The GAO has released a report stating that the Department of Defense needs to take into consideration the high level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury in service-members who are discharged for misconduct…

Although the brave men and women in uniform for the United States are some of the best, brightest, and strongest in the world – some leave their time in the military in less than honorable ways. A dishonorable discharge, something many employers will even ask about on pre-employment screening, is something that can harm a veteran’s career. The Government Accountability Office has found that many servicemembers who aren’t given honorable discharges, in fact, suffering from PTSD, TBI, or other mental and emotional disorders.

The Government Accountability office is suggesting that the Department of Defense take these illnesses into consideration when determining whether someone should be separated for misconduct. The GAO is telling multiple branches of the military that they need to be aware of the signs of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and take those signs and symptoms into account when considering dishonorable discharges and court-marshals.

The statistics released by the Government Accountability Office regarding members of the military suffering from these illnesses is tragically high among those discharged for misconduct:

GAO’s analysis of Department of Defense (DOD) data show that 62 percent, or 57,141 of the 91,764 servicemembers separated for misconduct from fiscal years 2011 through 2015 had been diagnosed within the 2 years prior to separation with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), or certain other conditions that could be associated with misconduct. Specifically, 16 percent had been diagnosed with PTSD or TBI, while the other conditions, such as adjustment and alcohol-related disorders, were more common.

Even more unfortunate, many of these servicemembers don’t receive an honorable discharge which can be quite damaging to a career…

Of the 57,141 servicemembers, 23 percent, or 13,283, received an “other than honorable” characterization of service, making them potentially ineligible for health benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The GAO included this graphic to highlight the prevalence of  such illnesses among servicemembers:

GAO

The GAO pointed out that they made five recommendations to the DOD, four of which they agreed to…

GAO is making five recommendations, including that DOD direct the Air Force and Navy to address inconsistencies in their screening and training policies and ensure that the military services monitor adherence to their screening, training, and counseling policies. DOD agreed with four of GAO’s recommendations, but did not agree to address inconsistencies in training policies. GAO maintains inconsistencies should be addressed, as discussed in the report.

Watch an Army Sergeant First Class give his dog tags to MILO:

Sources:

US Government Accountability Office