July 11, 2017
Greetings from the UK.
I’m reaching out to let you know about some of our research into military recruitment, the effects of military training, and the mental health of veterans, which I hope might be of some use to you in the US.
In particular, the work looks in detail at military marketing strategies, the psychological impact of military employment, and the child rights issues arising from enlisting under the age of 18.
The most recent report, released last week by Veterans for Peace UK, is The First Ambush? Effects of army training and employment, which is based mainly on studies published in the UK and US.
Several other reports of this kind cover other parts of the military recruitment and employment pathway.
Even though some of the reports are focused on the British situation, much of the data and many of the arguments could be used in other countries too. Some of the reports are quite long but each has a short executive summary.
Here is a list:
- The First Ambush? Effects of army training and employment (Veterans for Peace UK, 2017)
- The Last Ambush? Aspects of mental health in the British armed forces (ForcesWatch, 2013)
The following are focused on the enlistment of minors:
- The recruitment of children by the UK armed forces: A critique from health professionals (Medact, 2016)
- Is it counter-productive to enlist minors into the army? (RUSI Journal, 2016) [this presents a child rights, military and financial case for raising the enlistment age to 18]
- Young age at army enlistment is associated with greater war zone risks (ForcesWatch and Child Soldiers International)
You can google any of the titles to get straight to the docs.
Collectively, the research shows comprehensively that enlisting in the armed forces (particularly the army/marines) carries high risks of a negative impact on health, attitudes, behaviour, and socioeconomic outcomes. The youngest recruits are most affected, but older recruits are also affected. The research goes some way to quantifying these effects.
I wrote or co-wrote some of these reports and can answer any questions you may have.
I wish our work was more linked up with yours in the US – perhaps I should have contacted you earlier!
Since I really don’t know who’s working on this in the US, would you please send this on to any other organisations you think might be interested? Feel free to pass on my email address, too.
Finally, if you have any similar research that you would like us to know about in the UK, I and others here would be glad to hear of it.