Child Soldiers: Are U.S. Military Members Prepared to Deal with the Threat?
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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Child soldiers are not a new phenomena for U.S. military forces, but they are an expanding problem that has implications for military training and the mental health of U.S. troops. This paper examines the problem of child soldiers throughout the world and assesses current U.S. military policies and practices regarding child soldiers. Specifically, the author describes the impact of child soldiers on the effectiveness of combat forces, the potential for negative mental health consequences for U.S. troops who encounter child soldiers, the roles that the news media and the public may play in this controversy, and the effects of child soldiers on military populations beyond combat forces. The author recommends changes to military training in general and to pre-deployment preparation to confront this issue, suggests specific mental health interventions for U.S. soldiers who have had experiences with child soldiers, and highlights areas in which additional research is needed.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics