Army’s biggest failure: Losing the war on suicides

This week’s Army Times features a special report on suicide in the ranks, an epidemic that so far has defeated all efforts to bring it under control as the Army continues to lose more soldiers to suicide than to combat in Afghanistan.

So far this year, the Army has reported 212 suspected suicides — 132 active-duty soldiers and 80 National Guard or Army Reserve soldiers. During the same time period, January through August, the Army lost 171 soldiers in Afghanistan. In 2011, there were more than 1,000 known suicide attempts.

Army leaders don’t know why the service is seeing a spike in 2012, Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told Army Times.

Army plans uniform changes, seeks input

It may be the end of the road for the bemoaned blue Army Service Uniform.

Army Times reports that the brass on Sept. 17 launched an online survey to find out what soldiers think about the ASU.

Soldiers have through mid-October to let their voices be heard. The survey is at and Army Knowledge Online.

Ousting the blue uniform is not the stated goal, officials said. Rather, the survey is a tool to ensure the ASU is the best it can be, and there are dozens of items addressed — everything from design, material and fit to the placement of unit insignia and tabs is on the table.

Candidates views on 7 issues essential to military voters

Obama: “Let’s stop playing politics with our military. Let’s get serious and reduce our deficit and keep our military strong. Let’s take some of the money that we’re saving because we’re not fighting in Iraq and because we’re winding down in Afghanistan — use half that money to pay down our deficit; let’s use half of it to do some nation-building here in the United States of America.” — July 23, before the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev.

Romney: “We have two courses we can follow: One is to follow in the pathway of Europe, to shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs. The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world.” — May 28, at the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in San Diego.

The issue of Army Times now on the newsstands compares Obama against Romney on issues of key importance to military voters.

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