Why is the world’s largest organization of psychologists so aggressively promoting a new, massive and untested military program? The APA’s enthusiasm for mandatory “resilience training” for all US soldiers is troubling on many counts.
The January 2011 issue of the American Psychologist, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) flagship journal, is devoted entirely to 13 articles that detail and celebrate the virtues of a new US Army-APA collaboration. Built around positive psychology and with key contributions from former APA President Martin Seligman and his colleagues, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) is a $125 million resilience training initiative designed to reduce and prevent the adverse psychological consequences of combat for our soldiers and veterans. While these are undoubtedly worthy aspirations, the special issue is nevertheless troubling in several important respects: the authors of the articles, all of whom are involved in the CSF program, offer very little discussion of conceptual and ethical considerations; the special issue does not provide a forum for any independent critical or cautionary voices whatsoever; and through this format, the APA itself has adopted a jingoistic cheerleading stance toward a research project about which many crucial questions should be posed. We discuss these and related concerns below.
Phi Beta Iota: DoD used to have integrity on such matters. This is not training, this is human experimentation, and compulsory human experimentation at that. At a minimum it should call for informed consent and permit “opt out.” To the real skeptics about the military, this is step one in figuring out how to brainwash soldiers into following illegal orders and committing crimes against humanity without a second thought. Until the Army reinstates integrity at the top, this is just one more example of fraud, waste, and abuse, but with a very troubling US citizen collateral damage aspect to it. It is also IO Idiocy. The money would be better spent getting a grip on the fifteen slices of Human Intelligence (HUMINT), and on the Army’s version of the “Strategic Narrative” so ably championed by Adm Mike Mullen, out-going Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff (whom we would keep in place if we had a say).