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Operation Iraqi Freedom - Troop Morale Survey

Posted By Blackfive • [April 26, 2004]

Some of you may have seen this already. It's a report put together by Charles Moskos - a world famous behavioral scientist (Northwestern University) who did extensive work on the all volunteer force and Army behaviors over time. I'll just post the survey results without editorial.

Subject: FW: OIF Survey report

31 March 2004

To: General John P. Abizaid, Central Command

From: Charles Moskos

Subject: Follow-Up Report on Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

This is a follow-up to the preliminary report on OIF dated 14 Dec 2003. Attached the tables of the OIF survey we conducted in December when in theater. The responses of our soldiers are much more positive than those usually reported in the media. Some highlights are given below.

1. The morale of the soldiers was higher than anticipated. In fact, junior enlisted and NCOs report almost identical morale as their WWII counterparts (table #17)! Not the officers though.

2. The survey data reinforce the interview data given in the preliminary report. Namely, reserve components had markedly lower morale than the active duty, BUT, the survey data show that RC lower morale is mainly due to the perception they are treated as second-class members of the Army (tables #3, #7, #8, #9), NOT with the mission itself (tables #1 and #2). This, in a sense, is good news because the problem is fixable. A listing of RC perceptions were covered in the preliminary report.

3. Compared to surveys conducted in earlier deployments in Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, the OIF soldiers are more optimistic about what their mission will accomplish (table #15).

4. A significant percentage report that OIF had made them more religious and regularly attended religious services. The role of the chaplaincy is central to troop morale and one that ought be supported further (table #12).

5. An open-ended question asked for the most difficult thing of the mission (table #20). Leading complaints were separation from family and climate; no big surprises there.

I placed the report within the Extended Section of this post:

December 2003 Sociological Survey on Operation Iraqi Freedom
Results April 2004
and
Demographics

Total surveyed: 389 soldiers serving in Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar


53% Active
23% Reserve
23% Guard


Primarily Deployed in:

16% Northern Iraq
42% Central Iraq/Baghdad
6% Southern Iraq
21% Kuwait
8% Qatar
7% Multiple locations


41% Enlisted
45% NCOs
14% Officers


87% Men
12% Women


10% Hispanic
18% Black
61% White
3% Asian
10% Other

1. How do you feel about the decision to deploy

U.S. military forces to Iraq?

 

 

Active

Reserve

Guard

Strongly agree

18%

23%

24%

Agree

36

37

42

Not sure

26

19

14

Disagree

12

16

19

Strongly disagree

8

5

1

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

2. How do you think Iraq is now?

 

 

Active

Reserve

Guard

Better off than before the war

62%

73%

67%

The same as before

22

20

20

Worse off than before

16

7

13

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

3. How well do you feel your training prepared you for this deployment?

 

 

Active

Reserve

Guard

Very well

14%

17%

9%

Well

31

13

13

Adequate

34

29

32

Not well enough

14

26

22

Poorly

8

16

24

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

4. What is your general opinion of the local people

where you have primarily served?

 

 

Active

Reserve

Guard

Mostly positive

14%

18%

21%

Somewhat positive

16

19

15

Mixed positive and negative

56

43

48

Somewhat negative

5

5

7

Mostly negative

4

6

6

Have had little or no contact

6

10

2

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

5. Has your attitude toward Muslims changed since you came over here?

 

 

Hispanic

Black

White

Much more positive

11%

6%

4%

A bit more positive

11

6

13

No change

60

77

49

A bit more negative

3

9

17

Much more negative

14

2

17

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

6. Which of the following most accurately reflects your feelings on American Muslim soldiers?

 

 

Hispanic

Black

White

I’d prefer to have a Muslim soldier in my unit

0%

6%

4%

I don’t care whether or not there is a Muslim soldier in my unit or not

94

86

81

I’d prefer not to have a Muslim soldier in my unit

6

8

14

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

7. If it were possible to volunteer for this deployment and

you had not been assigned, would you have volunteered?

 

 

Active

Reserve

Guard

Definitely yes

21%

25%

15%

Probably yes

26

15

19

Not sure

11

15

13

Probably not

15

11

21

Definitely not

27

35

32

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

8. What effect do you think this mission will have on your decision to reenlist/remain in the service?

 

 

Active

Reserve

Guard

It will make me more likely to reenlist/remain

6%

7%

2%

It will have little impact on my decision

37

19

21

It will make me less likely to reenlist/remain

49

63

67

Not sure

8

11

10

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

9. In general, how do you feel about Army life?

 

 

Active

Reserve

Guard

I like it very much

28%

15%

7%

I like it somewhat

43

49

44

I dislike it somewhat

19

22

31

I dislike it very much

10

15

19

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

10. In general, how do you feel most of the time, in good spirits or low spirits?

 

 

Active

Reserve

Guard

Usually low

12%

16%

13%

Sometimes good and sometimes low

45

51

44

Usually good

43

34

44

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

11. Has being deployed here had an effect

on your religious feelings?

 

Made me more religious

26%

Had no effect on my religious feelings

67

Made me less religious

7

 

Total

 

100%

12. Role of chaplains

1/3 of active duty soldiers and over 1/2 of reserve/guard soldiers

have attended a religious service by a chaplain,

1/4 of those attendees attend service weekly.

