Cutting the time soldiers have between tours of duty helped the Pentagon boost troop numbers in Iraq—but has taken a heavy toll on soldiers' mental health, Reuters reports. An Army survey found a steep rise in mental health problems among soldiers returning for their third or fourth combat tour, and experts say the troops are not getting enough time to recover . "Soldiers are not resetting entirely before they get back into theater," said the head of the Army's mental health advisory team.
Among noncommissioned officers, 27% on their third and fourth tours suffered mental health problems last year, compared with 18.5% on their second tours and 12% on their first tours. The Army admits its goal of stationing soldiers in the US for three years for every year in a combat zone is unrealistic given its demanding commitments. Troops now get just a year between deployments to war zones, and the Army is struggling to recruit extra mental health professionals.