Over the past 13years, hundreds and thousands of our youths have been deployed to various countries to maintain peace. These deployments involve long stays in the war zone areas separating them from their family and their loved ones. Unfortunately, the past and the current government administrations have not been able to aide in the effective delivery of the service members and the Quality of life for these armed youths. With these adverse conditions, it can be observed that the rate at which the service members have been conducting suicide is increasing each year. The number of service men who have committed suicide is noted to be higher than those who have been killed in the battle ground. There are over 516,273 United States service members in over 150 foreign nations in the world, this is a high number and the government needs to step up measures on how to manage them effectively (Deployment of US troops, 2009). Poor management can be blamed solely for the low quality of life offered to the service members deployed in various parts of the country by the military. There have been outcries from various NGOs’ for the government to soften the stand on the military service members. Some of the NGOs’ have also resulted in taking initiative to help the service members of the United States army deployed countries feel like part of America. Even though it’s a common belief among top military officials that comfortable deployments will make soldiers soft and lose focus on the mission, the quality of life should be improved because it will reduce stress, increase output and increase unit readiness.
Military is like any other business organization, this means that its structure and management should be made in a systematic way to help in efficient management. Over time, the Department of defense has been enhancing on how it will be governing the Military coming up with ways that are of use to improving its operations and the quality of life. In the military, the quality of life can be defined as the provision of adequate, appropriate and equitable leisure, working and living conditions with the available resources as per the military and the political considerations. Also, it can be defined as the provision of the required facilities in accordance with the ‘quality of life’ standards. This means that the department of defense has an obligation to its employees just like any other organization has an obligation to its employees. This obligation involves the right to provision of facilitates and resources that result in quality life to the employees.
Over the past few years, there have been speculations that the department of defense has been neglecting the quality of life of its service members. It is said the military employees suffer a lot when it comes to the working conditions they face and the government has not taken measures to uplift their morale by improving their quality of life. Deployment of the service members involves changing their living conditions and also separating them from their friends and family. The country has spent over $2 billion over the past few years to build camps and sustain the service members in these regions but this is not enough to keep their quality of life. A study was carried out and it was found that only 29% of the service members enjoy the quality of life in the camps oversees (Voelker, Saag, & Clarke, 2002). This is a very low number and much more need to be done in order to ensure that the quality of the service member is maintained at an acceptable level.
Improvement of the quality of life of the service members can be done in the following ways: More Base pay; Better barracks/housing/increased housing allowance; a generous retirement package; better healthcare; Increase in promotion rates; decrease in the deployment rates; increased bonuses; tax free payments to the military employees; education opportunities; guaranteed assignment; better standards of living in the camps; increased recreation facilities; increased family time (Pierce, 2009). These are some of the ways the department of defense can raise the quality of life for the service members in various camps and those who have already completed their assignments.
One thing to note is that there implementation is not as easy as it looks. In the few years that have passed the country’s budget has been going up progressively making it hard for the country to afford most of the services to its service members in the various camps. This is not only the problem at hand but; research was conducted at it showed that making the military men comfortable will decrease their service efficiency. It is said that they need to be isolated and a constant reminder be set in their mind through the environment that they are facing a hard task ahead (Blumenthal, 2012). Increasing in their leisure time will make them softer and create distractions making them too relaxed to carry out their duties efficiently.
With these in consideration, there has been a problem with the government not being in a position to decide on the appropriate quality of life to give to their service members. Though the military can be associated to a business in its management, it is differentiated from the same in various ways including its functions and handling of its procedures. Therefore, the government needs to find the appropriate measure of quality of life, not giving them too much comfort but affording them enough leisure time to enable them work more efficient.
Deployment of service members has been noted have devastating results to the service members in general. In this case, deployment refers to both the training period and the deployment to the various camps overseas. It can be noted that people are different and people respond differently to different trainings and different environments. The military therefore needs to put this into consideration to try minimizing the casualties of stress and depression in the military.
Over the past few years since military deployment started, it can be noted that for every five service members, one of them must show signs of depression and post-traumatic stress. This is due to the different reaction rates to the environment they are exposed to during training and deployment. A study was conducted and it was found out that nearly 30% of the troops deployed in the Middle East suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD (Kaplow, Layne, Saltzman, Cozza & Pynoos, 2013). Soldiers who are exposed to repeated deployments have a 50% chance that they suffer from PTSD than service members who are deployed only once. The studies concluded that length and frequency in the warzones are the main factors that determine the mental health of a service member. The year 2006 saw the number of suicide rates by service members to be the highest in the American history. This can be blamed on the stress associated with deployments and training. This statistics show that the suicide rate in the year 2006 had doubled as compared to the year 2001. 55% of the suicides in the few couple of years involved servicemen who had served in the Middle East over the last five years or had served there over the last five years (Deployment of US troops, 2009).
Quality comfort will help to minimize problems caused by stress training and deployments. Stress training and deployments results in the above mentioned effects hence their effects are not desirable at all. On the other hand, quality comfort results in the service members being in a better position to perform their services efficiently and overcome stress and depression. To ensure Quality comfort is ensured in the military, policies should place in order to reduce the number of deployments a service member could be exposed to and the number of months service members can stay overseas. The longest tour for service members stands at 15months on which troops stayed in the Middle East. It can also be noted that 13 of 43 troops serving in the Army overseas have been re-deployed, meaning it is not their first deployments. Such cases should be avoided in order to maintain quality comfort for the service men and minimize stress and depression among them.
In our modern world, there exist modern ways to manage and operate organizations. It can be noticed that all higher performing organizations have adopted the modern ways to govern their organizations resulting to higher productivity (Samson & Terziovski, 1999). Traditional means are being over-thrown by the modern ways of management. Less firms operating using the traditional methods are seen to be performing well in the market. This brings a need for the government to include these modern management techniques in its administration process specifically in the department of defense.
It can be seen that quality affects the soldiers in various ways. This has an effect to the services they offer as they are mostly affected mentally than physically. Quality can result in the empowerment of the soldiers’ lives resulting to empowerment in their engagement in the process. This means that the government should consider all avenues in which they should increase the quality of life of the soldiers hence their performance. Total quality approach involves the management way of making sure of long-term success through customer and employee satisfaction. With these in mind, the management would be in a better position to know of the ways to increase the quality of life for its employees. In our case, the department of defense should consider the finances, family life, medical care and the standards of living as they are the most important aspects to the military. This will result in better quality of life hence increasing their performance in the end.
Quality of life for the service members in the military need to be put into consideration in order to increase their efficiency, over the past few years, mostly during the bush administration, the quality of life for service members was at its lowest with only 20% of the service members saying they are comfortable with the quality of life they are experience. The rest 80% confirmed that they are leaving in harsh environments and the facilities that are accorded to them are not conducive. Over 30% of the service members do suffer from one or two mental issues hence showing the effects deployments has on their mental health. But the country cannot do without the presence of the military. The quality of life also cannot be raised to high making the soldiers comfortable as it will also make them in-effective. With these, the department of defense needs to come up with ways to ensure the right quality of life is maintained within the military.
Military deployments are critical to the national security of the United States. This country has prided itself on treating its military and veterans with respect and care. However, as President John F. Kennedy once said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
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