DISPOSABLE SOLDIERS DOCTRINE? Top Army Officer Gen Raymond Odierno Appears Oblivious to Army’s Greatest Future Challenge, Rampant Soldier Suicides  

The Army’s most senior officer by position, Army Chief of Staff Gen Raymond Odierno, recently spoke at a Washington, D.C. event to outline the future challenges facing the Army. The four-star general did not mention the epidemic of suicides among soldiers under his leadership. In 2012, the rate of suicide in the Army is on track to set a new all-time record since suicide statistics have been collected and reported publicly. At least 330 soldiers will die by suicide in 2012 at the current rate of nearly one per day. Through the month of September, at least 248 soldiers are thought to have died from suicide in 2012, according to DoD figures. (DoD)

Future of the Army

by General Ray Odierno
C-SPAN, Nov. 1, 2012

BLOGBACK: Army Chief of Staff Gen Raymond Odiernio spoke at length about the Army’s current and future rolls within the Defense Department during a briefing at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. The four-star general and top Army leader omitted any mention of the ongoing epidemic of soldier suicides within his service branch. One may perhaps conclude that the Army has accepted the unusually high rate of suicide as simply a cost of doing business. By avoiding the suicide issue altogether — an issue which DoD leader Leon Panneta described as one of the agency’s ‘top priorities’ — Odierno has essentially followed the lead of his commander-in-chief. President Obama has also carefully avoided discussions of military suicides in public; most notably during the three televised debates with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney (Romney also has avoided speaking of soldier suicides during the debates). According to the DoD and VA’s own data, at least 7,000 service members and veterans are killing themselves every year. The suicide situation seems to have evolved into America’s new ‘dirty little secret.’

General Ray Odierno talked about the future of the Army. Some of the topics he mentioned were the Defense Department budget, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays and lesbians in the military, and global threats. He said the Army had made deeper cuts than other branches of the military recently, and he vowed to maintain readiness at all costs. General Odierno also answered questions from members of the audience.

View the full video briefing:


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