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Victor Quinn
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PostSubject: Troop Divorce Rates Level in 2010    Troop Divorce Rates Level in 2010 Empty11/19/2010, 11:00

 Troop Divorce Rates Level in 2010 Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Type&blobheadername2=Content-Disposition&blobheadervalue1=image%2Fjpeg&blobheadervalue2=inline%3Bfilename%3Ddivorcesteady11.19lg
November 18, 2010
Military.com|by Amy Bushatz

Newly released Pentagon statistics show that the overall military divorce rate leveled off in 2010 after a consistent increase over the previous five years. Officials suggest the stall is evidence that programs designed to aid military marriages are starting to work despite almost a decade of war and stress on families.
"All military services have a variety of programs focused on strengthening and ... enriching family bonds among couples," Maj. Monica Bland, a DoD spokesperson, said in a statement. "We believe these programs are instrumental in mitigating the stresses deployment places on marriages."
Since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, the divorce rate has increased from 2.6 percent in 2001 to 3.6 percent in 2009. According to DoD the rate remained at 3.6 percent in 2010.
Some military family researchers and advocates say the Pentagon shouldn't get too excited -- yet. Despite the seemingly good news, they fear the divorce rate plateau is temporary."I would not say that this is a downward trend -- it looks to me like stability," said Benjamin Karney, a professor at UCLA who has conducted extensive marriage studies with the RAND Corporation for DoD. "This doesn't say it's stopped moving. When you see gradual decreases year to year, yes that's a trend. But a stop for one year? We can't say that's a trend."
Stephanie Himel-Nelson, a spokesperson for the military support organization Blue Star Families, agreed. "I'd want to see a couple of years of this and see them go back down," she said. "We're hopeful that this is a sign that all of the focus that the Department of Defense has put into military families and reintegration is starting to pay off."
In recent years, the climbing military divorce rate has been a call to action for officials to focus their efforts and spending on services aimed at reducing the stress caused by frequent deployments. The Army, the largest of the services, plans to pour about $9 billion into its "Army Family Covenant" program in 2011, Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, said recently.
The program covers services such as family mental health care, free childcare during deployment and on post housing improvements. Each service also has its own marriage support programs, largely run out of chaplains' offices.
The active-duty Army, which spends the most on its programs, plans to devote more than $700 million in fiscal 2011 to Strong Bonds, a free retreat that takes participants to a nice resort and provides childcare while teaching relationship skills. The Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force host similar events.

Family Support: The services by the numbers
A recent study out the University of Denver showed that couples who attend the Strong Bonds retreat suffer 33 percent fewer divorces than those who do not. But a deeper dive into the divorce figures reveals negative trends as well.
Despite the overall rate remaining stable, subgroups did see small increases similar to those in years past. For example, the divorce rate for enlisted males increased slightly among Marines and Airmen while remaining constant for Sailors and Soldiers.
Divorce rates among enlisted female servicemembers also increased in every service except the Navy, where they remained unchanged at 7.8 percent -- still more than double that of their male counterparts. In the Army, the female enlisted divorce rate is three times that of enlisted males.Karney said the rate among females may be higher because intervention programs are missing the target. His 2007 RAND study, "Families Under Stress," was commissioned by DoD to explore the military divorce rate.
"No matter where you go, women are at greater risk in the military," he said. "It's possible that the support services in the military are aimed more precisely at the female civilian partners of male servicemembers."
The divorce rates released by the Pentagon do not include data on Reserve and National Guard members or on servicemembers who divorced after leaving the military. The civilian divorce rate in the US for the 2009 calendar year was 3.4 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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