Last year saw a record number of active-duty soldiers kill themselves, as well as a sharp jump in sexual violence, the Army revealed yesterday while presenting a new report on its overall health. Despite the Pentagon's newly bolstered suicide prevention efforts, 164 active-duty soldiers took their lives in 2011, up from 159 in 2010 and 162 in 2009, said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's departing vice chief of staff, according to the New York Times.
But Chiarelli said he wasn't frustrated by the Army's apparent inability to reduce suicides. "The question you have to ask yourself, and this is the number that no one can prove, what would it have been if we had not focused the efforts that we focused on it?" he said. Sexual assaults were another matter; they shot up nearly 30%. "This is unacceptable," Chiarelli said. "We have zero tolerance for this." He cited alcohol use and new, more private barracks as potential causes.