Military Past, Civilian Present: International Perspectives on Veterans' Transition from the Armed Forces [1st ed. 2019] 978-3-030-30828-5, 978-3-030-30829-2

This edited book presents a synthesis of current international knowledge on the topic of military veteran transition to

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Military Past, Civilian Present: International Perspectives on Veterans' Transition from the Armed Forces [1st ed. 2019]
 978-3-030-30828-5, 978-3-030-30829-2

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xxviii
Australia: Psychs, Suits and Mess Committees on Steroids: The Changing Terrain of Service Transition in Australia (Ben Wadham, Deborah Morris)....Pages 1-15
Canada: The Reemergence of Veteran Issues in Canada: State Retrenchment and Gendered Veteran Advocacy (Maya Eichler)....Pages 17-30
Croatia: Victims of Transition? The Role of Homeland War Veterans in Public Discourse in Croatia (Aleksandar Jakir)....Pages 31-42
Estonia: Estonian Veterans in Transition (Tiia-Triin Truusa, Kairi Kasearu, Avo Trumm)....Pages 43-57
Netherlands: Veterans’ Transition to Dutch Society (Joyce Motshagen)....Pages 59-70
Nigeria: Nigerian Veterans: Nationalists or Villains? (Taiwo Oluwaseyi Oshigbo, Kehinde Olaoluwatomi Oshigbo)....Pages 71-85
United Kingdom: The Violent Military Veteran Offender in the Criminal Justice System: Desisting from Crime or Desisting from Military Experience? (Justin Moorhead)....Pages 87-106
United States: ‘Combatting’ Self-Harm and Suicide in the US Military and After: Culture, Military Labour and No-Harm Contracts (Paul Taylor, Andrew Reeves)....Pages 107-120
Back Matter ....Pages 121-129

Citation preview

International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice

Paul Taylor Emma Murray Katherine Albertson Editors

Military Past, Civilian Present International Perspectives on Veterans’ Transition from the Armed Forces

International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice

Series Editors Sheying Chen Pace University, New York, NY, USA Jason L. Powell Department of Social and Political Science, University of Chester, Chester, UK

The Springer series International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration and Practice puts the spotlight on international and comparative studies of social policy, administration, and practice with an up-to-date assessment of their character and development. In particular, the series seeks to examine the underlying assumptions of the practice of helping professions, nonprofit organization and management, and public policy and how processes of both nation-state and globalization are affecting them. The series also includes specific country case studies, with valuable comparative analysis across Asian, African, Latin American, and Western welfare states. The series International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration and Practice commissions approximately six books per year, focusing on international perspectives on social policy, administration, and practice, especially an East-West connection. It assembles an impressive set of researchers from diverse countries illuminating a rich, deep, and broad understanding of the implications of comparative accounts on international social policy, administration, and practice. More information about this series at

Paul Taylor • Emma Murray Katherine Albertson Editors

Military Past, Civilian Present International Perspectives on Veterans’ Transition from the Armed Forces

Editors Paul Taylor University of Chester Chester, UK

Emma Murray Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool, UK

Katherine Albertson Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield, UK

ISSN 2625-6975     ISSN 2625-6983 (electronic) International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice ISBN 978-3-030-30828-5    ISBN 978-3-030-30829-2 (eBook) © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland


In the summer of 2015, the editors and a small group of others came together to ask how we might ‘reimagine the veteran’. Starting from the premise that how conflict is experienced by those who served requires new forms of thinking and analysis, this interest group suggested that a critical interrogation of veteran affairs is one which engages with war, justice, welfare and rights from the margins. It was a call to take seriously the lived experiences of veterans through the myriad of problems they face – with an aim to effect pedagogy and policy. This collection started at that event. Our calls to reimagining the veteran are ongoing. What is presented in this book is however a start. We suggest this subject is approached as less of a series of neat and generalizable explanations; but instead be viewed as aspiring towards a range of critical examinations of the positioning in public discourse and experience of the military veteran. The main aim of this collection is to give the veteran the analytical attention it warrants. Across chapters, and in taking the book as a whole, we aim to begin to chart the landscape around questions such as how veterans’ transition and homecomings interact with policy. We might further contemplate whether policy evolves out of homecoming or homecoming evolves out of policy and the critical directions that policy is, or is not taking in respect of those transitioning, and those who have transitioned from military service. Importantly, we note Raewyn Connell’s (2007) astute reminder of the geo-political location of much of this research – ‘the global north’. We accept that, with the exception of, Taiwo Oluwaseyi Oshigbo and Kehinde Olaoluwatomi Oshigbo’s chapter in this volume concerning the Nigerian context, this collection is also dominated by perceptions from the global north. This has consequences which we hope that we, or perhaps one of our readers, can address in the fullness of time. Compiling a text such as this requires an immense amount of support from those around us. There are so many thank-yous, but so few words that are truly adequate. Most of all we want to thank our families and friends for their expert support and their ability to provide sincere encouragement  – without both this project would never have come forth. To our academic colleagues – thank you. We feel fortunate to be among so many great minds who have the ability to counter any insecurity when we ‘wobble’ on the worth of our own work. And finally, our gratitude goes v



to the chapter authors inside these covers. Their contributions and engagement with us have made this scholarly undertaking a hugely pleasurable way to spend time and energy. Chester, UK Liverpool, UK Sheffield, UK

Paul Taylor Emma Murray Katherine Albertson


1 Australia: Psychs, Suits and Mess Committees on Steroids: The Changing Terrain of Service Transition in Australia����������������������    1 Ben Wadham and Deborah Morris 2 Canada: The Reemergence of Veteran Issues in Canada: State Retrenchment and Gendered Veteran Advocacy��������������������������   17 Maya Eichler 3 Croatia: Victims of Transition? The Role of Homeland War Veterans in Public Discourse in Croatia������������������������������������������   31 Aleksandar Jakir 4 Estonia: Estonian Veterans in Transition������������������������������������������������   43 Tiia-Triin Truusa, Kairi Kasearu, and Avo Trumm 5 Netherlands: Veterans’ Transition to Dutch Society������������������������������   59 Joyce Motshagen 6 Nigeria: Nigerian Veterans: Nationalists or Villains?����������������������������   71 Taiwo Oluwaseyi Oshigbo and Kehinde Olaoluwatomi Oshigbo 7 United Kingdom: The Violent Military Veteran Offender in the Criminal Justice System: Desisting from Crime or Desisting from Military Experience?��������������������������������������������������   87 Justin Moorhead 8 United States: ‘Combatting’ Self-Harm and Suicide in the US Military and After: Culture, Military Labour and No-Harm Contracts����������������������������������������������������������������������������  107 Paul Taylor and Andrew Reeves Editor’s Conclusion������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  121 Index������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  127


About the Editors

Katherine Albertson  led on the evaluation of the Addaction Right Turn initiative, a veteran-specific recovery project – the first of its kind in the UK. A pioneering project operating on the premise that the comradeship underpinning military life can be re-directed to support recovery from addictions, desistance from crime and helping them integrate into civilian life. Katherine has also conducted a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust grant funded Life History research project, undertaken with ex-forces with contact in the criminal justice system focusing on exploring identity transitions. Katherine has most recently been leading on the South Yorkshire Armed Forces Covenant Project. This project is being conducted in partnership with local authorities to deliver consultation and mapping research, Military Awareness training for front line support staff and regionally strategic Covenant Action Planning consistency building activities. This project is designed to ensure a better understanding of and communication with our Armed Forces Community and also strengthening the consistent delivery of the Covenant across South Yorkshire. Katherine has experience of publishing her work with the Armed Forces Community in international books, academic journals and institutional blogs. Katherine is a member of the international research network Reimaging the Veteran: Pedagogy, Policy and the Arts, hosted by Liverpool John Moores University. Katherine is Chair of an International Advisory Board overseeing a three-year research project ‘Understanding Negative Transitioning in British Ex-Service Personnel’ at Queen’s University, Belfast, and is a member of the advisory group for a Barnardo’s Needs Assessment concerning children and families of veterans in custody. Katherine also represents Sheffield Hallam University on the Military Education Committee. Emma  Murray  is a senior lecturer in criminal justice in the School of Law, Liverpool John Moores University. Her work is dedicated to the problem of veterans within the criminal justice system, and more recently what the testimonies of veterans who have been convicted of an offence post-combat reveal about war and governance in the twenty-first century. Emma is a member of the Centre for Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion within which she is the Project Lead of the ‘Reimagining Conflict: Pedagogy, Policy and the Arts’ site and international ix


About the Editors

research group. Working with scholars, artists and policy makers across the UK, she is also the director of the ‘Reimagine the Veteran’ film project. Emma is a Research Partner for The Royal British Legion, Foundation for Creative Arts and Technology (FACT) and the Probation Institute leading research projects which are committed to breaking down the conversational barriers between veterans, academics, policy makers and cultural producers, with the aim of developing new pedagogical tools that result from innovative transdisciplinary engagement with veteran communities and creative arts. Paul Taylor  is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Social and Political Science at the University of Chester, UK. His research is interdisciplinary, drawing together areas of criminology with the more general concerns of culture within public service/armed forces occupations. Further, he writes and researches on a range of substantive issues relating to biography, including mentally vulnerable individuals and the criminal justice process; ageing, welfare and punishment; criminal justice practitioner well-being.


Maya  Eichler  holds the Canada Research Chair in Social Innovation and Community Engagement and is an assistant professor in the Department of Political and Canadian Studies and the Department of Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University (Halifax, Canada). Her research focuses on gender and the armed forces, military-to-civilian transitions, military families, the privatization of military security and feminist security studies. She has written Militarizing Men: Gender, Conscription, and War in Post-Soviet Russia (Stanford University Press 2012) and edited Gender and Private Security in Global Politics (Oxford University Press 2015). Her articles have appeared in Critical Military Studies, Études internationales, Armed Forces and Society, Critical Studies on Security, Citizenship Studies, International Journal, Military Behavioral Health, Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, and the International Feminist Journal of Politics. Aleksandar  Jakir  has been a professor since 2007 for Croatian History and Contemporary and Modern History at the Department of History of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Split (Croatia). He is author, co-author and editor of a number of books, articles and book chapters in his field of expertise (History of South Eastern and Eastern Europe of 20th century – especially aspects of political, cultural and social contemporary history of Dalmatia, Croatia and Yugoslavia. Publications include Europe and the Balkans. Decades of ‘Europeanization’? (ed. together with Tanja Zimmerman). Königshausen and Neumann, Würzburg 2015; Klerus und Nation in Südosteuropa vom 19. bis zum 21. Jahrhundert (ed. together with Marko Trogrlić) PETER LANG Frankfurt am Main etc. 2014; The Sokol Movement in Croatia as a Promotor of Yugoslav Nationalism during the Interwar Years, in: Nataša Mišković/Karl Kaser (ed.), Nation, Body and Visuality in the Post-Ottoman Urban Space. Turkish and Yugoslav Cities of the Interwar Period. New York Oxford: Berghan Books forthcoming; Split od travnja 1941. do rujna 1943. godine: mjesto fašističke represije i antifašističkog otpora, in: Drago Roksandić i Ivana Cvijović Javorina (eds.), Split i Vladan Desnica 1918. – 1945.: umjetničko stvaralaštvo između kulture i politike. Zagreb: FF-press – Split: Filozofski fakultet 2016., 325–347; Memories in Conflict. Remembering the xi



Partisans, the Second World War and Bleiburg in Croatia, in: Tanja Zimmermann (ed.): Balkan Memories: Media Constructions of National and Transnational History (transcript) Bielefeld 2012, 187–205; Anti-communist guerilla in Croatia, 1945–1951. In: Peter Jašek (ed.): Anti-Communist resistance in Central and Eastern Europe. (Nations Memory Institute) Bratislava 2012, 434–449; The Economic Trigger  – The status of ‘Nationality’ in a ‘Self-Managed’ Economy During the 1960s and 1970s in Socialist Yugoslavia. In: Marie-Janine Calic, Dietmar Neutatz, Julia Obertreis (eds): The Crisis of Socialist Modernity. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in the 1970s. (VandenhoeckandRuprecht) Göttingen 2011, 134–155. Kairi Kasearu  (PhD) is currently an Associate Professor of General Sociology at the Institute of Social Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Tartu in Estonia. She is also the head of the ‘Human resource-related sustainability of the Estonian Defence Forces’ research project and a member of the NATO HFM-258 research group ‘The Impact of Military Life on Children from Military Families’. Her research interests have been related to family studies and intergenerational relations, social exclusion, human resources and its management and most recently military sociology. She has wide experiences in quantitative methods and she has worked with different data sets from small scale surveys to register data. Recently she has published in the following journals Sõjateadlane/Journal of Estonian Military Studies, Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of Early Adolescence, and European Societies. Justin  Moorhead  is a doctoral candidate at Liverpool John Moores University exploring the role of alcohol in the violent offending of military veterans’ within the criminal justice system. Other areas of academic interest relate to probation practice and theory, particularly around ‘desistance’ and ‘risk’ as well as the study and interventions associated with domestic violence. Currently an associate Lecturer at Edge Hill University, Justin teaches on the Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour programme. Deborah  Morris  is currently undertaking her PhD within the field of military geographies. Deborah is focusing on the way that ‘home’ has different economies of meaning for veterans. She previously served in the Royal Australian Navy and has worked extensively with vulnerable populations. Deborah is actively involved in the Australian ex-service organization sector. Joyce Motshagen  holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and completed her Master in Sociology at the University of Utrecht in 2010. She completed a four-­ month internship at the Dutch Veterans Institute. During this internship she conducted a large quantitative study of Dutch veterans policy and the impact on the recognition and appreciation experienced by veterans. The study showed focus points for the Dutch Veterans policy and made clear that old and younger veterans need a different approach. The Dutch Veterans Institute keeps doing research in this field to make sure the policy connects to the veterans and contributes to a good



transition to society. Motshagen currently works as a marketeer but is still strongly connected to the local veterans community, she helps them by sending out newsletters to keep the community informed about news and meetings. Taiwo  Oluwaseyi Oshigbo and Kehinde  Olaoluwatomi Oshigbo  PhDs also fondly known as Dr. Twins had their Terminal Degrees at Concept University London UK and are currently Researchers and Lecturers at the department of Transport and Logistics, Esep Le Berger Universite, Porto Novo, Republique du Benin. They are Principal partners, Senior lecturers and Consultants at Admiralty Resource Center (ARC); an Online Educational platform. They are also members of the Governing council of Edubranics Smartphone Campus-Africa, based in Lagos, Nigeria. They are Fellows of two Transport Institutes, members NIS (Nigeria Institute of Shipping) and IOTA (Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria), respectively. They have years of experience in a Merchant Navy Academy training Cadets for the Maritime and Transport Industry with about 17 years’ cumulative experience in the Academia. Their current research projects focuses on the interdisciplinary roles of Merchant and Naval personnel in world cargo distribution in the face of piracy and on the lives of Veterans in general. Dr. Twins are members of some Charity Organisations that seek gender equality, girl child education, care for the aged, poor and the vets support group, both faiths based and none. Another passion of theirs is in Twin foundations and projects anywhere in Africa and Nigeria in particular. They help out to ensure that Twins are not disenfranchised from basic rights such as Welfare, Education and Empowerment due to socio-economic factors. Drs. Taiwo and Kehinde co-authored a number of books, namely Merits of Seafarers, ABC of Shipping, and Female Seafarers; others are published articles in some maritime journals and have delivered several papers such as ‘The Contributions of Veterans in Business and Economy: Africa as a Case Study’ and ‘Veterans as a Stabilising Factor in Politics: West Africa as a Case Study’, respectively. They are proud recipients of several awards and honours. Andrew Reeves  PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Counselling Professions and Mental Health at the University of Chester. He is a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist, and a Fellow of BACP and the Higher Education Academy. His practice experience, over 30 years, has been with children and families and in adult mental health settings. He has written extensively on working with risk in therapeutic contexts. He is Chair of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Director of Colleges and Universities for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and an independent practitioner, specializing in working with risk and in men’s mental health. Avo  Trumm  (PhD) is currently a Research Fellow of Information Management and Analysis at the Institute of Social Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has published on issues related to social transformations, stratification, welfare problems and income inequalities, social policy analysis and social impact assessment He has been involved as a researcher and



expert in numerous national and international research projects and policy development programmes. In recent years, his academic activities have concentrated mainly on topics related to data, information, and knowledge management. He has analysed the data collection and management policy in the Estonian Defence Forces as well as transformation of human resource related data into knowledge applicable for decision-making. Since 2018, he participates in the R&D project ‘Manticus Apollo’, aimed at creating transnational and comprehensive situational awareness (SA) capability for coordinating national defence in Estonia. Tiia-Triin Truusa  (MSW) is currently a PhD candidate of sociology at the Institute of Social Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Tartu in Estonia. The topic of her research concentrates on the cultural aspects of the civil-military gap in Estonia. She is also a junior research fellow in the ‘Human resource-related sustainability of the Estonian Defence Forces’ research project and a member of the NATO HFM-263 research group ‘The Transition of Military Veterans from Active Service to Civilian Life’. Since 2018, she participates in the R&D project ‘Manticus Apollo’, aimed at creating transnational and comprehensive situational awareness (SA) capability for coordinating national defence in Estonia. Recently she has published in the Journal of Estonian Military Studies/Sõjateadlane. Ben Wadham  is a sociologist and his main research interest is militarism and the military in Australia. He is interested in the place of the military in Australian history and within Australian culture and governance – civil society, the military and the state. Ben writes about the cultural history of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Of particular interest is military culture and crime and the military. He is currently Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council Grant titled ‘Institutional Abuse and Organisational Reform within the ADF’ (1969–). He has recently published Criminologies of the Military: Militarism, National Security and Justice. Ben’s analysis is heavily informed by critical masculinity and race studies.

List of Figures

Fig. 4.1 How would you characterize the public attitude towards soldiers who have been deployed? (Source: Surveys of Estonian servicemen returning from deployments, 2011–2017)�����������������������  47 Fig. 4.2 Average score of veterans’ perceived social status and life satisfaction (scale 1–10)����������������������������������������������������������������������  50 Fig. 4.3 Percentage of veterans who found that these aspects have improved���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  51 Fig. 4.4 Use and awareness about measures of Estonian veterans policy (%)��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  52 Fig. 4.5 Mean perceived social status and life satisfaction of veterans in military and civilian sphere according to their satisfaction with policy measures and support�������������������������������������������������������  53


List of Tables

Table 4.1 Honneth’s conception of recognition, source – Warming (2015)��������������������������������������������������������������������  45 Table 4.2 Factors decreasing/increasing perceived life satisfaction and social status����������������������������������������������������������������������������������  54 Table 6.1 Percentage knowing that HIV/AIDS is deadly�����������������������������������  80


Editor’s Introduction

In 1944, amid World War II, sociologist and war veteran Willard Waller introduced his book The Veteran Comes Back, thereby reminding us of the scale of the task faced by scholars who research military veterans (veteran hereafter). He wrote: Where shall we begin with the story of the veterans. Apparently, the memory of man runneth not to the time when veterans were not. Should we begin with Odysseus, spoiler of cities, who returned from Troy to make a counter revolution in Ithaca? With Aeneas, also a veteran and a very dynamic agent in history. Mythical; characters, those, but as in historical record of fiction, slowly and ever-imperfectly give way to fact… Everywhere in history are veterans. In every age and in every nation. Waller (1944, p. 1)

Waller’s thesis takes its reader through the journey from civilian to solider, and from war to ‘returned veteran’, asking critical questions of past attempts to support those retuning from war – before suggesting how the United States could and should prepare for the return of their military. In his final paragraph, Waller suggests ‘a science of veteranology’. Such a science, he contends, is analogous to criminology whereby ‘both the science and the art are for the future to discover’ (Ibid, 308). Proposing that his vision would take many years to achieve, Waller envisaged an interdisciplinary project – one which brought laboratories and libraries together as social workers, sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, historians and government officials worked together in a Centre of Veteran Research. Although Centre’s of academic research concerning the veteran have since been created, one of this kind is yet to be realized and we are not suggesting it here. Rather, we propose, that some of the disciplines and professions listed by Waller have paid less attention to the problem of the veteran than others. In particular, we are keen to explore what a more critical study of the veteran might look like, and from what point such a scholarship might begin. As a point of departure, we acknowledge the significant and important work which explores the psychological impacts of military work upon the individual. Of course, in departing here we do not intend to minimize the importance of these studies, but instead to argue that more could be done to illuminate the personal, social and political issues which veterans face, occupy, shape and are shaped by. So where might one begin? Some 76 years since Waller’s work was published, one would be xix


Editor’s Introduction

forgiven for thinking that his work is outdated, particularly given the vast developments in war, in military functions, in sciences, technology and indeed in culture and society. Yet, so many of his concerns remain of significance today. Research and scholarship in the field of veteran affairs and experience is growing. However, what is often lost are preliminary critical epistemological questions. In consequence, the ever-emerging literature focuses on the veteran as an ‘object’ of study to be understood at a distance, with little reference to the veteran as a socially constructed, yet self-constituting existence (Higate 2013). By taking medical models as a point of departure, in many respects we also respectfully move our focus from ‘a science of Veteranology’ as Waller suggested, to a ‘critical veteran studies’ which begins by asking and seeking the answers to two key questions: 1 . How are veterans identified by the nations for whom they served? 2. What are the consequences of this identification for people and for policy? At a first glance this may appear rather rudimentary and by our own admission it is certainly embryotic. Still, it is in seeking the answers to these basic questions, across eight countries, that we can begin to ascertain an appreciation of how the veteran is shaped and shapes society, culture, policy and politics. The similarities and differences across and between nations of equal importance. But what is a ‘veteran’? As the title of this collection suggests, veterans have a past – a military past, which often impacts upon their civilian present. Whether this past is understood as a life-history, a trajectory or a transition, to be a veteran often lacks what Treadwell (2016, p. 335) refers to as ‘conceptual clarity’. The ubiquitous nature of the term is not without challenge. In everyday public discourse, such terminology is generally unquestioned, so we begin by asking what does this status and/or identity afford? We suggest that such questions be culturally, temporally and politically situated. Indeed, while the word veteran has been aligned to the military in common parlance, we also acknowledge that the term is not exclusive to a single occupation or activity. If for our purposes we accept the term’s association with previous military experience then further questions are possible, particularly of the permissibility and usefulness of a concept that comes to capture a variety of occupational roles within the military that, on leaving, are often collapsed into a unified civilian category. That is to say that one should understand the descriptive value with caution as the experience of military service is all too often not comparable due to occupational experiences, e.g. different branches of the military and participation or non-participation in conflict. Paul Higate (2013) explains that the continued generic use of the term accrues risks of handling the subject and subsequent inquiry in an uncritical manner. However, despite this, the frequent and established position of this concept in political, academic and public interest and discourse is important in and of itself. Exploring the positioning of the veteran in the cultural memory of a society for the protections they provide, the freedoms which are gained or maintained, and the sacrifices of military personnel in their duty are critical in establishing the positionality and identity of the veteran, as well as, by extension, their experience of transition.

