order to develop a hardiness – prediction model and explore retention during and af ter gradua tion from USMA. We created several data sets using 42 variables from three cohorts (N= 3,716) and analyzed them using regression techniques. Preliminary results showed high school type and the interaction between gender and parents’ education le vel as significant. Specifically, private religious high schools and male cadets with less – educated fathers are positive predictors of hardiness ( R 2 = 0.05 ).

Model quality improved in subsequent regressions by identifying a target population. Among varsity football players (N= 149), less – educated mothers and liberal political views are negative predictors of hardiness while race and parents’ military service history (African Americans with fathers who served in the military) and prep school attendance are positive predictors of hardiness ( R 2 = 0.97 ).

Logistic regression results suggest military, physical, and academic performance are positive predictors of USMA retention while hardiness – challenge, participation in varsity athletics, and less – educated fathers are negative predictors.

Logistic regression results identified basic branch as the sole positive predictor of U.S. Army officer retention beyond a USMA graduates’ sixth year of active federal service. Infantry officers, followed by military police, arm or and engineers, remain i n service longer (medical corps and aviation branch officers excluded).

Faded Colors: From the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) to the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS)

May 21, 2013 Comments off

Faded Colors: From the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) to the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) (PDF)

Source: Naval Postgraduate Center

After the events of 9/11, Homeland Security Presidential Directive – 3 (HSPD – 3) established the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) to provide a comprehensive and effective means to di sseminate information regarding the risk of terrorist acts to federal, state, and local authorities and the American people. Under HSAS, threat levels were raised or lowered 16 times, but never below Threat Level Yellow (Elevated Condition). HSAS should ha ve been straightforward and easy to understand. What evolved was confusion over alerts, lack of specific threat information, concerns over costs to institute and maintain protective measures, and questions regarding what was expected of citizens. Governmen t agencies, the private sector, and the general population became immune with the threat level remaining at or above Yellow.

HSAS was woefully misunderstood not just by the general population, but also within federal, state, and local governments. Ridicul ed by comedians, HSAS gradually began to disappear, to the point where it was necessary to search to find the current threat level, whereas it had once been prominently posted. The purpose of this thesis is to review HSAS and the associated problems, look at comparable international systems, and present an alternative recommendation to provide timely and informative warnings of terrorist threats, and restore credibility by merging HSAS with the already existing DoD force protection conditions.

Management of the Severely Mentally Ill and its Effects on Homeland Security

March 4, 2013 Comments off

Management of the Severely Mentally Ill and its Effects on Homeland Security (PDF)

Source: Naval Postgraduate School

As a result of the events of September 11, 2001, law enforcement agencies nationwide have been assigned a plethora of terrorism prevention and recovery related duties. Many federal documents outline and emphasize duties and responsibilities pertaining to local law enforcement. The prevention of acts of terrorism within communities has become a focal point of patrol activities for state and local police agencies. Simultaneously, local law enforcement is dealing with the unintended consequences of a policy change that in effect removed the daily care of our nation’s severely mentally ill population from the medical community and placed it with the criminal justice system. This policy change has caused a spike in the frequency of arrests of severely mentally ill persons, prison and jail population and the homeless population. A nationwide survey of 2,406 senior law enforcement officials conducted within this paper indicates that the deinstitutionalization of the severely mentally ill population has become a major consumer of law enforcement resources nationwide. This paper argues that highly cost-effective policy recommendations exist that would assist in correcting the current situation, which is needlessly draining law enforcement resources nationwide, thereby allowing sorely needed resources to be directed toward this nation’s homeland security concerns.

United States Marine Corps Reserve First Term Attrition Characteristics

May 26, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Naval Postgraduate School
This thesis examines the effect of attrition on USMCR NPS marines who enlisted with a 6X2 contract in FY 1994–2005. Three cohorts were established to determine if the events of September 11, 2001 had any impact on attrition rates with this population. The Pre-9/11 cohort enlisted in FY 1994–1995 and was used as a control group. The Overlap-9/11 cohort enlisted in FY 1996–2001, had no expectation of deployment but many did deploy in support of the Global War on Terrorism. The Post-9/11 cohort enlisted in FY 2002–2005 after 9/11 with full expectation to deploy.
The analysis included previous attrition studies, descriptive statistics, and two different probit regression models to determine the effects of various characteristics on attrition. The variables analyzed included deployment variables, demographics, education and aptitude variables, and regional areas.
The thesis found a decrease in attrition from the Pre-9/11 cohort to the Post-9/11 cohort. This was most likely caused by an increasing unemployment rate and deployments overseas. Deployments to combat areas decreased the probability of attrition. The other variables remained constant throughout the cohorts with predicted results. Overall, attrition is lower after 9/11 but as the economy improves and deployments decrease, attrition could return to Pre-9/11 levels.
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