Battlefield Stress: Pre-Conditioning Soldiers for Combat, Robert V. Nata, 9781249910091


This study identifies stress-coping techniques which the individual soldier can use to control his responses to battlefield stress, in order to maximize his performance. This is achieved through an examination of past warfare examples, U.S. Army doctrine, and civilian documentary sources of stress-coping techniques. The nature of stress, its signs and symptoms, stressors, casualty rates, and treatment principles are identified and discussed. Coping techniques are compared against a set of criteria for applicability on the battlefield. The time periods of before, during, and after combat actions are used as a framework for relating coping techniques to their actual use on the battlefield. The study concludes that history does not provide detailed information about individual stress-coping techniques. Soldiers were not trained to cope with stress. The focus has been centered around neuropsychiatric casualty rates, treatment procedures, and return-to-duty rates of neuropsychiatric casualties. There is a significant gap in U.S. Army doctrine in that it lacks sufficient detail on coping techniques to be of practical use to commanders and soldiers. The civilian sector presents a broad spectrum of coping techniques, but all are not applicable to the battlefield. The environment of the battlefield differs from a civilian environment due to extended periods of time the soldier is exposed to stress and the high intensity of the battlefield. Of primary importance is the education of soldiers about stress. The Army must train every soldier to recognize stress and to practice coping techniques that work for him in order to minimize future manpower losses on the battlefield.

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