23% have had a chaplain help them with personal issues

while on the deployment

13. How often did you use email or the Internet in Iraq?

[for those who served in Iraq]

Daily

32%

Weekly

32

Monthly

10

Rarely or never

26

 

Total

 

100%

14. Top factors rated as “very important to morale” on this deployment

 

1. Communication with friends and family

2. My buddies

3. Spouse’s/partner’s attitude toward deployment

4. Support of the American people

15. How do you think [country of deployment] will be after American soldiers leave?

 

 

Haiti

(1994)

 

Bosnia

(1996)

Haiti

(1997)

Bosnia

(1998)

Kosovo

(2000)

Iraq

(2003)

Better off

than before

60%

35%

16%

33%

33%

65%

The same

as before

36

59

47

57

55

22

Worse off

than before

4

6

37

10

12

13

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

16. If it were possible to volunteer for this deployment and you had not been assigned, would you have volunteered?

 

 

Haiti

(1994)

 

Bosnia

(1996)

Haiti

(1997)

Bosnia

(1998)

Kosovo

(2000)

OIF

(2003)

Definitely/

Probably yes

45%

38%

48%

58%

58%

43%

Not Sure

 

10

13

6

8

9

12

Definitely/

Probably not

45

49

46

34

33

45

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

All mission survey data from Moskos/Miller research.

17. In general, how do you feel most of the time, in good spirits or low spirits?

 

WWII

Enlisted

OIF

Enlisted

WWII

NCO

OIF

NCO

WWII

Officer

OIF

Officer

Usually low

15%

18%

7%

8%

2%

14%

Sometimes good/low

55

52

45

46

24

35

Usually good

30

30

48

46

74

51

 

Total

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

100%

Question and WWII results from Samuel A. Stouffer, et al., The American Soldier (1949, p. 69)

18. Percent rating the following objectives to be “very important”

 

OIF

Soldiers

2003

2-Year College

Freshmen

2001

University

Freshmen

2001

Raising a family

82

67

74

Being well off financially

72

76

73

Integrating spirituality in my life

54

34

46

19. Percent rating self “above average” as compared with average person of his/her age in the following categories

 

OIF

Soldiers

2003

2-Year College

Freshmen

2001

University

Freshmen

2001

Academic abilities

50

39

78

Computer skills

40

29

39

Physical health

68

46

60

Freshmen survey from 2001 annual survey conducted by Cooperative Research Program, American Council on Education.

20. What has been the most difficult thing to adapt to on this mission?

Answers volunteered by more than one soldier:

Nothing - 6

Home
Separation from family - 67
Lack of communication with home/family - 5
Being away from civilian employment/business (for reservists/guard) - 4

Physical
Climate/environment (extreme heat, sand, flies) - 58
Living conditions - 24
Lack of equipment, materials, supplies, initially food & water - 15
No alcohol - 3

Leadership
Poor/lack of leadership - 26
Lack of important information/misinformation from higher ups- 18
Lack of mission/goal - 11
Treatment by/attitude of superiors - 8
“Being caged in like a prisoner”/feeling jailed - 2

Deployment
Not knowing/shifting return date - 14
Length of deployment (1 year) - 12
Active/reserve/guard integration, reserves/guard treated poorly - 12
Change/ambiguity - 8
Consecutive deployments - 2

Work
Working conditions/Long hours/no downtime/freetime/time off - 14
Coming under fire/attack/IEDs - 12
Performing a different MOS than holding - 6
Unprepared, not trained for missions required - 5
Too many people deployed/not enough work - 4
Shift from combat to non-combat ops - 4
Fighting low intensity conflict/urban ops/guerilla tactics - 3
Monotony/boredom - 3

Iraq
Local population, civil-military relations - 12
Seeing poverty/local conditions - 3
Sense of wasted time/effort in Iraq - 4

Peers
Peers (complaining, personality differences, new, etc) - 8
Death/injury of fellow soldiers - 5
Constant/close contact with others - 4

Acknowledgements. Special thanks goes to Gen. John P. Abizaid, CENTCOM, who initiated this trip for our research team. We are indebted to Chaplain (LTC) Franklin Wester who made the initial arrangements possible. Chaplain Wester’s collegiality and insights were invaluable. We also wish to thank Chaplain (LTC) Barry Presley who served as our escort officer and made possible the interviews and surveys in the various locales in theater. Finally, we thank Suzanne Hansford-Bowles for careful and precise survey data entry.
It was an honor to join OIF, even if only for a short time. The openness of the soldiers to a visiting research team was uplifting. We also believe that our visit served as a morale booster for the troops with whom we were privileged to spend time. Still, we understand that such trips require a tremendous amount of time and energy on the part of our hosts. We are extremely appreciative of the extraordinary assistance given us.
We gratefully acknowledge support from the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI). This unique organization has consistently shown that doing good for the Army and doing good social research are one and the same. The mode and presentation of the data collection are the sole responsibility of the researchers and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARI or the U.S. military.

Contact: c-moskos@northwestern.edu


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