Medical losses psychic losses



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Morale and Combat Effectiveness in French Army Units
Phillip Emond

Centre de Relations Humaines

Armées, France






MEDICAL LOSSES


PSYCHIC LOSSES


OKINAWA (1945)

6th Marine Division

(over 10 days)



3,951


1,289

(33 %)


ITALIAN CAMPAIGN

(1944)


1st (US) Armored Division


387


137

(35 %)


YOM KIPPUR

(1973)


(worked out on the first 1,500 personnel to be evacuated


1,500


900

(60 %)

The aim of the first chart was to illustrate the evolution of psychological losses sustained in combat during recent conflicts. Psychological lapses in the French armed forces in Former Yugoslavia or in Somalia are proportionally at the same level.

This led the French Army to devise a tool that a company commander1 could use to measure himself the Moral Strength of his unit in an autonomous way.

We will address the following points :


  1. the interest of the tool,

  2. its implementation,

  3. the results,

  4. the user.

To assess the operational capability of a unit in the French Army, we use a certain number of quantifiable measures which are comparatively easy to implement.

The following capabilities are therefore assess :



  1. the TACTICAL CAPABILITY during various field exercises, maneuvers or firing campaigns;

  2. the LOGISTIC CAPABILITY, during various exercises;

  3. the TECHNICAL LEVEL, i.e. the availability of all equipment within a delay of less than 6 hours.

Those measures are inadequate should we really know the capabilities of a unit.

It is in fact necessary to further assess the Moral Strength of a unit or, if you prefer, its psychosociological capability.



INTEREST OF THE TOOL

Assess the operational capability of a unit

TACTICAL CAPABILITY (firing, concealment, etc.)

+ LOGISTIC CAPABILITY (ammunition, supply, etc.)

+ TECHNICAL LEVEL (maintenance, equipment preparedness, etc.)
= OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY

Yom Kippur War 60 % of losses

MORAL STRENGTH”



tactical capability

+ logistic capability

+ technical level

+ Moral strength
= operational capability

Moral Strength” is one of the components making up operational capability.



HOW CAN IT BE ASSESSED ?

The real difficulty in that field is the availability of a tool which can assess that “Moral Strength”.

Using American and Israeli studies and during our own individual interviews with our soldiers who were committed in combat operations, we considered that the psychosociological capability of our units depended on the eight following parameters:

DEFINITION / ASSEMBLY

MORAL STRENGTH” is made up of 8 parameters.

Each of those eight parameters is broken down in a certain number of sub-parameters, as shown on the following chart.

Parameter 1 : RELATIONSHIPS WITHIN THE GROUP


  1. Solidarity within the platoon

  2. Ambiance, interpersonal relationships

  3. Participation, investment, initiative

  4. Identification to the group.

Parameter 2 : RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE OFFICERS AND NCOs

  1. Competent officers and NCOs

  2. Confident officers and NCOs

  3. Officers and NCOs : mutual respect between the officers and the NCOs and the subordinates

Parameter 3 : RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE DIRECT COMMANDER

  1. The direct commander is competent

  2. The direct commander is confident

  3. Direct commander : mutual respect between the direct commander and the subordinates

Parameter 4 : UNIT EQUIPMENT

no sub-parameter
Parameter 5 : UNIT ENVIRONMENT

  1. Support of other units

  2. Support from the high command

  3. Support from the Nation.

Parameter 6 : SELF-CONFIDENCE

  1. Individual feeling of technical knowledge

  2. Physical condition

  3. Personal state of mind, individual morale

  4. Fear and worries.

Parameter 7 : DAILY LIFE

  1. Work and working conditions

  2. Burdens and military duties

  3. Organization of daily life.

Parameter 8 : RELATIONS WITH THE MILITARY

  1. Personal feeling of adaptation to military life

  2. how is authority and discipline felt

  3. awareness of grounds for action.

Each parameter is made up of several sub-parameters which refer to the various questions to be found in the questionnaire at the disposal of the company commander.

As an example, the parameter “Relationships within a group” is made up of four sub-parameters, one of which “ambiance, interpersonal relationships” refers to two questions.



“Moral Strength” is only a tool, it answers to a definition of morale which may not encompass all aspects of morale, but it allows to understand what is meant by morale through eight parameters, 23 sub-parameters and 67 questions. Besides, it includes one page of free expression whose exploitation may be very revealing for the company commander. Such a tool helps the company commander, but he cannot dispense with the duty of getting to know his personnel and size them up.

“Moral Strength” has been tested in Somalia, in Lebanon, in Former Yugoslavia and within units stationed in France.

Three types of results are available.

A global assessment which is the subjective estimation of what the personnel think the operational capability of their unit is.
You’ll find two figures per parameter : the first one is again a subjective estimation of what the personnel think of that particular parameter, the second one is the result of the assessment of all questions and sub-parameters which make up a parameter.

An assessment is worked out for each of the sub-parameters.

The company commander can get results for all his personnel, for the enlisted only or only for the officers and NCOs.

THE RESULTS

MORAL STRENGTH” provides :



1 global ASSESSMENT

(same measures at beginning and end)

2 ASSESSMENTS per parameter :
one “OBJECTIVE” ASSESSMENT one SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT

(with explanation of the results)

1 “OBJECTIVE” ASSESSMENT per sub-parameter

the distribution of the members of the unit (everybody, officers and NCOs, enlisted)

The results are displayed in this manner on a computer screen. It additionally shows how the satisfied and the non-satisfied are balanced. You figured out that the figures of the first bar chart equal those of the second one, but it is important for the company commander to know how his personnel are distributed.






On the right-hand bottom part of the screen, comments from the analysis carried out by the software may help the company commander to better grasp the results.

Altogether, the company commander has at his disposal 120 charts of results, but the anonymity of the personnel filling out the questionnaire is always maintained.

As an example, I’ll show you here the results of two companies which were both committed in Bihac in Former Yugoslavia at the same time and which both had the same equipment, the same structures and the same personnel breakdown. An additional study showed that the tensions between the personnel of the unit whose score is the lowest were high and that the company commander seemed to be rejected by a certain number of his

NCOs.

In order for “Moral Strength” to be used in full confidence by the company commander, we decided that it is up to the company commander only to use this tool according to his missions and at the moment he feels adequate. He can do it entirely on its own. He therefore has at his disposal :



  1. an explanatory leaflet,

  2. technical instructions,

  3. a questionnaire,

  4. a software program,

  5. a personal identification code so that he is the only one who can access the results.

It takes 30 to 40 minutes for the entire unit, including the officers and NCOs, to fill out the questionnaire. An operator can enter up to 30 individual questionnaires within one hour. As soon as it is implemented, the software program delivers all the bar charts and results I mentioned earlier on.

The company commander is the only master of the results. He can use them :



  1. as discussion points with his commanding officer,

  2. as reference before a build-up,

  3. to check in a concrete manner the objectives he set in the field of morale.

“Moral Strength” does not give marks nor reference points.

The company commander is the only one to interpret the results according to :



  1. his objectives,

  2. his knowledge of his unit (type of unit, artillery, infantry, logistics, etc.)

  3. the quality of the human resources,

  4. the recent past or the future of his unit.

Among the parameters and the sub-parameters, the company commander assesses what is important for the operational capability of his unit and the areas he must emphasize. The key areas may in fact not be the same for an infantry or a logistics unit.

“Moral Strength” is a tool which does not say everything on morale, but it is perfectly tailored to French military culture and the types of human relationships one may find within a company.

We trust our company commanders to take advantage of this tool which they can use on their own by following the advice provided in the instructions.

MORAL STRENGTH”



never judges, but is

A DECISION-MAKING TOOL

for the COMPANY COMMANDER.

1 NdT - Dans l=armJe de terre britannique, les compagnies/escadrons/batteries Jtant commandJs par des commandants ("majors"), il a JtJ prJfJrJ la traduction "company commander" B celle de "captain", qui aurait pu induire en erreur un public anglophone. Dans l'armJe de terre amJricaine, les compagnies/escadrons/batteries sont commandJs par des capitaines.




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