Played around with some numbers from the Congressional Research Service. In terms of number of deaths (including from hostile action and accidents) per military personnel, we’re experiencing levels similar to 1980. Can anyone shed some light on why the number of deaths per size of the military was about the same in 1980 as it was in 2006?

Posted by Jeffrey Withington in Air Force, Army, History, Marine Corps, Navy

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  • jwithington

    In case anyone else wants to spot trends in deaths in the US military, the CRS’s very detailed report can be found here:

  • jim

    Couple things standout between 1980 and today.

    3x the # of accident deaths
    4x the # of homicides
    2x the # of illness deaths

    Possible causal factors:

    1) Dramatically improved car safety
    2) Steep reduction in drunk driving. Massive societal attitude change since 1980.
    3) Reduction in motorcycle driving. Increase in helmet use.
    4) Healthier individuals w/ greater illness survival — better diet, preventative care.
    5) Improved medical care — increases survival of acute illnesses and accidents.
    6) Higher recruiting standards — keeping out people prone to violence and drunkenness.
    1980 had about a 40% higher # in Active Duty. So an increase is expected.

    The 4x # of homicides in 1980 is interesting. Less drunkenness likely a major factor. The homicide reduction happened society-wide though. There are some theories widespread lead poisoning (due to lead paint and drinking water contamination) boosted violence and murder rates in the 60s and 70s … which then dropped in the 80s and 90s.

  • I will second the above post. Anti-DUI campaigns and safety efforts in terms of off-duty safety have probably contributed greatly. An emphasis on risk management during training exercises has probably contributed also.

  • army