Editor’s Introduction


Military Past Veterans ‘military pasts’, we suggest, are then subject to, and identified according to, changing logics of war and militarism. As such, disciplines which strive for a critical appreciation of people, cultures and societies frequently attach their work to academic agendas concerning war and the military. Taking militarism as Wadham and Goldsmith (2018, p.  1) do  – as a ‘particular mentality or lens that promotes a military orientation to the world’, one might argue that veterans have become global actors in an ever-mediated imagery of the need to continue to fight. Yet, on this international stage personal (and sovereign) issues are obscured. At the time of writing, the authors in this collection conduct their academic enquiries with the shadow of the centenary of World War I still very much upon them. It is a time when commemorations of the ‘war to end all wars’ is met with the reality of war as a constant, and grave problem, globally. In the Western world in particular, remembrance is largely symbolic, connecting the past, present and the future of war – as the fallen, veterans and those who continue to serve appear together. Individual experiences are captured by those clothed in military dressage, adorning their medals, projecting the idea that being a soldier is not simply a vocation but an identity that that person continues to carry with them throughout their life. Being a veteran, according to these public representations, is simply the final stage in the life of the soldier. To connect veterans’ experiences across time in this way, different ways to wage and experience war are brought together, if only for the sake of the procession. Those involved in studies of war, however, are keen to make sense of the stark differences. Mary Kaldor’s book New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era (2013) is seminal in this area. Wars of the twentieth century, she explains, have a clear start and end which involves the mobilization of men, before organizing them to inflict violence according to a unique logic (Kaldor 2013). Both the spaces of war and the enemy were clear (politically at least) and the business and sacrifice of military personally only. Here demarcations of war/peace, military/civilian were clear. Tied to national projects, and geo-strategic forms of identification, going to war is a matter of national identity and allegiance, which neatly defines the very contours (legal and otherwise) of violence (though victims of various proxy wars from Vietnam to Latin America might suggest a different analysis). When wars are fought between nations in this way, the soldier is a defender of the realm, fighting in isolated fields before returning to that realm. In the context, a military past, is ‘heroic’. Leaving aside important debates concerning what it means to be a ‘hero’ (see Frisk 2018) the ‘realm’ is now markedly different as the wars of the mid-­ twentieth century gradually disintegrated this paradigm. During World War II for example, battlefields became less about isolated fields, evidence of this is that over 50 per cent of deaths were civilians (MacDonald and Hunter 2013). By the late twentieth century, civilian casualties are estimated to account for 90 per cent of deaths and only 10 per cent of wars were about the opposition of two or more states (MacDonald and Hunter 2013).


Editor’s Introduction

Such understandings of war (and in consequence those who are deployed) began to unravel in the 1990s, and throughout the chapters to follow the significance of this unravelling is evidenced. With the advent of what Kaldor (2013, p. 72) called the ‘New Wars’, our understanding of the nature and causes of violence were transformed. As she suggested: The point is rather that the processes known as globalization are breaking up the cultural and socio-economic divisions that defined the relations of politics which characterized the modern period. The new type of warfare has to be understood in terms of global dislocation.

This was significant. Not only did it suggest that the lines between warfare and criminal activity were increasingly blurred. As Kaldor further explained, since the new wars involved multiple actors that operated beyond the confines of the modern nation state, the distinction between internal and external and local and global were difficult to sustain. Security as such was re-conceptualized. This was enshrined in the United Nations commitment to human security as the principal referent for peace and justice. Whilst this transformed conception of endangerment is to be welcomed, the role of the soldier and what they mean for society still needs to be added to these discussions.

Civilian Present Scholarship of the veteran is also, however, a scholarship of a transition from military personnel to citizen. As Ben Wadham and Deborah Morris note in Chap. 1, transition has no clear end point – one is, or at least it would seem – always transitioning. Transition is then a ‘cultural practice’ and ‘social phenomenon’ which starts at basic training and continues throughout one’s life. This sort of study is also one of civilian society, or at least how one experiences and functions within civilian society post-military service. To analyse how one transitions from the military is to pay keen attention to how the state, the military and civilian society understands the veteran, and how veterans understand themselves. Accordingly, we guard against explanations or critiques of war and military experience which separates the lived realties of war from the lived realities of societies (MacDonald and Hunter 2013). Instead, veterans as a population should be understood with reference to contemporary culture and media, and current configurations in policy, practice and governance which shape welfare arrangement’s, mental and medical health services, the third/charity sector, education, the prison estate and the economy (Murray et al 2019, forthcoming). Catherin Trundle (2013, p. 194) reflects upon the political place of veterans as a ‘military citizenship’, a unique social contract and ‘idealist form of engagement between the state and its service personnel’. Such a citizenship morally configures policy into a set of entitlements which are earned through a previous sacrifice. Importantly, as Hannah Wilkinson (2019, p. 100) proposes, we must now start to pay specific attention to how civilian life is experienced post military service.

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In what she refers to as ‘combat capital’ and/or ‘military capital’ both the embodied and symbolic ‘value’ of returning military personnel is suggested as being: …anchored in the unique conditions of the physical battlefield, and additionally, to the socio-political context of warfare – meaning that it is formed and recognised at embodied and symbolic levels. The ‘value’ of combat capital therefore operates on a positive to negative continuum, dependent on the context in which combat experience is formed.

Similarly, Albertson et al. (2017) suggests that social identification and notions of appropriate citizenship pre, during and post military service can impact on veterans’ interactions significantly in civilian life. To be a veteran is then a deeply contested, personal, political and relational identity. Attending to the distinct and more opaque relationships between military veterans and the state is a necessary task. This symbiotic relationship impacts on subsequent public and institutional interactions with homecoming veterans. As policy equals accountability, the State’s role in leading on appropriate strategies remains significant, as does how the political factors which shape military experience also afford or deny veterans opportunities post service (MacLean and Elder 2007). The first consequence for the identification and hence to the identity of veterans it would seem is that the problematic position occupied in our imaginations transcends and overwhelms civilian policy agendas and designs. As the veteran comes back from their military duties, the arbitrary limits of political space which have been reworked through ‘new wars’ and global military engagement are forced back into national arrangements, where borders are clear. Problematizing and critically engaging with absent or existing military veteran policy is not uncommon; indeed, many debates are ongoing as the chapters which follow are testament to. Examining how veterans’ homecomings interact with domestic policy is at the top of many national agendas. Still, the diversity of military contexts and the variety of community contexts present significant difficulties to these efforts – challenging us to witness, understand and interpret this ever-developing political agenda. Coupled with concerns, over, for example, eligibility, multiple stakeholders, prioritization of resources, the timing of interventions and the building of capacity and influence of policy and associated actors make for an area of public policy that is complex in nature and sophisticated in form. We can see that few issues are clear-cut or easily resolvable. Moreover, as various chapters of this book illustrate, readers are invited to contemplate the intricate interface of veterans, social policy, and homecoming, across a range of geopolitical and socio-political contexts. Furthermore, veterans should not merely be thought about as passive actors, on the contrary; instead in some contexts, we see deliberate and concerted attempts to engage in action and influence public agendas. Readers are encouraged to consider the active participation of veterans themselves (and associated constructions of their identity as a consequence) in social issues. Amid this complex picture a number of things are certain and distinguish the veteran for other forms of citizenship. Such characteristics are of relevance across counties and continents. Or at least at this stage of our project we propose so. Drawing upon the conceptual framework ‘Veteranality’ (Murray 2016 p.  324), yet evidenced in the chapters to follow, they are as follows:


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(a) Veterans are a specific ontological category which calls into question ex-­ military personnel’s relationship to the state. Often overwhelming normative social policy agendas. (b) Veterans also point to an epistemological specificity premised by a former military subjecthood. Our knowledge of that subjecthood requires continual analysis as in both the public and political imagination they are embodied with risks and potential behaviours which shape emerging social policy agendas.

About the Chapters Australia:  Ben Wadham’s and Deborah Morris’s chapter Psychs, Suits and Mess Committees on Steroids: The Changing Terrain of Service Transition in Australia begins by asking the reader to consider what happens to one’s way of being in the world as they join the military. Contending that an analysis of how one transitions must be attendant to the whole military life-course, and not just how one exits the institution, the chapter brings three critical observations to the fore. Firstly, the authors question ‘who are veterans in Australia’? Secondly, the key challenges of transitioning are identified and placed within the changing context of policy making. Lastly, the authors suggest that to transition in Australia is to problematically navigate a bureaucracy and political economy of the military industrial complex as a historically challenging relationship between the veteran and the State is met with commodification of veterans’ support. What becomes clear is the psych-medico-­ legal lens through which Australian veterans transition, which is both constructed and framed. As transitional experiences are characterized as a private experience rather than an institutional effect, to become a veteran is to be an increasingly precarious position between the state, society and the market. Canada:  From Canada, Eichler’s analysis highlights the impacts of emerging socio-economic conditions, changing government policy and new forms of ‘non-­ traditional’ veteran advocacy which see the figure of the Canadian veteran in a state of flux as the focus of this chapter. Eichler’s chapter charts the government’s efforts to limit the veteran category whilst simultaneously veterans advocacy groups attempt to broaden and diversify the category. Eichler presents two examples of Canadian veteran advocacy, veterans protesting the removal of lifelong disability pension rights under the New Veterans Charter and veterans advocating for the needs of military sexual trauma survivors. Arguing these two largely disconnected and gendered examples encapsulate the contested arena in which veterans’ transition is currently framed in Canada. According to Eichler, the now well-established Canadian veterans’ research program, barely visible twenty years ago, is evolving into utilizing increasingly critical approaches being adopted to transition, arguing for the recognition of veterans as agents and subjects in their own right.

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Croatia:  In Aleksander Jakir’s chapter, he illustrates that while the military were indispensable in Croatia’s transition to an independent democratic state in the early 1990s, during the Homeland War, contemporary veterans’ transition arrangements remain problematically tied to these events. As a country endeavouring to construct a contemporary Croatian national narrative, agreement on appropriate veterans’ transition arrangements are proving a significant impasse to these aspirations. Jakir’s chapter maps the Croatian public dialogue oscillates between framing veterans as exacting a heavy toll on an already weak economy and as deserving of care as privileged defenders of the country’s independence, as a response to proposed revisions via the New Veterans Law. Estonia:  Trussa, Kasearu and Trumm’s chapter highlights military veterans as a newly emerging social group in present-day Estonia. Estonia’s newly defined veteran, constructed in the Veterans Policy 2012, are categorized controversially as those having served since Estonia’s independence in 1991. The authors utilize Axel Honneth’s (1996) concept of recognition to explore both the personal and pubic meaning of being a veteran in contemporary Estonia. This chapter presents data from the Estonian Veterans Survey contrasting the higher life satisfaction measures of veterans still serving in the Estonian Defence Force and the lower scores of those veterans having transitioned into civilian life. Netherlands:  Motshagen’s chapter provides us with an overview of the Dutch situation, focusing on research from the Dutch Trimbos Institute and the Veterans Institute. Since 2007, all veterans in the Netherlands have been registered in the Veterans Registration System. Empirical work conducted with this cohort has highlighted that while the vast majority of Dutch veterans are doing well, 25% require support ranging from healthcare to securing employment post-service and the most hard-to-reach 5% are facing complex multiple issues in civilian life. Since the end of the Cold War, the Netherlands have also been experiencing a shift in care needs of an ever-growing group of younger veterans. In the Netherlands, a simple model used in criminology and sociology has been applied to the veteran cohort: the ‘three Ws’: Werk, Wonen, Wijf (a job, a house and a wife) and presented here. A study in 2001 mapping out the needs of their younger veterans concluded that there is a particular need for aftercare, recognition and appreciation and for keeping up social contact. In this way, identifying as a veteran is shown to be a protective factor in the Netherlands, as belonging to this group is more likely to minimise social isolation. Subsequently, promoting recognition and appreciation for veterans has become one of the cornerstones of Dutch veterans’ policy. The author’s own research highlights the link between more positive (media) attentions as having a positive effect on the feelings of appreciation of veterans. This chapter then foregrounds the PTSD discussion within the moral injury discourse. Nigeria:  Oluwaseyi Oshigbo and Olaoluwatomi Oshigbo highlight a starkly complex political context in which Nigerian veterans’ transition is enmeshed. The authors provide an overview of the political evolution of the country from British colonialism through to Nigeria as a modern state. While Nigerian soldiers fought side by side


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with Europeans in the first and second world wars, they returned home often problematically as ‘accelerators of change’. Finally gaining independence from the British Empire in 1960, Nigeria experienced periods of military rule (1966–1979 and 1983–1998), which according to the authors still impacts on the transitional context in which Nigerian veterans are involved, which is marked by these deep and historical divisions. In contemporary Nigeria, Armed Forces day is held in January to coincide with the end of the Biafra Civil War, while discharged veterans access resettlement services at the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre in Lagos. While Nigeria has many ex-service men and women who enter the political and business sectors, many more face prolonged unemployment. Recently, specific health issues have been raised as problematic within the Nigerian veteran population, particularly PTSD and HIV/ AIDS, as this cohort experience diagnosis rates significantly higher than the general population. Periodic verification processes and long waiting times also continue to prove significant barriers to veterans claiming their pension rights. United Kingdom:  Moorhead outlines here how, in the United Kingdom (UK), issues of veterans transition were propelled into the political spotlight in 2008 when it was reported military veterans accounted for 20% of those involved in Britain’s criminal justice system. Since that time, the evolving response has seen a significant rise in the numbers and varieties of stakeholders entering the veterans transition sector. These changes in landscape mean that those contending to increase political influence and/or increasingly marketized resources ultimately contribute to and shape the dissonant and problematic construction of the contemporary UK veteran as simultaneously represented as hero and villain in UK public discourse. Moorhead’s chapter provides qualitative life course interview data from violent veterans embroiled in the UK criminal justice system, presented through the criminological theoretical framework of desistance. These veterans’ voices afford a more nuanced and subjective understanding of the impact of cultural distinctions between military and civilian contexts which can prove significant barriers to the development of a coherent and pro-social identity for this cohort on return to civilian life. United States:  Taylor and Reeves’ chapter opens with the increasing concerns regarding the self-harm suicide rate amongst the veteran community across the United States. The authors highlight powerfully that this issue wrenches the attention beyond those veterans who have sustained mental injury from conflict alone. The issue’s contemporary relevance is focused around the US military’s proposal to draw up ‘no harm contract’ under a ‘Separation Oath’ model. The chapter provides an overview of the current situation facing US military veterans’ engagement with health and welfare sectors. The authors assert the roots of stigma and the avoidance of help-seeking are operating at both formal and informal levels in the military, at the added expense of mental health crises experienced by those in non-combat roles, which are often carried out into their civilian lives. The chapter then critically examines the notion of the no harm contract suggestion – finding a distinct lack of evidence for their efficacy in reducing the potential for suicide and self-harm. The chapter closes with a critic of the adoption of Oaths on Exit as a therapeutic intervention.

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References Albertson, K., Banks, K., & Murray, E. T. (2017). Military veteran offenders: Making sense of developments in the debate to inform service delivery. Prison Service Journal, 234, 23–30. Frisk, K. (2018). Post-heroic warfare revisited: Meaning and legitimation of military losses. Sociology, 52(5), 898–914. Higate, P. (2013). ‘Switching on’ for cash: The private militarised security contractor as geo-corporal actor. In K. McSorley (Ed.), War and the body: Militarisation, practice and experience. Oxon and New York: Routledge. Kaldor, M. (2013). New and old wars: Organised violence in a global era. (3rd edn.). John Wiley & Sons. MacDonald, M. N., & Hunter, D. (2013). The discourse of Olympic security: London 2012. Discourse & Society, 24(1), 66–88. Murray, E. (2016). The ‘Veteran Off ender’: A governmental project in England and Wales. In The Palgrave handbook of criminology and war (pp. 313–330). London: Palgrave MacMillan. Wadham, B., & Goldsmith, A. (Eds.). (2018). Criminologies of the military: Militarism, national security and justice. Bloomsbury Publishing. Wilkinson, H. (2019). No man’s land? Veterans’ experiences of 21st century warfare and the return to post-conflict life. Unpublished doctoral Thesis. Keele University.

Further Reading Dandeker, C., Wessely, S., Iversen, A., & Ross, J. (2006). What’s in a name? Defining and caring for “Veterans”: The United Kingdom in international perspective. Armed Forces & Society, 32(2), 161–177. Forces in Mind Trust. (2015). Call to mind: A framework for action. Available at: http://www.fim-­ Hodson, S., Castor, C., & Aiken, A. (2017). An international perspective on transition. In J. Hacker Hughes (Ed.), Military veteran psychological health and social care: Contemporary issues. Oxon: Routledge. Home Office. (2017). Joint Communique on International Ministerial (5-Eyes) Conference on Veterans’ Issues News Release (July 2017). Accessed 19 Jan 2018. Howard League for Penal Reform. (2011). Leaving forces Life: The issue of transition. London: Howard League for Penal Reform. MacLean, A., & Elder, G. H. (2007). Military service in the life course. Annual Review of Sociology, 33(1), 175–196. MacManus, D., Rona, R., Dickson, H., Somaini, G., Fear, N., & Wessely, S. (2015). Aggressive and violent behavior among military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan: Prevalence and link with deployment and combat exposure. Epidemiologic Reviews, 37(1), 196–212. McGarry, R., Mythen, G., & Walklate, S. (2012). The soldier, human rights and the military covenant: A permissible state of exception? The International Journal of Human Rights, 16(8), 1183–1195.


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Shared Intelligence, Local Government Association and The Forces in Mind Trust. (2016). Our Community  – Our Covenant: Improving the delivery of local Covenant pledges. Available at: Treadwell, J. (2016). Should the forces be in the firing line? Social policy, the veteran and the ‘Acceptable Face’ of violent vriminality. In S. Walklate & R. McGarry (Eds.), Palgrave handbook on criminology and war (pp. 331–346). London: Palgrave MacMillan. Walklate, S., McGarry, R., & Mythen, G. (2013). Searching for resilience. Armed Forces & Society, 40(3), 408–427.

Chapter 1

Australia: Psychs, Suits and Mess Committees on Steroids: The Changing Terrain of Service Transition in Australia Ben Wadham and Deborah Morris

When a civilian joins the military, she/he becomes militarised. This is a profound change to one’s way of being in the world, their reasons for getting up in the morning, their dispositions to others and their sense of who they are. Becoming part of the Australian military is a pinnacle in many young Australian’s lives. When the time comes for the veteran to separate from the military, it is also a profound time of transition and change. Whether from operational contexts or for military personnel having ‘done their time’, the transition process is difficult, challenging and for some overwhelming. This chapter will present an initial venture into understanding veteran transitions in Australia. Little to no writing on this subject from the Australian social sciences has been undertaken. Our initial aim is to establish the material evidence of veteran transition in Australia by asking: who are veterans in Australia, who is transitioning? The basis of being a veteran is socialisation into the military institution. We explore the generally well-addressed literature on socialisation of the veteran into the military and their transition out. We argue that we must understand the military life course, not just focus on the exit. We then outline the governance of the veteran through the Department of Defence (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Upon exiting the military, veterans are faced with a jungle of bureaucracy and support services. This leads us to summarise the key challenges for the transitioning veteran by drawing upon salient themes in the submissions made to a recent Senate inquiry into veteran suicide. In this chapter, we place this material in the context of the changing policy and community faced by the veterans as they journey home. These changes include the B. Wadham (*) Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia e-mail: [email protected] D. Morris Griffith University, Nathan, QLD, Australia © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,



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historically challenging relationship with the state after return from deployment or having left the services, as well as a bourgeoning, but not necessarily efficient, veteran sector of proliferating ex-service organisations (ESOs). Finally, we comment on the marketisation of veterans, drawing on examples of how attempts to help the returned digger or efforts to raise the profile of the transition struggle have seen the rise of ‘veteran washing’ – where corporations and charities wash their products and enterprises with ANZAC symbolism for market influence – often framed through mawkish patriotism. Our overall argument is that this field of activity is under significant and rapid change which leads to poor coordination, limited perspectives and high competition from, and between, agencies in the sector. We write as two veterans who are transitioning.

Who Are Veterans in Australia: Who Is Transitioning? Soldiers are made from the raw material of the civilian, and once one becomes a soldier, one can never erase that experience. Veteran transition must be understood from the point where one is trained to become part of the military. This is the transition into the military. While there are many junctions, turning points and transitions in the military experience, deployment, psychological trauma or physical injury often significantly shape the transition from the military back into civil society. The manner in which civilians are transformed into military personnel is so profound that this in itself is the source of resettlement anxieties. Alongside the general challenges of exiting the military, when traumatised military personnel exit, the current structure of transition services and military welfare may exacerbate their health conditions. Currently, there is a great deal of political, social and academic interest in the transition from the military to civilian life. Military transition defines the process of change that a service person necessarily undertakes when her or his military career comes to an end (Forces in Mind Trust [FiMT] 2013). The concept of military to civilian transition is internationally recognised (Castro et  al. 2015). While many make a smooth transition into civilian life, there is a substantial minority that go on to experience difficulties in such areas as employment and education, health, social problems and relationship issues (Black and Papile 2010). Finding appropriate ways to support service personnel in making successful transitions to civilian life is viewed widely as a priority for public policy and research. There are approximately 59,000 continuous full-time Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, of which around 9000 (15%) are women (Women in Defence). In 2012, the number of current personnel who had served overseas in a war or warlike zone since 1999 was approximately 50,000; this number is now approaching the number of Australian veterans who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1972. Within the contemporary ADF workforce, around 43% have been deployed multiple times and 19% on one occasion. Thirty-nine percent have never been deployed (MHPW 2010). Whether an ADF member serves overseas or domestically around

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Australia, all will, at some point, discharge from the military and enter civilian life. Women and others will share transition challenges with male service personnel but will also experience difference due in part to societal gender norms, identification as a veteran and physiological make-up. About 5400 Australians join and about 5500 leave the ADF each year. On average, they serve around eight and a half years. Of these separations, around 600 recruits do not complete basic training and about 1400 leave involuntarily. While the majority of involuntary discharges are medical and receive support from DVA, there is no understanding of how many involuntary discharges are as a result of maladministration or malpractice within the ADF or how many voluntarily discharge with significant health issues or undiagnosed trauma. There is significant ambiguity of the word ‘veteran’. Traditionally, a veteran was understood as a returned serviceman. However, the veteran today is someone who has served at least one day in uniform. This definition has weakened the extent to which Australian veterans are able to identify as a unified community. While the overall numbers of veterans that DVA assists are falling, there are an increased number of contemporary veterans. Currently, DVA supports about 291,000 Australians. More than 201,000 of DVA’s clients are 65 or older, while around 23,000 are under the age of 40. Not all separating veterans are counted. The government is only aware of approximately one in five who leave the military. Government and ESOs only have a rough estimate of how many veterans there are in Australia. DVA figures suggest that there are approximately 320,000 Australian veterans, while the Australian Returned Services League (RSL) estimates that there are around 500,000 (FADTC 2017). The data on the veteran population is uncoordinated and variable. Subsequently, there remains no clear account of the needs of the Australian veteran community or what the transition process looks like. While the field of veteran transition is becoming increasingly rationalised, differentiated and commodified the social sciences in Australia have not yet adequately accounted for its evolution.

You Can Take Them Out of the Military, But… By what means is a young man or woman made a soldier? How is he turned from the civilian to the military subject? How does the transition into the military change his mind and reorient his attitudes to the functions and needs of the military? How does this subject return to the communities he came from? The process of transitioning out of the military begins with the transition in – basic training. Military subjectivity is marked by separation when one enters the military. Military training aims to break one’s connection with the past civilian life and to build primary deference to the military. Being a service member is constructed in opposition to being a civilian (Feaver 1996). These are psychosocial separations that are nested within larger global and national structures, for example, the distinction between civil and military societies or as ally/enemy (Wadham 2013).


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Transitioning from the military tends to focus on the back end of military service. Veteran transition is about military service, not just about leaving the military. At enlistment, the process of militarisation begins. When one enters the military environment, they undergo particular routines of self-mortification (Goffman 1961). Military historian Darren Moore explains: The objective is to purge the recruit’s civil identity, including any preconceptions he may hold about his rights and personal freedoms, and supplant the civilian value system with that of the military. This is accomplished by various methods, including denigrating those outside the military system and at the same time stressing the virtues of military community; it is in effect a transformational approach where the recruit self-actualises the desire to become part of the military. Other approaches are more individualized, relying on humiliation (including feminization of the male recruits) and brutality to break an individual’s self-esteem, lower their resistance to the values and attitudes that the military wants them to adopt, and reinforce the omnipotent nature of military discipline (Moore 2009, p. 75).

Becoming militarised involves the separation of the recruit from their past, including their family, friends and a sense of connection to the civil sphere. This is supplanted with military fraternity, of which the ANZAC tradition articulated most forcefully through the ideal of mateship (Pease 2001) is socialised as a core value. Mateship establishes esprit de corps. Mateship is the basis of a deep and enduring camaraderie. Mateship is one aspect of military life that is severely missed upon transition. Military cultures are distinct from civilian cultures. A former US Army Officer explains the military and civilian worlds are fundamentally at odds: Military organisation is: hierarchal, not egalitarian, and it orientated to the group rather than the individual; it stresses discipline and obedience, not freedom of expression; it depends on confidence and trust, not caveat emptor; it requires immediate decisions and direct action, not thorough analysis and extensive debate; it relies on training, simplification and predictable behaviour; not education, sophistication and empiricism. (Gard cited in Gabriel 1982, p. 89)

Transitioning is a cultural practice and a social phenomenon. It is much more than simply a psychological state or process. It is about how the state, the military and civil society conceives of veterans, how veterans see themselves in that triad of forces and how they learn to navigate these new roles and obligations. While this separation is central to military culture and to the mind-set of service personnel, Higate (2001) warns against slipping into a stereotypical polarity of civilian and military. Both contexts must be recognised for their diversity of identities, roles, contexts and cultural differences. Serving in the ADF Reserves is different from the full-time regular service. The experience of service and deployment is different across age groups. Service in the Army, Navy or Air Force presents different challenges, as does service in combat roles as opposed to support roles. Being a commissioned officer is a radically different experience of the military than serving as non-commissioned ranks. The experience of service changes across ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability and location. There are positive and negative transition outcomes for service personnel when moving into civilian life. Service personnel must navigate a complicated cultural

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transition when moving between environs. The return to civilian life after military service underpins considerable role identity disorientation, loss and stress (Bergman et al. 2014). Bergman et al. (2014) point towards this tension by employing a model of ‘reverse culture shock’ to describe the unexpected struggles some personnel experience during transition. Cooper et  al. (2017) explain this disjunction in these terms: When service personnel with a deeply embedded sense of military habitus return to civilian life, a collision or rupture may occur. Bourdieu calls this effect ‘hysteresis’; the discord occurring when the new field encountered is too different from the field to which one’s habitus is previously adjusted. Hysteresis may manifest in certain ‘negative sanctions’ such as fear, anxiety, or resistance to change … and these have obvious consequences for the interventions that may be required for those experiencing a rough transition. (2017, p. 60)

They go on to suggest that ‘a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved in transition is essential to the provision of appropriate support to personnel leaving the Armed Forces’ (2017, p. 60). Culture shock or hysteresis is a result of being socialised into military culture and then transitioning back into civil society. Both the individual’s frame of reference and the civilian culture itself may have changed, leading to challenges in navigating this now unfamiliar environment. Service personnel in transition often reproduce military cultural attitudes and ways of being without conscious awareness of how their behaviour remains orientated towards the military (Demers 2011). Veteran’s often complain about the ineffectiveness of civilian society and lament the ‘real way’ of doing things in the military. Internalised military values of loyalty, duty and collectivism create dissension with individualistic civilian values. Feelings of alienation and rejection, loss and grief, and a confused sense of self often result in a perception of not belonging anywhere (Demers 2011). In a climate where the military/civilian divide is widening, differences between the two can be disorientating, and renegotiation is challenging for the soldier. Vacillating between a desire to reconnect with a nostalgic childhood ideal and a longing for the familiarity of the military environment, the process of transition must be as well-managed as the pathway into the military.

The Soldier and the State Post-occupation Australian military service has its beginnings with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) in World War I. Australia has sent contingents to fight in the wars of our allies over the twentieth century and more recently. At a time when nationalist and patriarchal structures were being heavily criticised by civil society, the Vietnam War resulted in public hostility towards national servicemen across the country. The majority of veterans prior to this were national servicemen, either civilian volunteers or conscripts. By 1976, conscription had been abolished, and the three separate branches of the Army, Navy and Air Force had been unified under Tange’s Defence Diarchy. The Defence of Australia Act in 2001 (Horner 2001) further centralised ADF organisational structure built upon the


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p­ remise of a career-oriented, volunteer force. This ongoing shift from institution to occupation significantly changes the military experience. Arguably, personnel become more insulated from civil society (Demers 2011) as the ADF modus operandi emphasises occupation over institution: An institution is legitimated in terms of values and norms, i.e. a purpose transcending individual self interest in favour of a presume higher good … An occupation is legitimated in terms of the marketplace, i.e. prevailing monetary rewards for equivalent competencies. (Moskos 1977, pp. 42–43)

The principal interest is that there is, and has been, a significant change in relations between civil society and the military. Many Australian’s today, as opposed to the past, have little personal engagement with the military. In today’s military, young people take up an occupation in a highly institutionalised workplace, one that sees them separated from the wider world and socialised within a particular clique of friends, colleagues and family. In truth, the ADF manifests an expression of both institution and occupation, although occupationalism is associated with institutional modernisation. Veteran transitions have traditionally been seen as soldiers returning from war. Today, transitions are also about leaving a committed profession characterised by relentless training regimes dedicated to maintain standing readiness for operational service. At the base of the relationship between military personnel and the state is an informal set of moral obligations. This moral obligation is the psychological expectation of ‘unlimited liability’ for military personnel for the potential sacrifice of life (Mumford 2012, p. 820). Known colloquially by military personnel as ‘signing on the dotted line’, it is a mutual obligation between the nation, the government and the armed forces in which military personnel surrender certain civil liberties and individual agency and risk potential death in return for being cared for by the state. This moral obligation can be traced through the changing dynamics of service, from the civilian volunteer, to the national conscript, to the professional soldier. The changing dynamics and military/civil relations of the ADF are also associated with societal progress. This progress has gradually installed more inclusive civic values and machinery across the government and not for profit sectors. Over the past 20 years, the ADF has maintained a sceptical relationship with questions of women’s participation, sexual diversity or increasing its representation of people from different cultural backgrounds. Questions of organisational diversity and the effectiveness of the military justice system have arisen predominantly through sex or harassment scandals. The unquestionable need to widen the recruitment pool has marginally increased organisational diversity and has also unsettled the validity of a military masculinised warrior caste (Wadham et al. 2016). The media too has differentiated through the mediation of militarism across different news media, a process which has opened the ADF to increased scrutiny and comment. The transition process and post-service care are overseen by the DoD and continue with the DVA. Historically, each department has provided services within distinct jurisdictions. These divergent states encouraged the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2013. Created in response to a growing awareness of

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poor veteran health outcomes and increased public scrutiny, the MOU defines the respective roles of the two departments relating to the provision, care and support of an ADF member’s career including transition.

 he Psycho-medico-legal Cage: ‘This Disruption Isn’t T Unexpected’ Since World War I, there has been a significant shift in focus from physical casualties of war to psychological trauma caused by military service. In World War I, approximately 14% (60,000) of Australia’s military force lost their lives, and a further 40% (156,000) were taken prisoner, gassed or wounded. Australia’s population at the time was only 4.9 million (Australian War Memorial 2018). The overwhelming number of Australians killed and wounded in action overshadowed the psychiatric damage endured by those who survived. Veterans who returned with physical wounds were revered for their sacrifice, while those who came home with psychological trauma, or shell-shock, were stigmatised and labelled as failures (Larsson 2009). Families who were struggling with the burden of care turned to the government for assistance. In the years following, Australia cared for the nations repatriated veterans alike. Shell-shocked veterans received the same pension status as those who returned with physical injuries. The government psycho-medical view was that those with neurasthenia were malingers or had some type of predisposition (e.g. family maladjustment) behind their illness (Larsson 2010). Despite this individualisation of the effects of war, World War II marked a shift from the ‘detect the malingerer and bash the neurotic’ to an understanding that the wellbeing of military personnel underpinned the formation of an effective fighting force. This was an era of intense medicalisation of the fighting man through the principle force of psychiatry. While earlier conflicts gave birth to such names as ‘shell-shock’, ‘neurasthenia’ and ‘combat exhaustion’, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with the legacy of the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, veterans not only struggled to receive acknowledgement and benefits for psychiatric trauma but also acceptance by the broader community. In 1980, with the appearance of PTSD in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III), PTSD became a legitimate mental illness that was understood as being caused by the cumulative effects of exposure to the trauma and hardships of war (McFarlane and Forbes 2015). A medical diagnosis gave the government the capacity to care for the veterans without being implicated in sending them to war with possibly fatal consequences. Consequently, PTSD is now commonly understood as an individual pathology caused by an event in war (Molendijk et al. 2015). This medical diagnosis has allowed veterans to access compensation, and it made recognition for the ­veteran’s suffering possibly without judging either institutional authorities or the veterans themselves (Molendijk et al. 2015).


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The Enemy Within: How Veterans Must Fight the State A veteran’s transition from the ADF includes navigating the bureaucracy and political economy of the military industrial complex. Networks of power within this complex include the ADF, DVA and biomedicine. Communicating with, and navigating, these entities can be difficult for the veteran, on occasions contributing to suicide. Jesse Bird served in the ADF (ADF) from 2007 to 2010. He was deployed to Afghanistan on several occasions. On return from deployment, Jesse struggled with his experiences and sought help from the DVA. Early in 2017, his mother and father submitted to the Senate inquiry into suicide by veterans: He has been endeavoring to seek assistance form DVA for the last eighteen months without success – it seems to him and us that the level of bureaucracy is intentionally obstructionist and unedifying. The jungle of paperwork the lack of follow-up and the non-existent support has contributed to his deteriorating mental health. He is involved with VVCS and is currently involved in a 12-week PTSD Specific Counselling program which finishes in early December. Jesse has not received any money what-so-ever from DVA or Centrelink to help him survive and without our financial and emotional help he would be on the street or worse.

What followed was a series of tragic bureaucratic dogma and obstruction, leading Jesse to take his life, during the inquiry in June 2017. Jesse’s father commented at the time: This department is charged with the responsibility to care and support our veteran community and that is what the Australian community expects to happen, not the current delay, deny, destroy.

Jesse’s story is not extraordinary. His story is emblematic of a thread that runs through accounts of military service in liberal democracies over the last century at least. It is a story of a young man who joined the ADF as a profession and who loved his job but struggled with its consequences. Jesse’s story is one of the soldier and the state, and how after ‘signing on the dotted line’ and volunteering to make the ultimate sacrifice, he was denied welfare, recognition and support for the consequences of his service. His circumstances became a lead focus in a subsequent Senate Inquiry of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee (FADTC 2017) The Constant Battle: Suicide by Veterans. According to the Constant Battle Report, around 118 veterans have committed suicide since September 2016 (2017, p. 14); the inquiry acknowledges that this may not reflect the exact number of suicides due to limited data. For example, while not all veterans commit or attempt suicide, the complicating factors in their health are common. Arguably, while the root causes of these issues derive from military service, it is during the process of transition that these issues can become intensified as the veteran negotiates finding employment, finances, navigating psycho-medico-­ legal frameworks, reconnecting with family and social reintegration (Black and Papile 2010). These factors contribute to veteran suicide after the fact of trauma. Following Senecal and McDonald (2017), in Australia, the struggles and symptoms veterans

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experience upon social reintegration have less to do with what we traditionally imagine as traumatic: In other words, the presumption that the death, violence, or hostility faced in combat are the main causes of struggles and symptoms for military personnel upon reintegrating is an overstatement and, quite possibly in many cases, a red herring. (2017, p. 68)

This position is echoed by other research which suggests that it is the dominant institutional ideas about PTSD, and the return from war, that shapes and conflicts with the veteran’s lived experience (Molendijk et al. 2015). It may not simply be trauma that causes reintegration complications. For example, there are two principal ways these secondary traumas present: firstly, through the manner in which the state-governed veteran sector constructs the injured veteran – as a liability – and secondly how the sector actively obstructs support, denies liability or acts with hostility to veterans in the processes of managing their care. Submissions to the Constant Battle: Suicide by Veteran’s inquiry outlined mental health issues, PTSD, homelessness and poverty, unemployment and poor job security, family violence, social isolation, perceived maladministration in the military justice system, substance abuse and experience of sexual assault and bullying in the military as key issues experienced by veterans upon separation. These submissions also outlined significant frustration with the state-governed veteran sector arguing that excessive bureaucracy, institutional denial and malfeasance characterised dealings with DVA. While veterans need a diagnosis to claim benefits, the claiming of victimhood conflicts with the values that the military intentionally fosters, masculinised values such as self-reliance, psychological toughness, collective responsibility and group loyalty (Gallagher 2016). The military-medical complex also affirms a very narrow conception of disability and trauma that compels the veteran to identify and operate through their illness – which is a source of stigma. As a result, the veteran becomes boxed in by systems of bureaucratic militarism that attempt to frame the issues as individualised and personal. Additionally, if the disability is not visible, or the trauma was not publicly witnessed by others, the experience is ‘faked’ (Hooyer 2012). This stereotype of the liar who is trying to get out of duty and/or collect compensation adds to yet another layer of stigmatisation and internalised conflict for the veteran (Howell 2012). Only recently, Senator Derryn Hinch identified a case of ‘bureaucratic bastardry’ that highlighted this plight. DVA had actively deleted a policy clause that would have assisted a veteran’s claims, for the purpose of denying his claim. Hinch explains: Recently over a Q&A with veterans at the Ballarat RSL I heard some horror stories, not what happened overseas, not what happened in the war zone where they put their lives on the line for their country, but what happened after they got home, after they got back here, and I told them the brutal truth about the Department of Veterans Affairs, and I told them they had to regard the DVA as the enemy because they treat you as the enemy. And in the case of former paratrooper Martin Rollins it’s sadly a classic case and not an unusual one. This shameful episode over how a serviceman was treated was featured on the ABC report the other night the story claimed the DVA deliberately deleted an incapacity policy for


B. Wadham and D. Morris self-­employed vets so the pen pushers could deny the compensation claim of veteran Rollins who had to retire as a paratrooper after damaging his spine…. (Hinch 2018)

Across the various inquiries into transition or veteran suicide are descriptions of an organisation that seeks to delay processes, fails to communicate effectively, treats its veterans with disdain and hostility and engages in the maladministration of veteran’s claims. While a diagnosis means that the military-medical community has validated the experiences of suffering from traumatic stress, the burdens of ‘proof’ (Gallagher 2016) surrounding psychiatric category have damaging, fatiguing effects upon veterans: suicide being one. These power relations – of a psycho-medico-legal system governing the veterans’ life – are rendered invisible by the technologies of medicalisation, the diagnostic criteria for claiming disability status (Gallagher 2016). The consequences of giving your all for the functional imperatives of the ADF – warfare – are turned back upon the veteran. They become a private experience, rather than an institutional effect. Through institutional denial and impossible burdens of proof, individuals caught in this paradigm often feel betrayed by the ADF whom they believed to have a ‘contract of unlimited liability’ with. The compounding feelings of betrayal, decreased health, grief, lost identity and reverse culture shock are significant contributors to compounding health issues, veteran suicide and, consequently, diminished life trajectories.

Veteran Washing: Exploiting Heroism for Commercial Ends Beyond the institutional frame of veteran transition lies the military third sector. The ‘veteran’ sector has evolved and grown significantly over the past decade in Australia. It is an increasingly confusing landscape marked by proliferating ex-­ service organisations (ESO), the commercialisation of care and the commodification of the veteran status. At the community level, the transitioning veteran is primarily supported by a network of ESOs. There are approximately 6000 ESOs supporting the veteran community in Australia (ESOMP 2016) ranging from local grassroots organisations through to national corporatist structures, an assemblage of charities, social enterprises, community groups, non-governmental organisations and cooperatives, broadly understood as ‘not the state and not the market’ (Alcock 2012, p. 221). With the declining relevance of Australia’s peak veteran organisation – the RSL – in part due to heavy governance and multiple financial scandals, other ESOs have increasingly filled the vacuum to address veterans’ welfare needs. There is a great diversity of causes that the ESOs choose as their modus operandi. While some focus on a single issue, others are broader in scope connecting to a particular time frame, regiment or service. Over time, this had led to an unregulated sector characterised by overcrowding, duplication of services and a lack of cohesion and direction. This has significant flow-on effects for transitioning personnel who are often overwhelmed and confused by the space. In response, a Ministerial Statement was released urging

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the sector to unify and collaborate (Ministerial Statement 2017). What has followed is an array of divergent configurations from differing factions within the community – the most successful of which is the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO). While the ADSO commands a strategic position, confusion and overcrowding remain. Arguably, this is in part due to a limited understanding of the needs and challenges facing the current transitioning veteran (ESOMP 2016). The lack of direction and cohesion which haunts the sector can be evidenced in tensions between and within organisations over competition for resources and authority. The Australian veteran sector is characterised, at this point, as intensely competitive and considerably tribal. ESOs have traditionally drawn on a strong sense of fraternity – of those who have served. It has been a highly masculine bastion bolstered by mateship and camaraderie. Leadership and governance continue to express the military disposition. Hierarchical structure, rank association, reliance upon rules and regulations and tendencies towards tribalism mark ESO cultures. Much criticism has been drawn towards the ESO space from younger veterans. Dubbed as ‘mess committees on steroids’, some organisations are viewed with suspicion due to a prevalence of ex-officers, infighting and a growing belief that some ESOs are more interested in maintaining relevance and position as opposed to the welfare of veterans. The class system inherent in the ADF often contributes to these dysfunctional contexts where many enlisted veterans have no desire to participate in spaces where power differentiations inherent to military service are replicated within the veteran sector – even though subordination has no currency in civil society. Whether the criticism is justified, this highlights a disconnect between the veteran sector and the needs of contemporary and currently transitioning personnel. Following Herman and Yarwood (2015), the Australian veteran space is a confusing terrain of multiple organisations and changing relationships as the sector jostles for relevance, position and power. ESOs are not only territorial and critical of each other but also government agencies involved in veteran care (Herman and Yarwood 2015). The intensity of inter-organisational and interagency politics within the ESO space has arguably increased with changing political environments, regimes of governance and funding uncertainty (Smith 2010). The way that the relations of care are embedded in broader politics and market forces creates a highly competitive sector with organisations jostling for authority and survival. The plurality of services and agencies which characterises the sector is argued in neoliberal parlance to create a more changeable and contingent environment of care for individuals to negotiate. In terms of welfare provision, the sector increasingly occupies a problematic position between the state, society and market. Either, grassroots organisations emerge in response to particular needs and issues and ‘provide relief to an ever-more disarmed welfare state’ (Bode and Brandsen 2014, p.  1056). In these funding environments governed by austerity measures, organisations become dependent on government contracts. This undermines their position as independent actors (Alcock 2012). For example, two academic/commercial operations have become leaders in PTSD in Australia and are closely aligned with both DVA and the ADF.  Not including ongoing income derived from both state agencies, the entities have received millions of dollars in


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seed funding, one organisation every 3 years. This situates these research bodies as appendices to the state apparatus as they become hybridised through a growing reliance on the market for income (Herman and Yarwood 2015; Defourny and Nyssens 2010; Phillips and Hebb 2010; Smith 2010). Their knowledge aligns with government imperatives that confound care and governance while veteran outcomes remain poor. As a consequence, the transitioning veteran becomes heavily regulated through this psycho-­medico-­governance nexus. The commodification of veterans has seen the rise of veteran washing – where corporations and charities exploit the veteran struggles for market influence. High-­ profile campaigns by a number of charities attempt to raise awareness of the struggles of transitioning veterans by humanising their stories of trauma as a marketing strategy. While funds are being raised under the banner of PTSD and suicide prevention, veterans remain ill and continue to commit suicide. More broadly, through discourses of illness, service and sacrifice, the Australian veteran sector contributes to shaping the community perception of what a veteran looks like. Further, since commercial enterprises such as Costco Wholesale hold the Defence Hour, corporations grab at anything to associate themselves with ANZAC Day. Only recently, the Woolworths’ Fresh in our Memories campaign was considered to inappropriately ride the supermarket’s angle on freshness off the back of the Ode Lest We Forget. Zoo Magazine dropped itself in hot water in 2015 by running an ANZAC commemorative issue bound in a wrapping stating: ‘Warning! Contents contain dangerous amounts of lady hotness, “useful” facts, hilarity & other bloke stuff’. Zoo is one expression of the ‘laddening’ of ANZAC Day itself but also an example of how the market increasingly seeks to exploit the ANZAC brand and the cultural capital of the heroic veteran.

Conclusion The veteran sector is differentiating, rationalising and commodifying. The rise of interest in veteran care and support is driven by Australia’s engagement in military operations since the late 1990s. As veterans return, the veteran sector develops in the context of changing relations between state, military, market and civil society change. The change to an all-volunteer force in the 1970s saw the reorientation of military service from the emphasis on institutional belonging to occupational service, intensifying the culture gap between civil and military. In recent times, veteran care has continued to medicalise with the field rationalising across therapy, medication, support services and the administration of veteran benefits. The sector has also differentiated, and the lines between welfare and commercial enterprise are blurring. Charities and ESOs have abounded, and the veteran has become a symbol of Australian heroism which commercial entities have sought to exploit. Despite the bluster, veteran transition remains a challenging period for separating personnel, at a time, active service or otherwise, where the soldier must leave the structural,

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embodied and psychosocial confines of the military occupation and venture into a familiar but also foreign terrain. This hysteresis, an experience of dislocation, remains poorly understood in the social sciences in Australia and is in need of much stronger research attention. Too often it is related principally to PTSD or another trauma experience in the military. Transitioning poses real challenges for all military personnel. Research must attend to the lived experience of the veteran, as well as the structural contexts in which they serve and exit the military. Social scientific research can help to shift the psycho-medico-legal gaze on the veteran and make state governance more accountable to their contract of unlimited liability. Currently, the unregulated and highly contested space of veteran transitions appears to contribute to unacceptable outcomes for Australian veterans.

References ADF Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study. (2010). Accessed 2 July 2018. Alcock, P. (2012). New policy spaces: The impact of devolution on third sector policy in the UK. Social Policy & Administration, 46(2), 219–238. Australian War Memorial. (2018). First World War 1914–18, The Australian War Memorial [Online]. Available at: Accessed 2 July 2018. Bergman, B. P., Burdett, H. J., & Greenberg, N. (2014). Service life and beyond – Institution or culture? The RUSI Journal, 159(5), 60–68. Black, T., & Papile, C. (2010). Making it on Civvy street: An online survey of Canadian veterans in transition. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 44(4), 383–401. Bode, I., & Brandsen, T. (2014). State–third sector partnerships: A short overview of key issues in the debate. Public Management Review, 16(8), 1055–1066. 37.2014.957344. Castro, C. A., Kintzle, S., & Hassan, A. M. (2015). The combat veteran paradox: Paradoxes and dilemmas encountered with reintegrating combat veterans and the agencies that support them. Traumatology, 21(4), 299–310. Cooper, L., Caddick, N., Godier, L., Cooper, A., Fossey, M., & Engward, H. (2017). A model of military to civilian transition: Bourdieu in action. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, 3(2), 53–60. Defourny, J., & Nyssens, M. (2010). Conceptions of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in europe and the United States: Convergences and divergences. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 32–53. Demers, A. (2011). When veterans return: The role of community in reintegration. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 16(2), 160–179. Ex-Service Organisations Mapping Project (ESOMP). (2016). Aspen Foundation. https://www. Accessed 2 July 2018. Feaver, P.  D. (1996). The civil-military problematique: Huntington, Janowitz, and the question of civilian control. Armed Forces & Society, 23(2), 149–178. 27x9602300203. Forces in Mind Trust. (2013). The transition mapping study: Understanding the transition process for service personnel returning to civilian life. Accessed 2 July 2018.


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Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee. (2017). The constant battle: Suicide by veterans. Canberra: Senate Printing Unit. Gabriel, R. (1982). To serve with honour: A treatise on military ethics and the way of the soldier. Westport: Greenwood Press. Gallagher, B. P. (2016). Burdens of proof: Veteran frauds, PTSD pussies, and the spectre of the welfare queen. Critical Military Studies, 2(3), 139–154. 16.1155861. Goffman, E. (1961). Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. London: Penguin. Herman, A., & Yarwood, R. (2015). From warfare to welfare: Veterans, military charities and the blurred spatiality of post-service welfare in the United Kingdom. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 47(12), 2628–2644. Higate, P. R. (2001). Theorizing continuity: From military to civilian life. Armed Forces & Society, 27(3), 443–460. Hinch, D. (2018). Commonwealth of Australia [video]. Available at: watch?v=8L4_cQdhDOM. Accessed 2 July 2018. Hooyer, K. (2012). Going AWOL: Alternative responses to PTSD stigma in the US military. Field Notes: A Journal of Collegiate Anthropology, 4(1), 106–128. Horner, D. (2001). Making the Australian Defence Force. The Australian centenary history of defence volume IV. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Howell, A. (2012). The demise of PTSD. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 37(3), 214–226. Larsson, M. (2009). Shattered Anzacs: Living with the scars of war. Sydney: University of NSW Press. Larsson, M. (2010). Unsung healers: Anzacs and their family caregivers. Memento, (38), 13–15. McFarlane, A.  C., & Forbes, D. (2015). The journey from moral inferiority to post-traumatic stress disorder. The Medical Journal of Australia, 202(7), 348–349. mja15.00201. Ministerial Statement. (2017, August 14). Ministerial statement on veteran and their families. Australian Government. Molendijk, T., Kramer, E.-H., & Verweij, D. (2015). Conflicting notions on violence and ptsd in the military: Institutional and personal narratives of combat-related illness. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 40(3), 338–360. Moore, D. (2009). The soldier: A history of courage, sacrifice and brotherhood. London: Icon. Moskos, C.  C. (1977). From institution to occupation. Armed Forces & Society, 4(1), 41–50. Mumford, A. (2012). Veteran care in the United Kingdom and the sustainability of the ‘Military Covenant’. The Political Quarterly, 83(4), 820–826. https://doi. org/10.1111/j.1467-923x.2012.02358.x. Pease, B. (2001). Moving beyond mateship: Reconstructing Australian men’s practices. In B. Pease & K. Pringle (Eds.), A man’s world? Changing men’s practices in a globalised world (pp. 191–220). London: Zed Books. Phillips, S., & Hebb, T. (2010). Financing the third sector: Introduction/editorial. Policy and Society, 29, 181–187. Senecal, G., & McDonald, M. (2017). Mission completion, troop welfare and destructive idealism: A case study on the phenomenology of a combat veteran’s social reintegration. New Male Studies, 6(2), 64–89. Smith, S. (2010). Hybridization and non-profit organizations: The governance challenge. Policy and Society, 29, 219–229. Wadham, B. (2013). Brotherhood. Australian Feminist Studies, 28(76), 212–235. 0.1080/08164649.2013.792440.

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Wadham, B., Bridges, D., Mundkur, A., & Connor, J. (2016). ‘War-fighting and left-wing feminist agendas’: Gender and change in the Australian Defence Force. Critical Military Studies, 4(3), 264–280. Women in Defence. Women in Defence  – Department of Defence. women/. Accessed 2 July 2018.

Chapter 2

Canada: The Reemergence of Veteran Issues in Canada: State Retrenchment and Gendered Veteran Advocacy Maya Eichler

Colloquially, Canadians associate the term veteran with the older generation of ­veterans. However, a new generation of veterans of the post-Cold War period has emerged as the population of Second World War and Korean War veterans declines (VAC 2018b). Since the 1990s, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have deployed to more than a dozen conflict zones, including to Afghanistan. As a result, veteran issues have reemerged as a major concern in Canadian society. Government, media, and civil society have been paying increased attention to modern-day veterans and  their transition from military to civilian life. Countless media stories have ­highlighted veterans’ struggles with mental health, homelessness, and insufficient services. Government research has also documented the challenges of military-tocivilian transition. Every year, approximately 4000–5000 regular force members leave the CAF. Of these, one in four are released for medical reasons (Thompson and Lockhart 2015). In the most recent survey of regular force members who released between 1998 and 2015, roughly one third reported a difficult adjustment to civilian life (VAC 2017a). Today, Canadian veteran research focuses on better understanding the challenges of the new generation of veterans, in particular how the stressors of military-to-­ civilian transition interact with medical problems veterans may experience. This chapter takes a step back from this prevalent research focus. Using a critical lens, it recognizes “the veteran” and “veteran issues” as constructed, changing, and potentially contested. Who is a veteran? What do we owe veterans? What issues are recognized as legitimate veteran issues? These are thorny political questions as they are linked not only to social recognition but financial entitlements. In Canada, the figure of the veteran is in flux, shaped by changes in the geopolitical context, economic and social conditions, and government policy, as well as M. Eichler (*) Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS, Canada e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,



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the emergence of new forms of veteran advocacy. Over the past two decades, the social contract between state, society, and veterans has been rewritten within the broader context of neoliberalism. As the dominant economic ideology of our times, neoliberalism advocates a reduced role for the state, emphasizes individual responsibility, and prioritizes market-based and third-sector solutions. This chapter examines the activism of veterans fighting to maintain previous entitlements and contrasts this with the activism of military sexual trauma survivors fighting for services and better care. These two examples of veteran advocacy highlight the contemporary struggle over who we perceive to be veterans, what we believe we owe veterans, and what is included in the scope of veteran issues. The analysis shows that changes to government policy have called into question the privileged figure of the deserving male veteran. Furthermore, the advocacy of “nontraditional” veterans, such as survivors of military sexual trauma, has challenged the narrow but dominant image of veterans as primarily male combat veterans. Veteran advocates are in different ways fighting to deepen and expand what it means to be a veteran and what veterans are owed. In Canada, we see a simultaneous erosion of some of the privileges of veterans through state retrenchment and efforts to deepen and expand the veteran category through advocacy. The chapter consists of four sections. Section one gives a brief overview of the field of veteran research in Canada and lays out how the “critical” approach adopted in this chapter differs from the more common “problem-solving” focus of Canadian veteran research. The second section historically situates the reemergence of veteran issues in Canada to show how the government’s New Veterans Charter has redefined the social contract with veterans. Sections three and four offer two examples of Canadian veteran advocacy: veterans fighting against the removal of lifelong disability pensions with the New Veterans Charter and veterans advocating for the needs of military sexual trauma survivors. The chapter concludes by examining how these two gendered forms of veteran advocacy have remained disconnected, with one group fighting to preserve the entitlements and privileges associated with the figure of the male veteran and the other fighting for recognition of noncombat-­ related injuries such as military sexual trauma.

Veteran Research: Historical and Theoretical Considerations Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), the federal department mandated with the care of veterans, defines a veteran as any person who “releases with an honourable discharge and who successfully underwent basic training” (VAC 2015). This definition is also, by and large, the definition used by Canadian veteran researchers. Canadian veteran research has ebbed and flowed with Canada’s involvement in military operations. Gaining significance in the decades following the Second World War, veteran research in Canada began to diminish in scope in the final decades of the Cold War. Veteran research saw a revival during the 1990s, as a result of the need to respond to the challenges of a new generation of veterans. In 2001, VAC set up a

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Research Directorate to catch up with the reality of a new generation of Canadian veterans about which little was known at the time. VAC launched its Life After Service Studies (LASS) program of research, the most comprehensive examination of modern-day veterans in Canada based on surveys conducted in 2010, 2013, and 2016 (VAC 2018a). More recently, VAC embarked on the Road to Civilian Life (R2CL) research program (Thompson and Lockhart 2015), which includes the first longitudinal qualitative study of Canadian veterans transitioning from military to civilian life. One of the most significant developments in Canadian veteran research was the 2010 founding of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (known as CIMVHR), initiated by Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada. The network includes 43 Canadian universities, and the Institute administers government contracts on military, veteran, and military and veteran family health research. The annual CIMVHR forum brings together hundreds of military and veteran researchers from Canada and internationally, focusing on issues of veteran transition, health, well-being, and families. The founding of the CIMVHR journal in 2014, the Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, further boosted veteran research in Canada (CIMVHR 2018). Canadian veteran research, barely visible two decades ago, has established itself domestically and internationally as a vibrant field of study. Canadian veteran researchers have heavily relied on a “problem-solving” approach. They often begin with the problem of veteran health or military-to-­ civilian transition and seek to identify the factors enabling or hindering a particular outcome, such as good health and well-being or a smooth transition (e.g., see research by VAC and publications in the Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health). While such an approach produces important data on veteran health and well-being and the positive and negative experiences of veterans during the military-­ to-­civilian transition, a “critical” approach to veteran issues and transition situates veterans within the broader political and social context and questions taken-for-­ granted concepts and categories. Recent interventions in the field of Critical Military Studies inform the critical approach taken in this chapter. Critical Military Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study in which “nothing is taken for granted as natural or inevitable, but the ongoing processes of construction, constitution, and contestation are explored” (Basham et  al. 2015, p.  2). For example, critical military scholars examine the processes through which military power, military-civilian relations, or the veteran are constituted (Bulmer and Eichler 2017). One central critique of recent critical research on veterans has been the potential “pathologization” of veterans through an overemphasis on veteran health problems as well as their potential “objectification” through research and intervention (Bulmer and Jackson 2016; Caddick et al. 2017; Eichler et al. 2017; Schrader 2017). Instead, critical researchers have argued for recognizing veterans as agents and subjects in their own right, including as activists (Flores 2017; Leitz 2014; Schrader 2017). This chapter follows these recent interventions as it moves away from the common focus on veteran health and well-being. Instead, it examines how the figure of the veteran has been constructed and contested in the contemporary Canadian


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c­ ontext through policy and advocacy. The analysis of veteran issues is placed within broader developments in state-society and military-civilian relations. The Critical Military Studies approach is complemented with insights from critical political economy (Graefe 2007) and feminist scholarship (Enloe 2000). This allows for an examination of the veteran figure within broader political, economic, and social changes in Western societies over the past decades. These changes include the neoliberalization of social policy and the changing politics of gender within society and the military (Connell 2010). As the Canadian case illustrates, the figure of the veteran is a construct whose meaning shifts with the changing nature of war, the economy, politics, and society. The veteran has historically been constructed and imagined as a male combat veteran in Canada, as in other Western countries. This status has included both symbolic recognition and financial entitlements, buttressed by the societal privileging of militarized masculinity (Cowen 2008; Enloe 2000). The norm and privileged status of the male warrior have not been uncontested by any means. In the past, as today, some veterans have had to fight for recognition and better services.

 eterans in Twenty-First-Century Canada: New Policy V for a New Generation of Veterans Canada’s veteran population consists of 600,300 former regular force and primary reserve members, 50,300 Second World War veterans, and 7,700 Korean War veterans (VAC 2018b). The veteran emerged as a significant social and political figure in Canada in the aftermath of the First World War. At the time, veterans were returning home and demanding government support in large numbers. In the face of mass unemployment, many of them turned to protest, including joining the Winnipeg General Strike – the largest labor unrest and general strike in Canadian history. In response, the government developed programs for returning veterans and established pensions for disabled veterans through the Pension Act, but benefits remained quite limited (Aiken and Buitenhuis 2011). These circumstances changed with Canada’s participation in the Second World War. The ascendancy of Keynesian economic thinking and an attempt to avoid the social and political turmoil of World War I demobilization led the Canadian government to expand social programs for veterans during and after the Second World War (Keshen 1998). It led to the development of a Veterans Charter under the motto of “Opportunity with Security,” which included educational benefits, land benefits, veterans’ hospitals, and increased benefits for disability. In the 1950s, veterans’ benefits were extended to cover Korean War veterans as well as World War II veterans from Newfoundland (Aiken and Buitenhuis 2011). During the Cold War, Canada’s multilateral approach to foreign policy limited the international role of the military.  While Canada actively participated in UN peacekeeping missions, the scope of deployments was limited, and troops did not

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face active combat after the Korean War (Murray and McCoy 2010). Veteran issues faded from public attention in the decades following the Korean War, only to reemerge in the post-Cold War period. The end of the Cold War brought about a dramatic change in the tempo and scope of Canadian military deployments. Since the 1990s, the CAF has deployed to dozens of conflict zones including Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq/Syria (National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces 2018a). More than 40,000 men and women were deployed in the Afghan mission (2001–2014) – the longest combat operation of the armed forces in Canadian history and the largest deployment since the Second World War. Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan shifted the role of the CAF from a focus on peacekeeping to more active combat. The expansion of Canada’s military involvement overseas has led to an increased prevalence of operational stress injuries such as posttraumatic stress disorder. The demands on individual military members have increased, as have the demands on their families, with often negative repercussions for the mental health and overall well-being of veterans and their families (Kwan-Lafond et al. 2011; Norris et al. 2015). While medical releases were rare before the 1990s, by the final years of the Afghan war, 25 percent of military members were released for medical reasons (Aiken and Buitenhuis 2011). That has meant that a significant number of today’s veterans are undergoing the transition to civilian life while also dealing with the challenges of an injury or illness. In 2005, during the war in Afghanistan, the Canadian government introduced a New Veterans Charter (NVC) (Canada 2005). The NVC was brought in under a Liberal government but implemented by the Conservatives who came to power in 2006 and remained in government until 2015. The NVC was expected to address “the different needs of a new generation of veterans who have been involved in complex, ill-defined and more dangerous operations” (Kerr 2014, p. 9). Key rationales for its development were the growing recognition of mental health issues and the need to support the transition from military to civilian life. The NVC was the largest overhaul of veterans’ benefits and services in decades and indicated a shift in philosophy as Alice Aiken and Amy Buitenhuis (2011, p. 3–4) explain: The NVC “aims to shift the philosophy of veteran support from one of compensation to one of wellness and rehabilitation. Its purpose is to facilitate the re-entry of veterans into civilian life in a way that promotes reintegration and independence.” Similar to the “problem-solving” approach mentioned above, the NVC focuses on various policy interventions and psychosocial programs aimed at rehabilitation and a “successful” transition (Eichler and Bulmer 2016). The NVC has led to a proliferation of programs and supports, but it is also informed by the dominant neoliberal ideas of its time (Eichler 2015). Neoliberalism entails a focus on reducing the role and financial liability of the state, with a view toward market and third-sector involvement, and an emphasis on individual initiative and responsibility. While the old Pension Act focused on compensating veterans for the injuries they incurred during service, the centerpiece of the NVC is vocational rehabilitation, that is, the veteran’s return to the labor market. Vocational rehabilitation is outsourced by VAC to a private company. The goal of vocational rehabilitation is to make veterans “work ready” (author interview with VAC officer)


M. Eichler

by providing a range of services such as transferable skills assessment, vocational assessment, or return to work action plans. The NVC also led to cutbacks to benefits and services. Most notably and controversially, the NVC replaced the lifelong monthly disability pension with a one-time lump-sum disability payment for veterans who applied in 2006 or later, which left new veterans with overall lower compensation and no long-term security (Aiken and Buitenhuis 2011). In the context of the NVC, the Canadian state has also heavily relied on the third sector to fill the gap in government services and programs for veterans, which has led to a proliferation of charitable or nonprofit veterans’ organizations (Eichler 2015). The neoliberal reform of veterans’ policies and programs over the past decade has redefined the social contract between veterans and the state that took shape in the context of the two world wars. This social contract was not codified but based on the promise of Prime Minister Borden on the eve of the Battle of Vimy Ridge to care for veterans and their families and on the comprehensive system of benefits and services established during and after the Second World War. While there have been cutbacks to benefits with the NVC, it is important to keep in mind that there has always been a liberal design to veterans’ policy in Canada. Even the comprehensive Veterans Charter established after the Second World War emphasized self-help, independence, and work – “Opportunity with Security” (Neary 2004). In Canada today, the social contract has been amended in ways that reinforce this liberal design by shifting more of the burden of care from the state to individual veterans, their families, and the third sector. The NVC has been met with criticism from veterans, and for the first time since the end of the First World War, veterans have publicly protested government policy directed towards them.

 esisting the New Veterans Charter: Reproducing the Figure R of the Deserving Male Veteran A new veterans’ movement emerged in response to the NVC and its cutbacks of financial benefits. Veterans began to organize as a result of built-up grievances and frustration, rather than out of an inherently political or partisan stance. This new veterans’ movement is diverse and fractured and took shape outside of the old structures of organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion. Three illustrative examples of new veteran organizing are provided here: the Canadian Veterans Advocacy founded by Michael Blais in 2010, the Equitas lawsuit launched in 2012, and the Anybody But Conservative election campaign of 2015. The goal of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy has been “to improve the quality of life of our veterans” and ensure one standard for all veterans. The main thrust of its advocacy has been directed at overhauling the NVC, in particular fighting for a return to the lifelong disability pension. The Canadian Veterans Advocacy has insisted on the state’s responsibility in the social provision of care for veterans and on the equal treatment of veterans across generations. The Canadian Veterans

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Advocacy chose a number of tactics over the years to voice its discontent with the government and rally support for its agenda. For example, the Canadian Veterans Advocacy participated in veteran protests on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to draw attention to the challenges facing the new generation of veterans under the NVC (The Canadian Veterans Advocacy 2012). In 2013, the Canadian Veterans Advocacy joined forces with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union of public sector employees, in a campaign to protest the closure of nine VAC offices across the country (Public Service Alliance of Canada 2014). In parallel to the organizing by the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, other veterans opposing aspects of the NVC have engaged in legal activism. For example, in 2012, a group of six disabled male Afghan war veterans brought forward a class action lawsuit, known as the Equitas case, to challenge the cutbacks to the disability award. The plaintiffs argued that the government of Canada had disregarded an existing social covenant with veterans by treating veterans differently under the old and new policy as well as by offering lower compensation to veterans under the NVC compared to civilian workers. At the heart of this case and the larger debate over the NVC lies the question of what moral and social obligation the Canadian state has for veterans and their families. Government lawyers have argued that the state has no inherent responsibility to care for veterans: “The defendant further pleads that at no time in Canada’s history has any alleged ‘social contract’ or ‘social covenant’ having the attributes pleaded by the plaintiffs been given effect in any statute, regulation, or as a constitutional principle, written or unwritten” (quoted in Harris 2014, p. 467). While veterans in the Equitas case and beyond have insisted on the existence of a sacred, untouchable obligation of the Canadian state and society toward veterans, the government has interpreted its responsibility as a social contract that is renegotiable. Some veterans’ groups, including the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, came out in support of the Liberal Party during the 2015 election campaign in the hope of defeating the Conservative government. Another group of veterans launched a campaign known as the Anybody But Conservative or ABC campaign. The ABC campaign encouraged voters to engage in strategic voting to defeat the Conservative candidate in each riding and highlighted veterans who were running as candidates for other parties, whether the Liberal, New Democratic, Green Party, or other. The vocal opposition of veterans to the Conservative Party, which had traditionally relied on military personnel and veterans as a key support base, was indicative of veterans’ high level of frustration with the cutbacks to benefits and services (Dickson 2014). While it is unclear how significant the ABC campaign was, it was one part of a broader successful movement to defeat the Conservatives in the election. The organizing by veterans against the NVC lost some of its momentum with the change to a Liberal government in 2015. However, the Equitas lawsuit continued despite promises by the Liberals during the election to return the lifelong disability pension and discontinue the court case. In 2017, the case was struck down by the courts in British Columbia. An appeal was sought through the Supreme Court of Canada without success. The current Liberal government introduced a revised version of the lifelong disability award (Pension for Life) in January 2018. However,


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veteran advocates have highlighted how it fails to live up to the election promises made by the Liberals, as the compensation under the new revised plan is still lower than it was under the old Pension Act for most veterans except the most severely disabled (Bruyea 2018). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that the government cannot meet all the needs of veterans. Speaking during a town hall meeting in early 2018 he said: “Why are we still fighting certain veterans groups in court? Because they’re asking for more than we are able to give right now” (quoted in Zimonjic 2018). As two veteran advocates wrote in response, “Trudeau’s answer to veterans’ questions about pension gaps unfortunately reflects the shift in modern government philosophy (shared by all parties) that younger veterans, regardless of disability or sacrifice, simply do not have the same value to the nation as previous generations” (Smol and Bruyea 2018). While veteran advocates argue that Canada has (or should have) a social covenant with veterans, the most recent Conservative and Liberal governments have agreed on a reduced role for the state and a neoliberal interpretation of the social contract with veterans. Veteran advocates have rightly pointed out that the new government has weakened the social contract, but they exaggerate the “truly universal” nature of the Pension Act and the original Veterans Charter (Smol and Bruyea 2018). Peter Neary (2004) shows that, historically, the programs in place have served some individuals better than others. Veterans’ benefits in Canada have always to a certain extent been stratified, with veterans receiving differential treatment based on military rank, Indigenous status, or deployment history. For example, it was only in the 1990s that the Pension Act was amended to extend benefits to Indigenous veterans, prisoners of war, members of the Merchant Navy, and civilians with overseas services (Neary 2004, p. 38). As Prince (2009, p. 76) notes, “privileging takes place even within a privileged social group.” In Canada, the male combat veteran has historically been the most privileged of veterans. In the contemporary period, some male veterans, such as those involved in the Equitas case, have emphasized their combat service in their fight for state recognition and benefits. But what both government and many veteran advocates miss is a consideration of the gendered design and impacts of both old and new policies and the gendered ways in which male veterans still receive more visibility and recognition, especially when it comes to combat-related injuries and claims. Veterans trying to advocate for recognition and care for noncombat-­ related injuries such as military sexual trauma have to challenge both a history of gender-blind policy and the gendered figure of the veteran.

 hallenging Gender-Blind Policy and the Gendered Figure C of the Veteran: Military Sexual Trauma Survivors Organize Canada paints itself as an international leader in military gender integration and has ambitious recruitment targets for females. But it is playing catch-up when it comes to understanding the experiences of female veterans. Women comprise ­approximately

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15 % of the CAF but only 11 % of veteran clients served by VAC (National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces 2018b; VAC 2018b). Both the NVC and the politicized movement that emerged in reaction to the NVC did not include the perspectives or voices of female veterans. Policy and advocacy has so far not explicitly recognized female veterans as part of the new generation of veterans or the impact of the military’s deeply gendered and sexualized culture on veterans and their transition to civilian life. There has been very little research on female veterans in Canada. What we do know is that, compared to male veterans, they are more likely to release from the military for medical reasons. After release, female veterans face a steeper decline in income, have lower rates of labor force participation, are more likely to be attending school, and are more likely to be taking on a caregiving role. They report being less satisfied with life and experience higher work and life stress (MacLean et al. 2018). Female veterans are “less likely to report an easy adjustment to civilian life.” Despite that, they are less likely to be clients of VAC and thus less likely to be accessing services and benefits (Hachey et al. 2016, p. 8). Moreover, it is difficult for women to find a place in the existing male-dominated veterans’ organizations, both the traditional ones like the Royal Canadian Legion and the newer movement that sprung up in response to the NVC. Women are also less likely to self-identify as veterans (Eichler 2017). Female veterans are more likely to have experienced sexual harassment and assault during their service (Deschamps 2015; Cotter 2016). For example, close to one in three women are sexually assaulted during their military career, compared to 4% of men (Cotter 2016). Reporting sexual violence and seeking medical help can trigger an unwanted medical release and hence a loss of employment. After release from the military, military sexual trauma (MST) survivors often continue to face difficulties, complicating their transition to civilian life. These include lack of supports and services, difficulty with the VAC claims process, as well as physical, psychological, and socioeconomic challenges. In veterans’ groups, MST survivors can feel ostracized or rejected when they broach the subject of sexual violence. MST is often not recognized as a legitimate military injury, making it hard to join peer support groups or receive benefits (Parliament 2017, p. 58). Thus, female veterans and MST survivors face unique challenges during the transition that are often not recognized as legitimate veteran issues (Eichler 2017). Most veterans’ groups do not speak to the needs of veterans who have experienced sexual violence and suffer from MST. Civilian organizations also are not well prepared to respond to the needs of MST survivors (Eichler 2017). In the wake of the release of the External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2015 (Deschamps 2015), MST survivors were confronted with hostility within online support groups for veterans. In response, MST survivor and female veteran Marie-Claude Gagnon founded It’s Just 700 (IJ700), an online support and advocacy group for MST survivors. The name IJ700 refers to the way in which the findings of the External Review were minimized and dismissed because they were based on the experiences of “only” 700 people who shared their perspectives on sexual harassment and assault in the military (It’s Just 700 n.d.).


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IJ700 consists of serving members and veterans of the CAF who have experienced MST.  It includes both women and men, but a majority of women. The group has raised public awareness about MST through various campaigns and provided peer support for MST survivors. It has also engaged in advocacy, for example, by calling on VAC for a better handling of disability claims related to MST and for improved services for veterans suffering from MST.  Members of IJ700 have participated in various consultative processes and parliamentary committees on veteran issues and have advocated for the implementation of a gender-based analysis of VAC policies, programs, priorities, and research. They have also argued for the better representation of female veterans on all departmental advisory committees. Furthermore, they have called for research to determine the specific needs of female veterans and MST survivors, the training of frontline staff about gender-specific needs and treatments, and the tracking of how many MST disability award claims are granted and how many are denied every year (Gagnon n.d.). Through its advocacy, IJ700 has been able to bring about some positive changes, such as more inclusive and equitable policies and processes and better access to care for MST survivors in Canada. IJ700 has also brought together MST survivors’ efforts to start a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought forward by three female veterans who are MST survivors. As the law firm writes, “This class action alleges that the Canadian Armed Forces is poisoned by a discriminatory and sexualized culture that condones and encourages sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination towards women. As a result, sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination against women are pervasive in the Canadian Armed Forces” (Koskie 2015). The Canadian government has fought the group’s attempt to launch this lawsuit on the grounds that the government has no “duty of care…to provide a safe and harassment-free environment” to military personnel (cited in Syed 2018). This statement was made despite the alleged efforts of the CAF to eliminate sexual harassment and assault through Operation HONOUR which was launched in 2015 (National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces 2015). As of 2018, the government and plaintiffs are in the process of negotiating a settlement. The advocacy by IJ700 challenges the stereotypical figure of the male veteran and the often automatic association of veterans with combat-related injury and disability. In fact, the group’s work highlights how the injuries related to MST are largely invisible and unrecognized by both mainstream male-dominated veterans’ organizations and by government policy. One of the achievements of IJ700 has been to advocate for the inclusion of the term Sexual Trauma During Service on the VAC website (VAC 2017b), making it less of a hidden injury.

Conclusion With the emergence of a new generation of Canadian veterans since the end of the Cold War, there has been renewed policy and research interest in veterans. The Canadian government responded to the needs of a new generation of veterans with

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a New Veterans Charter. Informed by prevailing neoliberal ideas, it reduced the state’s fiscal responsibilities toward modern-day veterans and emphasized veterans’ return to civilian life through programs such as vocational rehabilitation. But its replacement of lifelong disability pensions with one-time lump-sum payments met with resistance. Veterans have spent years unsuccessfully fighting the end to lifelong disability pensions, both in the political arena and in court. While the current government has developed a revised program that takes some of the concerns of veterans and veteran advocates into consideration, there has not been a reinstatement of the lifelong disability pension on par with the old Pension Act. The government has said that there are limits to what it can afford to pay veterans. Fiscal concerns have outweighed the obligations of a social contract with veterans. But veterans involved in the Equitas lawsuit and broader advocacy insist that they deserve more and will continue their fight. Male veterans have led the challenges to the New Veterans Charter. They represent the “traditional” figure of the male veteran and have fought to uphold the privileges associated with that figure. The veteran has historically been constructed and imagined as “male” and associated with “combat” in Canada, as in other countries. This gendering of the veteran figure is being challenged today by new veterans’ groups such as those made up of sexual trauma survivors. The advocacy of MST survivors draws attention to the military’s gendered and sexualized culture and the lack of adequate care and benefits for veterans who have experienced sexual violence during service. The issues raised by MST survivors draw attention to the gendered hierarchy of injury in military contexts. Certain injuries – specifically combat-related ones – are more likely to be socially and financially recognized, while injuries resulting from military sexual trauma are less accepted and it is harder to receive veterans’ benefits and services for them (also see Callaghan et al. forthcoming). Both groups of veteran advocates discussed in this chapter are overwhelmingly sex-based groups: male veterans fighting to hold on to the entitlements of the past and mostly female veterans fighting for recognition of MST.  Both groups have aimed to reshape veterans’ policy and extend recognition and services. Both have been involved in advocacy, though IJ700 has not actively engaged in partisan politics. This may not be surprising considering that the figure of the female veteran MST survivor does not have the same public appeal as that of the male veteran and especially that of the male combat veteran. Both groups have helped bring together veterans who have launched lawsuits against the government. While their struggles have largely remained disconnected, both groups are contesting government policy on veterans and attempting to deepen and expand the symbolic and material recognition of the modern-day veteran in Canada. Over the next years, the tensions in the construction of the Canadian veteran described in this chapter are bound to increase as the military seeks to create a more diverse force.


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References Aiken, A., and Buitenhuis, A. (2011). Supporting Canadian veterans with disabilities: A comparison of financial benefits (The Claxton Papers No. 13) (pp. ix–54). Centre for International and Defence Policy: Queen’s University. Basham, V. M., Belkin, A., & Gifkins, J. (2015). What is critical military studies? Critical Military Studies, 1(1), 1–2. Bruyea, S. (2018). The Trudeau government’s education plan for veterans is stingy. Maclean’s, April 5. Bulmer, S., & Eichler, M. (2017). Unmaking militarized masculinity: Veterans and the project of military-to-civilian transition. Critical Military Studies, 3(2), 161–181. Bulmer, S., & Jackson, D. (2016). “You do not live in my skin”: Embodiment, voice, and the veteran. Critical Military Studies, 2(1–2), 25–40. Caddick, N., Cooper, A., & Smith, B. (2017). Reflections on being a civilian researcher in an ex-­ military world: Expanding horizons? Critical Military Studies, 1–20. Callaghan, W., Eichler, M., and Tait, V. (forthcoming). Beyond combat: Gender and the construction of injury in military contexts. In S. Xenakis (Ed.), Preventing and treating the invisible wounds of war: Combat trauma and psychological injury. New York: Oxford University Press. Canada. (2005). Canadian forces members and veterans re-establishment and compensation act. Bill C-45, 38th Parliament, S. C. 2005, c. 21. Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR). (2018). About us. https:// Accessed 19 June 2018. Connell, R. (2010). Understanding Neoliberalism. In S.  Braedley, M.  Luxton, S.  Braedley, & M. Luxton (Eds.), Neoliberalism and everyday life (pp. 23–36). Montreal & Kingston: McGill-­ Queen’s University Press. Cotter, A. (2016). Sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, 2016 (No. 85-603– X). Statistics Canada. Cowen, D. (2008). Military workfare: The soldier and social citizenship in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Deschamps, M. (2015). External review into sexual misconduct and sexual harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces (external review). External Review Authority. Retrieved from http:// Dickson, J. (2014). Angry veterans launch ‘anybody but conservative’ campaign to defeat Tories in upcoming election. iPolitics, November 12. Eichler, M. (2015). The struggle over veterans policy: Neoliberalism, the third sector, and the new veterans movement. Paper presented at the Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference, Ottawa, ON, Canada, June 2–4. Eichler, et al. 2017 (2017). Experiences of female CAF veterans: Gendering military-to-civilian transitions. Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research Forum, Toronto, ON, Sept 25–27. Eichler, M., & Bulmer, S. (2016). The veteran and the contested boundaries of war. Paper prepared for the Annual International Studies Association Meeting, Atlanta, March 16–19. Eichler, M., Whelan, J., Landry, D., and Norris, D. (2017). First-hand narratives of operational stress injury. Paper presented at Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research Forum, Toronto, ON, Sept 25-27. Enloe, C. (2000). Manoeuvers: The international politics of militarizing women’s lives. Berkeley: University of California Press. Flores, D. (2017). Politicization beyond politics: Narratives and mechanisms of Iraq war veterans’ activism. Armed Forces & Society, 43(1), 164–182. Gagnon, M. (n.d.). Care for military sexual trauma survivors of the Canadian Armed Forces: Facilitating access to adequate care and benefits. Retrieved from our-recommendations.html

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Graefe, P. (2007). Political economy and Canadian public policy. In M. Orsini & M. Smith (Eds.), Critical policy studies (pp. 19–40). Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Hachey, K.  K., Sudom, K., Sweet, J., et  al. (2016). Differences in adjustment to civilian life between male and female Canadian Armed Forces Veterans. Res Militaris, 2, 1–12. Harris, M. (2014). Party of one: Stephen Harper and Canada’s radical makeover. Toronto: Viking. It’s Just 700 (IJ700). (n.d.). Who we are. Accessed 27 June 2018. Kerr, G. (2014). The new veterans charter: Moving forward (report of the standing committee on veterans affairs, 41st parliament, second session). House of Commons Canada. Keshen, J. (1998). Getting it right the second time around: The reintegration of Canadian veterans of World War II. In P. Neary & J. L. Granatstein (Eds.), The Veterans Charter and post-World War II Canada (pp. 62–84). Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Koskie Minsky. (2015). Canadian Armed Forces female victims of sexual assault and harassment and gender-based discrimination in the military. Accessed 22 October 2018. Kwan-Lafond, D., Harrison, D., & Albanese, P. (2011). Parental military deployments and adolescents’ household work. Studies in Political Economy, 88(1), 163–189. Leitz, L. (2014). Fighting for peace: Veterans and military families in the anti-Iraq war movement. Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press. MacLean, M. B., Clow, B., Ralling, A., et al. (2018). Veterans in Canada released since 1998: A sex-disaggregated profile. Research Technical Report. Veterans Affairs Canada: Charlottetown. Murray, R.  W., & McCoy, M.  J. (2010). From middle power to peacebuilding: The use of the Canadian forces in modern Canadian foreign policy. American Review of Canadian Studies, 40(2), 171–188. National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. (2015). CDS OP order – OP honour. http:// Accessed 17 May 2017. National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. (2018a). Recently completed operations. http:// Accessed 27 June 2018. National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. (2018b). Women in the Canadian Armed Forces. Accessed 28 June 2018. Neary, P. (2004). The origins and evolution of veterans benefits in Canada 1914–2004. Veterans affairs Canada – Canadian forces advisory council. Reference paper. Retrieved from https:// Norris, D., Cramm, H., Eichler, M., Tam-Seto, L., and Smith-Evans, K. (2015). Operational stress injury: The impact on family mental health and wellbeing. A report to Veterans Affairs Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. (2017). Mental Health of Canadian Veterans: A Family Purpose. 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, June. acvarp06/acvarp06-e.pdf Prince, M. J. (2009). Absent citizens: Disability politics and policy in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Public Service Alliance of Canada. (2014). Veterans speak out against loss of front line services. Accessed 25 May 2015. Schrader, B. (2017). The affect of veteran activism. Critical Military Studies, 5, 1–15. https://doi. org/10.1080/23337486.2017.1334300. Smol, R., & Bruyea, S. (2018). Governments of the past have been able to provide proper veteran care. So what’s changed? CBC News, February 19. veteran-pensions-1.4540946 Syed, F. (2018). Federal government says it has no ‘duty of care’ to provide harassment-free workplace for military personnel. Toronto Star, Feb. 7. gta/2018/02/07/federal-government-says-it-has-no-duty-of-care-to-provide-harassment-freeworkplace-for-military-personnel.html


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Chapter 3

Croatia: Victims of Transition? The Role of Homeland War Veterans in Public Discourse in Croatia Aleksandar Jakir

A decade ago, even in serious scholarly works dealing with “Challenges facing Croatia since Independence,” military veterans were not mentioned at all (see Ramet and Soberg 2008). This has changed. Newly published research is addressing important questions about the role of veterans in Croatian society. Meanwhile, the position of veterans “between the Regime and the State” (Dolenec and Širinić 2017) has been critically examined, and veteran organizations have been portrayed with sound reasons as “pivotal” actors in Croatian politics, capable of forging alliances with conservative political parties and influencing election outcomes. It has been argued, with respect to the status of veterans in Croatia, that the country is best understood as a Southern variant of a clientelist, conservative welfare regime, though many dimensions of this phenomenon are still under-researched (Dolenec 2018, pp.61–62, 72). However, it seems safe to say that the existence of several hundred thousand military veterans, and the role of their numerous organizations in public discourse and in Croatian society, is not negligible at all. This chapter aims to explore the role of veterans from the Homeland War of the 1990s1 in Croatia by presenting some data and recent debates on military veterans and their associations. This can only be a rough overview of some aspects of “veteranality” (Murray 2016a, b). The story of veterans and of the governance of military veterans in Croatian society is a complex one, and it is a contradictory one, as can be seen from the ways it is portrayed in public, and concerning the very different forms of the lived realities of veteran transition. As a matter of fact, it is a challenging task to describe the struggle of veterans for their place in society, as well as some of the debates concerning veteran identity and questions of the health and welfare of this social group. This is due to an evident lack of  (Koren 2015, Koren 2011).


A. Jakir (*) University of Split, Split, Croatia e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,



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studies so far on these wide range of aspects. For example, the topic of women’s war experiences in Croatia, and hence of female veterans, is absolutely under-researched. This is in spite of the fact that it is estimated that 14,443 women actively participated in the military in the Croatian War of Independence (other data even indicate that 23,080 women fought in the war, about 5% of the Croatian forces), of whom 766 were killed and 1973 wounded (Stanić and Mravak 2012; Dukić 2002). Veterans are a heterogeneous group in many ways. Surely the media “has and does play a central role in constructions of and responses to veterans,” especially when it comes to visual representation and the phenomenon of “victimization” (Corteen 2016a, b). Sometimes, it seems hard to separate facts from opinions in the debates on the topic of military veterans in Croatia. We could speak of a frequently heated debate with ideological undertones, at least in some of the Croatian media, in which one side often tends to glorify the “homeland defenders,” seeing them as the bravest and most patriotic part of Croatian society, whose sacrifice gained both liberty and independence and made a free democratic Croatian state possible. On the other hand, the other side is often quick with a harsh and polemical critique of a privileged “warrior caste” that apparently has emerged in Croatia, pursuing an overall right-wing political attitude. In the latter perspective, veterans and their organizations are often mainly seen as recipients of care who struggle to hijack the state to fulfil their material interests, reinforcing rifts in society and promoting a militarized and patriarchal political culture. At the same time, as the “veteran question” is fiercely debated in the media, the available “official” figures show that between 1998 and 2000, 24,249 veterans, with an average age of 50 (fifty), died. These deaths mainly occurred because of cancer, heart attacks, and similar diseases. Additionally, “unofficial” figures circulate of even 50,000 former Croatian soldiers who have died up to now “because of consequences of the War,” all relatively young, between 45 and 55 years old (Šetka 2017). Who are the Croatian veterans, and how many of them are there? Back in 1996, after the military phase of the war had ended, Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudjman expressed the gratitude of the nation to the brave military in a speech to the Sabor (Croatian Parliament), and he mentioned that Croatia had 336,000 veterans. It was made clear not only in this speech, which was delivered in a victorious atmosphere,2 that Croatia was on its way to fully achieve the goals it had declared at the beginning of the war: full independence and the preservation of its borders. When 16 years later, in 2012, the official Registry of War Veterans of Croatia was presented by three ministers of the government (of Defence, the Interior, and Veterans, all three former soldiers), not less than 502,678 former fighters were listed. There were 440,397 names of people listed who participated in combat and 18,166 names of people who took part in the war in other ways (Pavelic 2012). Alas, 4 years after that, and 20 years after Tudjman’s speech, in April 2016, the official Register of War Veterans of Croatia included an even higher number of veterans of the Homeland War. Now the Registry listed altogether 505,221 “Croatian defenders” (Puljiz 2016; Pavlic 2016). Visibly, this is a massive share of the population of Croatia that consists of barely 4.3 million people.3 Not surprisingly, the status of an officially registered “defender”  (Koren 2011).  Census of Population (2012).

2 3

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became a much sought-after good, to put it in the words of Danijela Dolenec, since getting listed in the official Registry “is the prime instance for claiming a host of welfare entitlement” (Dolenec 2018, p.63). Data from 2015 was outlined during the workshop “Representations of branitelji (­defenders) in public discourse and popular culture,” organized at the Faculty of Humanities in Zagreb in 2015. This data indicates the impressive number of 556 war veterans associations and 1276 NGOs in Croatia which deal in one way or another with the legacy of the Homeland War (Pavlic 2016). In Croatia, the four best-known and largest veterans’ organizations together4 comprise a vast number of member organizations at the county level and an even greater number of chapters on the local level, as well as numerous social clubs. These associations claim to have tens of thousands of members and that they represent the interests of the several hundreds of thousands of veterans and their family members (Dolenec 2018, pp.66–69; Dolenec and Širinić 2017; Mihalec et al. 2012). As already mentioned, the debate about status, position, and benefits of the so-­ called Croatian defenders in society is surely a steady topic in public discourse in Croatia and beyond (Filipović 2018). This can also be seen in this year’s Country Report for Croatia of the European Union which provides an annual analysis by Commission staff on the economic and social situation in Member States. As every year, the Country Reports of the European Commission assess Member States’ progress in tackling their main economic and social challenges and in implementing past country-specific recommendations. Albeit commissioner Marianne Thyssen, in charge of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said for the press, “With the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, we have put investing in skills, reducing inequalities, social fairness and inclusive growth on top of the agenda. We now need to keep track of the performance of the Member States on the principles and rights included in the Pillar, to make them a reality on the ground,”5 the summary of the in-depth reviews of the outcome of the economic and social situation in Croatia sounded somewhat differently. In fact, the European Commission stated in March 2018 that Croatia is experiencing excessive imbalances, with so-called vulnerabilities linked to high levels of public, private, and external debt. Moreover, the Report pointed to the fact that Croatia’s ranking was below the EU average, while its spending levels were high with respect to its peers. In the eyes of the Commission, this confirmed the view that the effectiveness of social benefits is hindered not only by the poor targeting of those most in need but because of the existence of privileged categories such as war veterans. In addition, it criticized that the authorities in Croatia have proposed to further extend the benefits granted to war veterans and their family members (author emphasis). Concerning the data of the Statistical Information of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, the Report stated that general pensions for war veterans tend to be more than twice as high compared to the general scheme, resulting in further  The Association of Patriotic War Volunteers and Veterans of The Republic of Croatia (UDVDR), the Association of Croatian War Veterans of the Homeland War (UHVDR), the Association of Disabled Veterans of the Homeland War (HVIDR-a), and the Association of Volunteers of the Homeland War (UHDDR), see Ministry of Veterans (2018). 5  European Commission Press release (2018). 4


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increases of pension ceilings. At the same time, the Report claimed, little progress has been made to support war veterans’ reintegration into the labour market (Pavlic 2018). Generally, these remarks in the Report point to a law adopted in December 2017 that was designed to be the legal basis for resolving the majority of health, social, and economic problems of veterans. The law also reopened the possibility to register as a war veteran. After January and February 2018, when nearly 4000 new veterans were officially registered (Ć. I. 2018), it was estimated that the new law could cost the Croatian taxpayer, by 2025, an additional 5.5 billion kunas. This increase in cost can be seen from material from the Parliamentary Committee on Veterans, while the total annual material compensation to veterans has been estimated to amount already to 5% of the state budget and around 1.8% of Croatia’s GDP. Most of the money from the Croatian state for the veterans goes to pensions, which is used by more than 70,000 people. The new law now reduces the retirement age of veterans and extends the rights of family members to inherit veterans’ pensions, and also it introduces a number of additional social benefits for veterans and the mandatory financing of veterans’ associations (in the range of 0.3–1.0% of local government budgets). The previous rights of the Homeland War veterans and their family members (Dobrotić 2006, 2008) already defined a wide range of 37 different material entitlements and rights that were spread over almost all social security systems (and beyond, such as pensions, disability compensation and allowances, paid health and care services, expenses for housing allocation, child allowance, unemployment benefits, tax cuts, scholarships, guaranteed university entry, etc.). In comparison, this law could rightly be understood as one more improvement of the material status of veterans. However, in part of the public and media in Croatia, the law was received critically. It was considered an outrage that the “Law on Croatian Defenders from the Homeland War” now makes it possible for the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs to legally hide information from the public about new veterans who acquire their status even “23 years after the war” (Matijanić 2018). At the same time, it should not be forgotten that the “transition from military life to civic life entails individual and collective human suffering” (Corteen 2016a). In addition, Zoran Šućur, who has done research on the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of Croatian veterans (Šućur et  al. 2016; Matković et al. 2007), argues that it cannot be explicitly stated that veterans in Croatia are “privileged” because they are just as active as the total population. In addition, he argues that the veterans even make up a slightly higher share of the employed and a smaller share of the unemployed than the total population. Generally, Croatia has a low employment rate of the economically active population, compared to other EU countries. “When we take into account that we had a bloody five year war,” as the words of Petar Lovrić were reported, who is the former head of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises at the Croatian Association of Employers and also a Volunteer of the Homeland War (Ex-Commander of the 83rd Independent Zagreb Battalion), “then we do not have too many users of rights. I spent 4 years in the war and have no rights. More than 400,000 registered veterans have no rights. Brussels says the total volume of budget is too much for veterans, but we did not want that war. It is not true that too little is done to include the veterans’ population in the labour market. You have a set of programmes. Our general problem is that because of war and transition we have a bad entrepreneurial climate. When you have a low

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income base, you cannot reimburse the pension system, health system, income tax. At the annual level, we are short 30 billion kunas. So we can put an end to all the defenders’ privileges and then we will be in trouble again” (Filipović 2018). The current Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs, Tomo Medved of the conservative Croatian Democratic Union, also rejected the EC Report and publicly stated that 82,889 veterans were unemployed, which provoked some questions in the public because it was not clear how this figure was obtained, for the statistical data used up to this moment was 18,152 unemployed veterans (Vlašić 2017). Very often, when veterans’ issues are addressed in the Croatian public, material benefits are discussed. Statements that veterans in Croatia “now enjoy generous pensions, benefits, social approval and a measure of political influence,” along with expressions of the opinion that Croatia “has honoured its former soldiers,” often go hand-­in-­hand with the assessment that the welfare of the veterans “exacts a heavy toll” on the weak economy. Comparing the situation of Croatian veterans with the status of Serbia’s former soldiers, which “are in legal limbo,” the author of an article in The Guardian concludes that “their Croatian counterparts have been assured a place in their country’s history” and that “Croatian veterans are entitled to preferential treatment if they apply for public housing or for education and employment, and those who were disabled in the wars can expect to receive a monthly allowance worth €800 (£677) as well as a minimum monthly pension of €260 on retirement that the state also gives its former fighters” (Rudic 2013). Probably one of the reasons why material benefits for veterans are such a debated topic in Croatia is the state of the troubled economy. Namely, it is not only the abovementioned Report of the European Commission which indicates that the economic situation in Croatia is far from good, with high unemployment rates, high debt, and deep structural problems, all of which seem to be a constant challenge since the time Croatia became a sovereign state. It can hardly be overlooked that what is left of Croatia’s industrial potential from socialist times is mostly outdated, vast spaces of agricultural land remain unused, etc., and in general, we can speak of an unhealthy mixture of the legacy of socialist times and the legacy of war. Some analysts even suggest that Croatia’s post-war prosperity has entirely been built on high levels of state borrowing, with consequences being felt in public spending cuts, while corruption became endemic in all spheres of society (Tanner 2010). Additionally to the immense decline in GDP in Croatia between 1987 and 1996, estimated to have been 47%, a high level of inequality in society in general (Dolenec 2018, p.59), and the overall poor performance of its economy, it is a commonly accepted assessment that Croatia is also troubled with an inefficient public administration system in general and above all with an ineffective judicial system (Ramet and Soberg 2008). It is a striking fact that due to war, the manufacturing industry functioned with about a third of its capacity damaged and that GDP in Croatia in 1993 was lower than the 1990 level by not less than 39%. So it really has to be emphasized that the beginning of the so-called process of transition, economically and politically, in Croatia, was very much influenced and overshadowed by the War of Independence in the first half of the 1990s. When trying to understand Croatian society today, and the place of veterans in it, it seems useful to go back to the problems caused by an only partly successful transition and bear them in mind. Some scholars of the transition stress the importance of inherited values stemming from communist societies. Obviously those values did not vanish


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immediately with the collapse of the regime. Among the “mindsets” identified by sociologists were authoritarian egalitarianism, hostility towards minority cultures, lack of individual initiative, inclination towards state paternalism, widespread opportunism, and a low level of social capital. It would be hard to claim that none of these can be found in contemporary Croatian society. The treatment of the veterans by the state is sometimes understood as a form of political clientelism. Veterans indeed have a higher level of benefits than other social groups. Increases in these benefits tend to be dependent on political endorsement. In addition, a lack of procedures of monitoring can be observed. For all these reasons, social programmes for veterans have subsequently been interpreted as a form of clientelist relation (Stubbs and Zrinščak 2015). There is no doubt that clientelism generally has negative consequences not only on the economy but also on Croatia’s democratic system as a whole. It is commonly linked with corruption. Both involve political actors using public and private resources and the distribution of benefits targeted for individuals or groups in exchange for electoral support (Larreguy 2014). Some findings indeed suggest that “a specific clientelist variant of a conservative welfare regime” has been developed in Croatia, along with a political dynamic between the conservative nationalist political parties (HDZ first) and veteran organizations (Dolenec 2018, p.60). On the other hand, it is historically commonplace that military veterans receive compensation from the state via material benefits. However, taking the overall state of the economy into account, an economy that obviously cannot provide social spending for all groups in society who are in demand, the evolution of welfare programmes for veterans raises questions. The links between war, state-building, and the development of the welfare state is a new and vibrant field of research for Croatia (Dolenec 2018, pp.60–72). However, first and foremost, it seems that military veterans in Croatia can be seen as a group in society that is directly associated with the war and therefore as part of its legacy. Before we can address the role of veterans in Croatian society more specifically, we have to take a brief look at some aspects of Croatia’s path of transition to democracy and today’s liberal economic system. The transition process has been slow and difficult for Croatia. Twenty years after Sabrina Ramet rightly formulated and described the path to transition in South-Eastern Europe as “painful” and posed the fundamental question “Whose Democracy?” (Ramet 1997), “building democracy” in the Croatian case (Melčić 2017) is still an intricate topic of research. However, the problem of political transformation has been recognized as merely part of the transition process. Obviously, starting with its first multiparty election in April 1990, the democratic transition in Croatia has involved problems associated not only with regime change and economic transformation but also with the creation of an independent state. As if these tasks were not difficult enough, they proceeded under conditions of a rebellion of part of the Serbian minority and among profound disagreements between this minority and the Croat majority about who constitutes the demos and where to set the borders of the newly created state. These disagreements gradually evolved into a full-scale war between Serb rebels and Croatian forces in which Serb-dominated Yugoslav forces backed the Serb rebels in the summer of 1991.6 The resulting occupation of one-third of Croatia’s territory in late  van Hook (2018), Nazor (2016), Baker (2015), Tanner (2010).


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1991 led to the loss of many civilian lives7 and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of refugees through brutal warfare with despicable so-called ethnical cleansing, large-scale destruction of property, etc. This caused the issues of democratic reforms and human rights and liberties to be superseded by a war many claimed to be unavoidable in order to secure the survival of the state and the nation. So, one of the main preconditions for democracy – the existence of a sovereign state whose legitimacy to exercise control over the whole of its territory is accepted by all of its significant groups – was not present at the time Croatia entered into transition. Under the conditions of war, ethnic polarization and general existential insecurity prevailed, and it became challenging to attend to the demands of democratization. Moreover, as it has been argued, the legacy of the constitutive stage of Croatian statehood has produced a number of “contentious categories of Croatian citizens.” Some scholars count the Serb minority and Croatian defenders of the Homeland War to this category (Koska and Matan 2017). Can we, in this case, perhaps also speak of the formation of a “mindset” that still can be traced in some parts of society? The political foundations of the war as the constitutive story of modern Croatian statehood did attribute a different symbolic role to different categories of the population in the construction of the Croatian national narrative. Also, the fundamental features of the contemporary Croatian nation-state, as it has been shown (Koska 2013), include the transnational conception of the ethnic Croat community as a main holder of ownership of the state. Secondly, considering that from such a conception the bonds between the individual and the state transgress formal citizenship status and residence, citizenship policies are impacted by forces internal and external to the Croatian state (Štiks 2015; Štiks and Shaw 2013). These fundamental features of Croatian society have implications for different groups in society, among them veterans. The vast literature on the transition and democratic consolidation makes clear that a country can cease to be authoritarian but fail to achieve a firmly established, consolidated democracy. Nonetheless, it can be stated that in the Croatian case, since 1990, fundamental democratic political institutions, as a basis for further democratization, have been introduced and institutionalized, such as political pluralism, multiparty elections, the division of power, and liberal-democratic principles, all guaranteed by the Constitution and operating through the Parliament. One conclusion that seems justified is that after the first phase of instability and uncertainty regarding the outcome of democratic transition, Croatia now can be described as politically stable but is still bearing the heavy burden of a troublesome historical legacy. Also, an autonomous democratic political society has been formed, and already a decade ago, it was noticed that a robust and vibrant civil society has emerged since the 1990s in Croatia (Ramet and Matic 2007; Matić 2010). But it still seems difficult to agree on what constitutes a civil society. The challenging topic and “conceptual puzzle” of civil society in post-communist Europe, when new significant 7  There is no individualized list of victims of the 1991–1995 war in Croatia, only various estimates. According to the most detailed account, among the 22,000 casualties of the war, 36.7 % were Croatian soldiers, 29 % were Croatian civilians, 5.5 % were missing Croatian soldiers and civilians, and 28 % were killed and missing Serbian soldiers and civilians. see Živić 2005.


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forces of the post-communist civil society entered the stage, have innovatively been analysed also as contentious politics and as a form of political participation (Kopecky and Mudde 2003). Here we come to the specific point that the existence of veterans can, at the same time, be understood as one of the legacies of the war and as an important actor of civil society. Today it is commonly accepted that Croatia’s civil society plays a significant role in public life. In addition, “two blocs within the sector” have developed: “one considered socially liberal and focused on human rights, environmental issues, and other such topics, and the other considered more conservative and associated with the Roman Catholic Church, veterans’ groups, and ethnically focused cultural organizations—struggle for influence over the government and the population” (Dorić 2016, pp.5–6). The veterans’ group is large enough in Croatia that it definitely can be seen as a strong “interest group” playing a “pivotal” role as a political player with influence on political agendas, parties, and elections (Dolenec and Širinić 2017). Given that the Croatian armed forces, “formed during the Homeland War through mass participation, represent one of the fundamental formative institutions of contemporary Croatian state” (Smerić 2009; Dolenec and Širinić 2017), the large group of veterans is not surprising. Notwithstanding the dynamic of the political mobilization of veterans, we should also be aware of the fact that the broad category of war veterans consists of different groups, although some of the Croatian veterans’ leaders try to portray veterans as a homogenous group. However, claims such as the one that “only veterans can gather more than 50,000 people in a public square” in Croatia, often found in newspaper reports, point to the fact that veterans’ organizations indeed play an essential role in the political life of the country. It is undoubtedly not a coincidence that currently hundreds of active NGOs exist in Croatia that list veterans’ issues as their primary objective. The highest density can be found in the parts of the Croatian territory that were occupied during the war (Dolenec 2018, p.67; Dolenec and Širinić 2017). To understand the role of veterans today in Croatia, it has to be taken into account, as Sharon Fisher (Fisher 2003) had shown in her analysis of the War Veterans’ Movement in Croatia, that war veterans under the Tudjman regime indeed enjoyed special privileges when their organizations were very close to the state. As the research suggests, whenever the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) is not in power, the main veterans’ organizations see their status jeopardized and increasingly threatened. This has led to a strategy of confrontation with every centre-left government up to now. When some of the most influential Croatian veterans’ associations ended their 18-month-long sit-in protest in a tent in front of the war veterans’ ministry in Zagreb in 2015 (Ljubojević 2015; Milekic 2016), they stressed that they fought to gain “a place in society, and the Homeland War its [place] in history.” In addition, they said they would continue campaigning for legislation to enshrine their rights in the constitution. This was understood by at least part of society as a struggle for privileges and as a political fight against the centre-left government, which then held power. In fact, throughout their protest, the veterans enjoyed support from right-wing politicians. So it is not surprising that some even mention the concept of a “Soldier’s State” (Dolenec 2018; Dolenec and Širinić 2017) and ask if this could be applicable in the Croatian case. In fact, always in periods when conservatives did not lead the government in Croatia, veterans mobilized with the objective of restoring a

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HDZ-led government to reinstitute the regime they consider legitimate and beneficial to their material interests. But it should not be entirely forgotten that when thinking of veterans, the experience of conflict, especially when we take into account the nature of the war fought in the 1990s, also always means “that the transition from military life to civic life is ontologically difficult” (Corteen 2016a). Additionally, this social group in Croatian society has its manifest problems. Though substantial data is still missing on the effect of active military service on Croatian veterans, it can be assumed that, as in other countries, it also in the Croatian case is profound and lasting, and obviously some veterans have found it difficult to adjust to normal life again. It is often stated that the process of reintegration of veterans into society in Croatia “is facing considerable difficulties” (Audergon and Arye 2005; Ljubojević 2015). In Croatian media it has been criticized that the “authorities…intentionally or accidentally, missed, after the war, integrating veterans into society and returning them to normal life” (Duhaček 2018). However, political strife can be read between the lines of assessments such as the one that veterans are not integrated into society “because people who are dependent on the budget are the most likely voting machines, and votes are easy to buy with the money of taxpayers” (Duhaček 2018). On the other hand, veterans often complain that they do not know “where they belong to” (dm, portal direktno 2018). News reports carry many disheartening statistics about veterans, and posttraumatic stress disorder is often mentioned along with the rising suicide rates among veterans. Data which is often provided by the Croatian media indicates that Croatian veterans fall ill six times more often than citizens who did not have direct contact with the war events and that their life expectancy is approximately more than 10 years shorter than the average life expectancy in Croatia. Despite this alarming information, serious research on the influence of war trauma on health is just starting (Karacic et al. 2011). There are activities on different levels to improve the lives of veterans treated for PTSD, including self-help programmes for Croatian war veterans suffering from PTSD, but obviously, they are not enough. Also, there do not seem to be enough studies addressing questions connected with veterans’ suicides (Kušević et al. 2015), focusing on different aspects concerning the development of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder among Croatian veterans. Dissociative reactions and low family support were found to be statistically significant direct effects on the development of PTSD (Vukšíc-­ Mihaljevíc et al. 2000). There is also research on the relationship between factors of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and particular domains of emotional competence and emotional regulation and control among Croatian Homeland War veterans (Knežević et al. 2017), but admittedly not as much as there should be for such a large group in society. It has convincingly been shown that our social character determines violence and war in human societies and that without a comprehensive sociological analysis there cannot be a proper explanation of violence and war (Malešević 2010). It is assumed that it could be a valid assumption that the character of one specific society is socially constructed as well and that the driving force in shaping the role and status of veterans is society. Right now it seems that Croatian society is still struggling to find the right way to address the issues that it has created for itself.


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References Audergon, A., & Arye, L. (2005). Transforming conflict into community: Post-war reconciliation in Croatia. Psychotherapy and Politics International, 3(2), 112–121. ppi.24. Baker, C. (2015). The Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Census of Population. (2012, December). Households and dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. Corteen, K. (2016a). The ‘Veteran’, ‘Veteranality’ and Visual Victimology. https://www.ljmu. pdf. Accessed 25 March 2018. Corteen, K. (2016b). Visual victimology. In K. Corteen, S. Morley, P. Taylor, & J. Turner (Eds.), A companion to crime, harm and victimisation (pp. 266–269). Bristol: Policy Press. Ć. I. (2018). U zadnja dva mjeseca gotovo četiri tisuće ljudi zatražilo status ratnog vojnog invalida. Accessed 25 March 2018. Dobrotić, I. (2006). Sustav skrbi za branitelje iz Domovinskog rata. Accessed 20 March 2018. Dobrotić, I. (2008). Sustav skrbi za branitelje iz Domovinskog rata. Revija Za Socijalnu Politiku, 15(1). Dolenec, D. (2018). A soldier’s state? Veterans and the welfare regime in Croatia. Anali Hrvatskog Politološkog Društva: Časopis Za Politologiju, 14(1), 55–78. an.14.03. Dolenec, D., & Širinić, D. (2017). Veterans between the regime and the State. Paper presented at State Mobilized Contention Conference Hong Kong, January 12–13, 2017. http://www.socsc. Accessed 20 March 2018. Dorić, P. (2016). Croatia. Nations in Transit. croatia. Accessed 25 March 2018. Duhaček, G. (2018). Europa žestoko kritizirala Hrvatsku zbog silnog novca za ratne veterane. Accessed 25 March 2018. Dukić, S. (2002). Na bojištu je poginulo 766 žena. Slobodna Dalmacija. Accessed 25 March 2018. European Commission Press release, European Semester Autumn Package: Striving for sustainable and inclusive growth, Brussels, 22 November 2017. IP-17-4681_en.htm. Accessed 25 March 2018. European Semester Winter Package: reviewing Member States’ progress on their economic and social priorities, Brussels, 7 March 2018. Accessed 25 March 2018. Filipović, L. (2018). Jesu li branitelji zaista privilegirana skupina zbog koje trpi sustav socijalne skrbi? Accessed 25 March 2018. Fisher, S. (2003). Contentious politics in Croatia: The war veterans’ movement. In P. Kopecky & C. Mudde (Eds.), Uncivil society? Contentious politics in post-communist Europe (pp. 87–92). London: Routledge. Frančišković, T., Stevanović, A., Jelušić, I., Roganović, B., Klarić, M., & Grković, J.  (2007). Secondary traumatization of wives of war veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Croatian Medical Journal, 48, 177–184. Karacic, S., Jelicic, A., Kamber, I., & Tomasevic, L. (2011). Perception of the term “Good Death” among veterans with PTSP. Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics, (06), 05. https://doi. org/10.4172/2155-9627.1000203. Knežević, M., Krupić, D., & Šućurović, S. (2017). Emotional competence and combat-related PTSD symptoms in Croatian Homeland War Veterans. Drustvena Istrazivanja, 26(1), 1–18.

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Kopecky, M., & Mudde, C. (2003) (Eds.), Uncivil Society? Contentious Politics in Post-Communist Europe (pp. 87-92). London: Routledge. Koren, S. (2011). ‘Korisna prošlost’? Ratovi devedesetih u deklaracijama Hrvatskog sabora. In T. Cipek (Ed.), Kultura sjećanja: 1991. Povijesni lomovi i svladavanje prošlosti (pp. 123–155). Zagreb: Disput. Koren, S. (2015). Twentieth-century wars in history teaching and public memory of present-day Croatia Studi sulla formazione, 2-2015, 11-32. (online). Accessed 25 March 2018. Koska, V., & Matan, A. (2017). Croatian citizenship regime and traumatized categories of Croatian citizens: Serb Minority and Croatian Defenders of the Homeland War. Croatian Political Science Review, 54(1–2), 119–149. Koska, V. (2013). The development of kin-state policies and the Croatian citizenship regime. Minority Studies, 16, 214–230. Kulenović, T. (1992). Resocijalizacija ratnih veterana: Pokušaj definiranja problema. In O. Čaldarović, M. Mesić, & A. Štulhofer (Eds.), Sociologija i rat. Hrvatsko sociološko društvo: Zagreb. Kušević, Z., Vuksan Ćusa, B., Babić, G., & Marčinko, D. (2015). Could Alexithymia predict suicide attempts –A Study of Croatian War Veterans with Posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatria Danubina, 27(4), 420–423. Larreguy, H. (2014). Monitoring political brokers: Evidence from clientelistic networks in Mexico. Economics, January 2013. Web. 22 November 2014. , Accessed 25 March 2018. Ljubojević, A. (2015). Croatian war veterans: Coup de théâtre or coup d’état? http://blogs.lse. Accessed 25 March 2018. Malešević, S. (2010). The sociology of war and violence. New York: Cambridge University Press. Matić, D. (2010). Political culture, socio-cultural values and democratic consolidation in Croatia. In S. Ramet, C. Clewing, & R. Lukić (Eds.), Croatia since independence: War, politics, society, foreign relations (pp. 171–188). Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag Gmbtl. Matijanić, V. (2018). Ministarstvo taji podatke. Skriven ratni put novopriznatog branitelja. In: Slobodna Dalmacija (p. 10). EPH, Split (Croatia). Matković, T., Šućur, Z., & Zrinščak, S. (2007). Inequality, poverty, and material deprivation in new and old members of the European Union. Croatian Medical Journal, 48(5), 636–652. Melčić, D. (2017). Building democracy in Croatia 1990. In S.  Ramet, C.  M. Hassenstab, & O.  Listhaug (Eds.), Building democracy in the Yugoslav successor states. Accomplishments, setbacks, and challenges since 1990 (pp. 192–215). Cambridge University Press in Cambridge (UK). Mihalec, I., Pavlin, P., & Relja, M. (2012). Utjecaj društvenih skupina na kreiranje javnih politika u Hrvatskoj. Student paper. Milekic, S. (2016). Croatian war veterans end 18-month-long protest. http://www.balkaninsight. com/en/article/croatian-war-veterans-end-1-5-year-long-protest-04-26-2016. Accessed 25 March 2018. Ministry of Veterans’ affairs of Croatia. Accessed 25 March 2018. Murray, E. (2016a). Reimagine the veteran: Interviews. Available at: microsites/reimagining-conflict-pedagogy-policy-and-arts-group/projects. Accessed 25 March 2018. Murray, E. (2016b). Soldiers and victimisation. In K. Corteen, S. Morley, P. Taylor, & J. Turner (Eds.), A companion to crime, harm and victimisation (pp. 266–269). Bristol: Policy Press. Nazor, A., (2016). The Croatian war of independence: Serbia’s war of conquest against Croatia and the defeat of Serbian imperialism 1991–1995. Zagreb. Parliamentary Committee on Veterans. Available at Accessed 25 March 2018.


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Pavelic, B. (2012). Croatia publishes list of war veterans. Accessed 25 March 2018. Pavlic, V. (2016). Number of war veterans keeps increasing 21 years after the war ended. https:// Accessed 25 March 2018. Pavlic, V. (2018). EU criticises Croatia’s spending on war veterans, 07. March 2018. https:// Accessed 28 March 2018. Puljiz, H. (2016). Broj branitelja u Registru stalno raste i sad ih je 505 tisuća. Objavljeno 06.05.2016. Accessed 25 March 2018. Ramet, S. (1997). Whose democracy? Nationalism, religion, and the doctrine of collective rights in post-1989 Eastern Europe. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers in Lanham, Maryland (USA). Ramet, S., & Matic, D. (2007). Democratic transition in Croatia. Value transformation, education, and media. Texas A&M University Press. Accessed 20 March 2018. Ramet, S., & Soberg, M. (2008). Challenges facing Croatia since Independence (An Introduction). In S. Ramet, K. Clewing, & R. Lukić (Eds.), Croatia since Independence. War, politics, society, foreign relations (pp. 11–30). München: R. Oldenbourg in München (Germany). Rudic, M. (2013). Serbia’s forgotten veterans fight new battle for hearts, minds and welfare. While Croatia’s Balkan war veterans rights are enshrined in law Serbian fighters battle Belgrade for even basic benefit. Accessed 25 March 2018. Smerić, T. (2009). Uz temu: Hrvatska vojska – Hrvatsko društvo. Društvena istraživanja. Časopis za opća društvena pitanja, 18(3), 101, 337. Stanić, S., & Mravak, K. (2012). Domovinski rat – ratna iskustva žena. Polemos, 15(1), 11–32. Stubbs, P., & Zrinščak, S. (2015). Citizenship and social welfare in Croatia: Clientelism and the limits of “Europeanisation”. European Politics and Society, 16(3), 395–410. .1080/23745118.2015.1061798. Šetka, S. (2017). Tko nije bio ranjen, nema se čemu nadati. In Spektar (pp. 2–3). EPH Slobodna Dalmacija in Split (Croatia). Štiks, I. (2015). Nations and citizens in Yugoslavia and the post-Yugoslav states: One hundred years of citizenship. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Štiks, I., & Shaw, J. (2013). Citizenship after Yugoslavia. Abingdon: Routledge. Šućur, Z., Babić, Z., Urban, I., & Baran, J. (2016). Struktura naknada, izdaci i korisnici programa socijalne zaštite u Republici Hrvatskoj. Zagreb: Ministarstvo socijalne politike i mladih. Tanner, M. (2010). Croatia: A nation forged in war (3rd ed.). New Haven, CT/London: Yale University Press. van Hook, L. Yugoslavian Civil War, 1991–1999. Accessed 25 March 2018. Vlašić, T. (2017). Uvodi se naknada za nezaposlene branitelje. Medved je lani rekao da ih je 23.000, sad u zakonu piše 83.000. Kako? Accessed 25 March 2018. Vukšíc-Mihaljevíc, Ž., Mandíc, N., Benšíc, M., & Mihaljevíc, S. (2000). Posttraumatic stress disorder among Croatian veterans: A causal model. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 54(6), 625–636. Živić, D. (2005). Demografski gubitci Hrvatske vojske tijekom Domovinskog rata. Diacovensia, 12(1), 119–140.

Chapter 4

Estonia: Estonian Veterans in Transition Tiia-Triin Truusa, Kairi Kasearu, and Avo Trumm

Estonia is among the countries where veterans can be seen as a newly emerging social group, much like in other nations that started producing veterans again in the early 1990s. Most often, these so-called “new” or conflict veterans are men and women who gained their veteran status by serving on various UN- and NATO-led military missions. Besides Estonia, such countries include Norway, Denmark, and Germany (Baumgärtner and Schultheiss 2018). Several of these countries adopted a veterans policy, often officially redefining who a veteran is, while in others, such as Germany, the debate is still ongoing. The definition is important as it often guides the allocation of resources and determines eligibility for support, social guarantees (Burdett et al. 2013), and recognition (Baumgärtner and Schultheiss 2018). In the process of military-to-civilian life transition (MCT), the definition can simultaneously constitute access to help and a way of cutting oneself off from support and services – for example, if the service-leaver does not identify as a veteran or, indeed, does not fit the official definition of veteran. In addition to the definition, transitioning military service members are also influenced by their country’s cultural context and conceptualization of the process of transition. Is transition seen as a short time period where certain goals such as housing and employment have to be achieved? Is it a longer process of personal transformation – as Praharso et al. (2017) termed it identity transition? In order to better understand how individual veterans negotiate transition, Sørensen (2018) proposes that military-to-civilian transitions be seen as transition trajectories. Veterans form a vastly heterogeneous group, and the process of transition is impacted by various factors and influences, even going back as far as the pre-enlistment period (Spiro et al. 2016). This chapter discusses the interrelations between veterans’ transition to civilian life and veterans policy in Estonia.

T.-T. Truusa (*) · K. Kasearu · A. Trumm University of Tartu, Insitute of Social Sciences, Tartu, Estonia e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,



T.-T. Truusa et al.

 onceptual Framework of the Transition from Military C to Civilian Life Transition is something that we have all experienced and will likely experience again. Some transitions are thought of as more common than others; some have social norms and traditions, even rituals connected to them, such as marriage and graduation. Partly, these norms are there to help with the transition and to indicate to others the new social status of the transitioning person. In the context of MCT, we mean a process where the former service member will transition out of the military, either of their own volition or due to circumstance. In this process, the military service member will not only have to deal with the changes occurring in their environment but also manage the process of psychological transition, letting go of the old and incorporating the new (Bridges 2011). Transition usually means that a person transitions from one state or place to another, and transitional rituals often signify that one period has ended and another one is beginning. However, MCT is not usually connected to any cultural practices that would help the public to see and recognize transitioning military service members. Once veterans put away their uniforms, they become more difficult to distinguish from the general population. Usually, the armed forces and the government have instituted programs and systems of support to help military service members with MCT. In some countries like the UK and the USA, stakeholders in the form of charities and nongovernmental organizations have become heavily involved in helping veterans. A number of MCT theories have been developed, their common denominators being that the process of transition takes place over a period of time, which differs from person to person, but ideally takes into account a significant amount of time before and after departure from service (Robinson et al. 2017). These authors also acknowledge that good MCT theories have to consider various factors that affect the wellness of a transitioning veteran, such as mental and physical health, family, housing, transportation, employment, education and training, financial health, legal interactions, social capital and connectedness, self-actualization, and transition literacy. By transition literacy, Robinson et al. (2017) refer to the practical intelligence that allows a person to adapt and mould opportunities in society, and culture and cross-cultural competence, which in turn help to manage the reaction to different cultures and to operate in an intercultural context. In their study, Praharso et al. (2017) concluded that challenging life events such as transitions are the most stressful and compromise well-being while entailing identity loss, making identity transition the most difficult part of the transition. When veterans transition, they begin the renegotiation of their military identities to find or even invent who they are in their civilian lives; this process is supported, and arguably, the adverse outcomes are alleviated to a degree when the transitioning person’s identity as a veteran is socially recognized. Axel Honneth’s concepts of recognition explore the meaning of being a veteran, as they broach “the personal along with the public” (Thomas et al. 2016) – after all, the personal experiences that make a person a veteran can be quite different from the publicly accepted ­understanding of a veteran’s identity – and “the emotional along with the rational” (Thomas et al. 2016).

4  Estonia: Estonian Veterans in Transition


Table 4.1  Honneth’s conception of recognition, source – Warming (2015) Type Descriptive Modes Emotional Cared for Love and care Legal




Rights and respect as a morally sane person Appreciation and solidarity

Self-­ relationship Self-­ confidence Self-respect

Sphere The intimate sphere The legal sphere


The social sphere

Honneth (1996) sees recognition as a fundamental element in human interaction and individual and group interaction and maintains that mutual recognition forms the basis of social interactions – the fabric of society. He proposes a three-part conceptualization of intersubjective recognition, which can be referred to as “love, rights, and solidarity” (Table 4.1) (Brincat 2014). Love is the most fundamental and pertains to primary relationships, such as those between parent and child, lovers, or partners. Rights refer to modern legal regulations and establish a person as legally responsible and acting with agency. However, it is essential that rights go beyond formal recognition and establish a person as someone who has the same rights as other members in the society. Thus, recognition takes place through realization and active support in practice (Warming 2015). Solidarity denotes that a person in sociocultural life is understood as someone who carries social value and is unique (Brincat 2014). Recognition is constructed through intersubjective communication; therefore, the opportunities for recognition are first and foremost realized in interactional spaces such as talking, listening, and hearing (Thomas et al. 2016), close personal interactions, and more general social interactions, such as media discourse. According to Honneth, social recognition is a form of social esteem that allows people to relate positively to their concrete characteristics, abilities, and skills; in other words, they are recognized for something that is specifically theirs but shared in a differentiated manner with others (Thomas et al. 2016). Thus, social recognition as self-esteem in the social sphere is connected to the person’s esteem within the group, and at the same time, the group in turn needs to be recognized as having fundamental value for the society in question (Frost 2016). In the case of veterans, these associations between social recognition and personal self-esteem might play a central role in the process of MCT in the different societal contexts. As stated by Warming (2015), social recognition is conditioned by – and likewise shapes – the social values and norms as well as the individual’s valuing of and feeling of belonging to the community.

Estonian Veterans Policy: Identity Creation and Recognition Estonia adopted its veterans policy in 2012, 11 years after regaining independence, although Estonian troops started participating in foreign missions already in 1995. First of all, the policy determined who would be considered a veteran in Estonia. The definition of a veteran extends to Estonian citizens who meet one of the following conditions:


T.-T. Truusa et al.

• They have taken part in the military defence of the country as part of the Defence Forces. • They have participated as part of the Defence Forces on either an international or collective self-defence operation on the basis of the International Military Cooperation Act. • They have sustained permanent incapacity for work while discharging duties in the Defence Forces or as an active member of the Defence League (Veterans Policy 2012). The definition does not restrict veteran status to those who are no longer engaged by the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF). In 2016 around half of the veterans were still active servicemen in the EDF (Siplane 2016). Settling on this rather exclusive definition (Dandeker et al. 2006) was controversial because it meant that those who has participated in World War II or the SovietAfghan war (1979–1989) were not to be included, as they had not served in the EDF but armies of other states. That meant that they would not benefit from the new measures set in place. Culturally, the term veteran also raised some issues because during the Soviet occupation period the term “veteran” was reserved for those who had fought in World War II in the Soviet ranks. In the Soviet Union, veterans enjoyed a higher status in society, through special benefits and services allotted to them (Danilova 2010). This higher status, however, created tensions within society as the Soviet troops were seen by most Estonians as an occupation force, not as the “liberators” as in the official Soviet view. Furthermore, many families had family members fighting on opposing sides in World War II.  In some respects, the new definition bypassed the political tensions but nonetheless created disgruntlement among the World War II veterans. These different associations with the term “veteran” still hold today in social representations. A public opinion poll conducted in March 2018 by Kivirähk showed that 42% of the population between the ages of 15 and 75 associated the term “veteran” with World War II, one-fifth thought of the Estonian War of Independence (1918–1920), and only one-fourth saw the term as associated with EDF military deployments. Moreover, the same survey revealed important differences by ethnicity: for native Estonians, the term veteran is bound up with current EDF deployments, while the Russian-speaking population associated it with World War II (74%). The Veterans Policy of 2012 implemented several new social guarantees and measures intended to help veterans return to everyday life after deployment and to help with the MCT.  The policy also included recognition measures, as public ­opinion of returning veterans was either negative or at best neutral due to historically negative public perceptions of the soldier’s role under the Soviet totalitarian rule. Another reason the veterans policy stressed recognition measures was the fact that it was partially modelled on the Danish first veterans policy, entitled “Recognition and Support”, which also provided a definition of veteran and measures for enhancing the visibility of veterans in Danish society (Sørensen 2015). In an interview conducted with the first author of this chapter, the former Minister of Defence Mart Laar, the initiator of the Estonian veterans policy, said:

4  Estonia: Estonian Veterans in Transition


It was high time to do something for the soldiers we had deployed. We were visiting Denmark and they had this booklet (on Danish veteran policy), it fit well into my pocket, so I took it with me. I pulled it out here and there when we discussed what the Estonian policy should be.

It seems that Estonian veterans policy and especially the recognition has been quite successful, as the social negative media representations of veterans have become much more positive over the years (Duel et  al. 2019). The recognition could be measured in two ways: on the one hand, by the general public opinion towards veterans and, on the other, how the veterans and the military perceive this opinion and attitude. Figure 4.1 indicates that since 2011 the share of servicemen who perceive positive public recognition has increased. In 2011, 35% perceived the public opinion towards servicemen with foreign mission experience as mostly good, while, 6 years later, in 2017, this percentage had doubled. Moreover, since 2012, Veterans Day has been celebrated on 23 April with the aim of promoting broader publicity and charity. This campaign has been one of the most successful social campaigns in Estonia – according to the results of an opinion poll, 72% agreed that it is necessary to celebrate this day (Kivirähk 2018). Among soldiers returning from deployments, the support for Veterans Day has also increased; in 2011, it was asked whether Estonia should start to celebrate Veterans Day, and 46% said yes, and by 2016, the majority of servicemen supported it. Despite the contradictory perception of the meaning of “veteran”, the recognition measures have thus generally been quite effective, at least on the attitudinal level. Perceived recognition plays a significant role in the identity creation and general life satisfaction. Truusa and Kasearu (2019) conducted a study among the partners/ wives of Estonian military personnel, and one of the important aspects was pride in being a wife of a military service member. This pride was based on perceived 100% 90% 80%














29 38


30% 10%

0 8


40% 20%



70% 60%





9 6 6 4 3 2 2011 (ESTCOY 12, 2012 (ESTCOY 14, 2013 (ESTCOY 16, 2015 (ESTPLA 19) 2016 (ESTPLA 20, 2017 (ESTPLA 22, 13) 15) 17) 21) 23) very good

mostly good


mostly bad

very bad

Fig. 4.1  How would you characterize the public attitude towards soldiers who have been deployed? (Source: Surveys of Estonian servicemen returning from deployments, 2011–2017)


T.-T. Truusa et al.

r­ ecognition, e.g. special or honourable treatment in everyday situations. It stresses the importance of recognition that has transcended words into actions and gone beyond the official EDF and government recognition. It is recognition realized in interactional spaces as stated by Thomas et al. (2016).

 he Policy Measures Supporting the MCT of Estonian T Veterans The policy does have some measures that target specifically the MCT. One of the principles of the veterans policy was that it should not duplicate civilian measures of support and services that are already in place (Siplane 2014). Therefore, one of the policy measures is to educate municipal social workers as to the needs that military service members transitioning into their civilian lives have. Another measure is supporting purchasing housing as the state guarantees down payments on housing loans taken by veterans. In general, the EDF encourages homeownership, so that it is more common for the service member to commute daily to the place of service or to become a “weekender” as Jolly (1992) termed it, living in the barracks during the week and spending the weekend at home with the family. During the period of 2012–2015, only around 12% of those who left the service lived in housing owned by the military (Rõõs 2016), and of the contingent in military housing, about 10% lived in dormitories and 2% in apartments. According to the MoD, living quarters meant for families are being phased out. Other measures targeting MCT are connected to employment, such as in-service training and retraining for veterans’ pursuant to the plan prepared at the veterans’ career counselling sessions. Compensation of tuition can be applied for studies at any educational level (Veterans Policy 2012). The in-service training and compensation for studies were deemed the most necessary measures that all veterans (not including the measures meant to support the wounded and their families) can make use of (Kasearu and Truusa 2016). Veterans can also access the civilian employment office for retraining and education. Service-leavers from 2012 to 2015 were mostly those who could be called early service-leavers, they were predominantly in their early twenties, and the most common reason for leaving as per exit forms was a better-paid civilian job (Rõõs 2016). Siplane (2016) analysed the employment dynamics of Estonian veterans in 2010–2015 and determined that veterans as a social group differ somewhat from the closest comparison group, police officers. Veterans who left the EDF tended to start using employment office services about a year after their release, and police officers did so within two months of leaving service. In addition, the percentage of police officers contacting the employment office is about 27%, compared to 47% among veterans, and about 54% of these veterans do so repeatedly, presumably because the employment they found did not work out.

4  Estonia: Estonian Veterans in Transition


MCT Among Estonian Veterans On the one hand, the perceived meaning of the term “veteran” has changed due to relatively effective public campaigns and veterans policy measures aimed at supporting recognition. On the other hand, veterans policy measures are mostly dedicated to those injured on missions and less to supporting MCT. Moreover, due to the confusing and value-laden meaning of the term “veteran”, the MCT may highlight new challenges. Next, we will focus on the question of how veterans still serving in the EDF differ from those who have left the military. Proceeding from Praharso et al. (2017), we consider the assessment of satisfaction with life in general as an indirect measure of the success of MCT. The measure of perceived social status in society corresponds to Honneth’s “social” dimension of recognition. We will analyse the adaptation to civilian life on the basis of general life satisfaction and perceived social status in society. As the Estonian veteran definition is mostly deployment-related, we will also concentrate on deployment-related issues: e.g. number of deployments, the specific conflict zone, and how veterans perceive changes related to the deployments. The empirical basis for analysis of MCT among Estonian veterans is based on data from the Estonian Veteran Survey, which was carried out in by the MoD in cooperation with the University of Tartu in Estonia. In March, an electronic survey link in LimeSurvey was distributed to all veterans by the MoD, and in April, a reminder was sent to elicit more participants. The link stayed active for one and a half months. According to the MoD, in 2016, there were around 2700 veterans in Estonia. We received back 1036 forms, which is about 38% of the veteran population. At that time, 52% of the whole veteran population had joined civilian society, and the corresponding percentage among our respondents was 54%. The percentage of women among the veteran population in 2016 was about 3.5%, with females making up 4% of our respondents. Age-wise, the percentage of veterans aged 35 and under was 48%; the figure was 42% among our respondents. The next age group was 45 and under, who make up 42% within the general veteran population but only 14% of our respondents. Veterans over 46 make up 9% of the population and 12% of our respondents. It can be said that our data is a good representation of the whole veteran population in Estonia. First, we will look at whether the life satisfaction and perceived social status vary across veterans according to their transition status (still in military vs having joined civilian society) and type of mission (peacekeeping vs warlike deployment) (Fig. 4.2). In general, life satisfaction is highest among those veterans who are in the military and have been deployed on peacekeeping missions, in contrast to veterans who have been deployed in warlike operations and are still in EDF. Life satisfaction is lower among veterans who have transferred to civilian life. Among the post-­transition group, no statistically significant differences stand out according to the type of mission. A similar pattern emerges in the case of perceived social status, indicating that

50 8.0

T.-T. Truusa et al. 7.4


7.0 6.0



6.7 5.6



5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 Peackeeping deployment

Warlike depolyment

In military Life satisfaction

Peacekeeping deployment

Warlike deployment

In civilian world Percieved social position

Fig. 4.2  Average score of veterans’ perceived social status and life satisfaction (scale 1–10)

there are differences between veterans in how they are making the transition but that the type of mission has an influence only inside the military sphere. Once the veteran has transitioned into the civilian life, the significance of deployment might change, no longer signalling a literal “baptism by fire” as the core of soldiering but instead emphasizing the possible damage the veteran may have sustained from combat experience. Although our cross-sectional data does not identify whether the above average general life satisfaction of veterans still in service is an effect of selection or the MCT process, the previous studies have underlined that the stressful nature of MCT may impact well-being negatively (Praharso et al. 2017). It appears that veterans staying in the military sphere are doing better than veterans who have transitioned into the civilian world. Staying in the military provides a kind of a safety net. For example, the proportion of veterans who were injured on missions is higher among those who have stayed in the military (one-­third among military and one-fifth among civilians). However, those in the civilian world are more likely to have experienced relationship breakups during or after deployment. Moreover, 40% of veterans have been unemployed or job-seeking for at least 3 months after their release from the military, which could be explained by the different educational background of veterans. Namely, veterans who have stayed in the military are more educated compared to the veterans in the civilian population. Partly, this explains the differences in life satisfaction and perceived social status of veterans who have stayed in the military as opposed to those who have returned to the civilian world. However, if we look at Fig. 4.3, which shows whether deployments were perceived as having improved different situational, emotional, and social aspects, it becomes evident that, in particular, the veterans who have joined the civilian world feel that their deployment has improved many aspects in their lives. One exception being that 58% of those still in the military perceive that due to the deployment their economic situation has improved, as opposed to 45% of the veterans now in

4  Estonia: Estonian Veterans in Transition


80 70


60 50 40 30 20 10 0

In military

In civilian

Fig. 4.3  Percentage of veterans who found that these aspects have improved

the civilian population. Yet there are no differences between the groups in perceived improvement of self-esteem, close relationships, life satisfaction, recognition, and social status. Moreover, in the case of friendship ties, self-efficacy, motivational stability, and fitness, the proportion of veterans who see the improvement is higher among those who have gone through the transition to the civilian world. This indicates that the pattern of MCT is not so clear. Thus, the effectiveness of MCT should be analysed in two steps: first, we will assess the differences between the veterans in the military and the civilian sphere followed by the differences within the group of veterans who have transferred to the civilian world. Estonian veterans policy measures can be divided into four groups: counselling for veterans, monetary and material benefits, support for the injured, and supporting the families of those killed while discharging duties. Potentially the counselling and material benefit measures would be those that have the highest impact on the life satisfaction and perceived social status, the two indicators that are tied to social recognition. However, the survey results show that veterans themselves deem the measures meant for supporting the families of those killed in action and for the injured to be most important. Next are economic measures, and counselling measures are considered to be the least important. Figure 4.4 shows that the measures are poorly used, with the exception of the option of going to a wellness centre together with the family. There is a significant difference in use of policy measures and the general awareness of these measures among the veterans still in the military, as opposed to those who have transitioned to civilian life. Among veterans in the military, the share of those who have used different measures is higher compared to the veterans who have transferred to civilian world. This is certainly impacted by the fact that the percentage of those who have been injured during deployment is higher among those veterans still serving in


Everyday life Psychological Social counselling counselling counselling

Wellness centre

DownIn-service payments on training and housing loans retraining

T.-T. Truusa et al.

In civilian In military In civilian In military In civilian In military In civilian In military In civilian In military In civilian In military 0%



Has/intends to use




Knows, but has not use






Does not know

Fig. 4.4  Use and awareness about measures of Estonian veterans policy (%)

the military. Moreover, the awareness of different policy measures is also lower among veterans who have been released from military service. It indicates that those who have stayed in the military system have better chances to be supported by different measures of the veterans policy. The disparity of knowledge between these two groups of veterans can also be affected by the fact that Estonia has been serving on foreign missions since 1995, but the policy came into effect only in 2012, so many of those who had already left the military have transitioned well enough that they have not sought help from the military. In addition, the support and services for veterans were set up so as to have minimal duplication of those within the civilian system. The general aim and understanding was that the veteran who has left the military or the ex-service member who has no service-related injuries is going to make use of the civilian social security and support systems. That includes medical care, education, employment-related issues, etc. In principle, depending on the characteristics of the group making use of the different policy measures, the measures assume a different interpretation. Provided the measures are being used by those who have the most difficulty coping with transition or need the most help but are not satisfied with the measures available, we can conclude that the measures in place are not sufficient enough to help those in need. However, if the measures are being utilized by those whose satisfaction with life and perceived status in society is higher, then it can be concluded that the measures

4  Estonia: Estonian Veterans in Transition


are working. However, if those who are experiencing the most difficulties are not aware of the measures, the measures are not reaching the target group. Figure 4.5 shows the average life satisfaction score and perceived social status of veterans in the military and civilian sphere according to satisfaction with the measures and support. From this, we can conclude that satisfaction with services and measures supporting the well-being of veterans is associated with perceived social status and general life satisfaction. The perceived social status and general life satisfaction is the lowest among veterans who report being “very dissatisfied” or “dissatisfied” with measures and have moved to the civilian sphere and the highest among veterans who say they are “very satisfied” with measures and have stayed in the military sphere. The following patterns emerge: (1) among veterans in military sphere, the association between satisfaction with measures and perceived social status is ­stronger than among veterans now in the civilian sphere; (2) the association between general life satisfaction and satisfaction with the measures has greater variance among veterans in the civilian sphere. As the satisfaction with veterans policy measures is positively associated with general life satisfaction and perceived social status, it should logically impact perceived social recognition. Perceived social recognition by others is related to the feelings of care, respect, and solidarity; and the usage of services or potential opportunity to use them, if needed, is a sign of good will and respect from society. However, if the services are narrowly targeted to the specific groups, the policy can have an opposite – exclusive or marginalizing – effect. 9

8 M_very satisfied

Social status

7 Neutral

6 M_very dissatisfied


C_dissatisfied 4


C_not aware

C_satisfied C_very satisfied

M_not aware


C_very dissatisfied

3 3







Life satisfaction

Fig. 4.5  Mean perceived social status and life satisfaction of veterans in military and civilian sphere according to their satisfaction with policy measures and support


T.-T. Truusa et al.

Veterans Policy Measures Finally, we conducted a regression analysis to determine the factors impacting general life satisfaction and perceived social status. The analysis revealed that the main factors increasing life satisfaction similarly in both subgroups are perceived recognition and living with spouse/ partner (Table 4.2). Both of these factors contribute to belongingness and solidarity, the first and third aspects of recognition as Honneth describes them. Belongingness stresses the importance of acceptance and recognition from the primary relationships, the feeling of being cared for, adding to self-­ confidence. The third factor is solidarity, being recognized within the society as someone who has a unique value for the society, adding to self-esteem. An interesting and also somewhat surprising result is that the correlation between veterans policy measures and satisfaction with life and perceived social status has a negative connotation. Veterans who are no longer employed by the Estonian Defence Forces and are not satisfied with the measures set forth in the veterans policy have decreased life satisfaction. In contrast, among the veterans that are still serving in the military, disgruntlement with support and services diminishes perceived social status. From the Estonian perspective, it might prove prudent to consider the needs of these two groups of veterans differently. It might be that from the aspect of MCT these results have less of an influence, although they do indicate a shift in what veterans consider to be important before and after release from the military. When still in the service, importance is placed on social status or being recognized as having unique importance as a social group. Perhaps life satisfaction is less important  – after all, sacrifice is considered a part of being a soldier. But things change once military personnel transition into civilian life where there is more emphasis on consumerism and individualistic values tending towards hedonism (Rahbek-­Clemmensen et al. 2012). Table 4.2  Factors decreasing/increasing perceived life satisfaction and social status

Life satisfaction

Increasing factors Decreasing factors

Social status Increasing factors Decreasing factors

Veterans in military sphere Perceived recognition Living with partner/spouse Financial difficulties Number of deployments

Perceived recognition Perceived social status Lower level of education Financial difficulties Low satisfaction with or does not know measures of veterans policy

Veterans transferred to civilian sphere 1. Perceived recognition 2. Living with partner/spouse Financial difficulties Experience of unemployment Low satisfaction with or knowledge of veterans policy measures Perceived social status Perceived recognition Living with partner/spouse Injured Lower level of education Financial difficulties Experience of unemployment

4  Estonia: Estonian Veterans in Transition


Considering the differences between the veterans in the military and those who have made the transition, we see that their reported life satisfaction, perceived status in society, and recognition could stem from their different frame of reference. While still serving in the military, being a veteran is measured against the backdrop of military structure and culture, whereas in the civilian society the reference group becomes the whole society: how am I doing compared to the rest of the population, the average Estonian? Am I an average Estonian? The different context and basis of comparison will inevitably yield different results in the self-rated indicators of well-being. There is also a twofold temporal aspect to being a veteran: one has to do with understanding who one was before and after deployment and how things have changed for the veteran as a person but also whether he has stayed with the military. Having veteran status in the military is more connected to the profile of the completed mission, either peacekeeping or peace enforcement, whether the serviceman served on base or had to venture out on patrols. Yet once the serviceman has transferred to the civilian society, it becomes less nuanced and a matter of whether the individual has deployed or not. To some extent, the good standing of veterans in the society is probably more based on the status of the Defence Forces and professional soldiers in society and naturally on whether the public accepted the mission as necessary. But more importantly, the retrospective re-evaluation of one’s experiences as a soldier, motivations for being deployed, the legitimacy of the deployment and its relative success or lack of success, etc. might influence the veterans’ own perception of what veteran status means (Daxner 2018).

Conclusions The MCT is a stressful life event, encompassing a complex set of social, economic, psychological, and cultural changes to adapt to. Some veterans policy measures try to smooth the transition process and to protect the veteran from potential losses of economic resources, social status, social recognition, etc. The Estonian veterans policy was introduced relatively recently and includes the components of economic and psychosocial support, as well as measures promoting recognition and the image of veterans. However, Estonia is an intriguing case in that the meaning of veteran is still fluid and society attaches different connotations to the term. In the military sphere, the deployment-based definition of the veteran is internalized, but in the whole society, the process is ongoing. It also means that in Estonia the MCT is related to the shift in personal identity – the results of the Veteran Survey show that the average satisfaction with life in general is lower in case of veterans in civilian life. This fact may suggest that the veterans policy is not sufficient to prevent or even mitigate the decline in well-being for veterans. However, this relationship is much more complex. For example, the measures of the policy could be used only by those veterans who have less security and more problems. This restriction is most likely to be rooted in the universal welfare system approach, where veterans are


T.-T. Truusa et al.

seen as citizens who have similar rights and obligations to other citizens. Thus, the development of a military legal space and policy measures for persons with a military background is embedded in the wider societal context and welfare system (Nolte 2003). In trying to follow the principles of socio-democratic welfare regime, Estonia tends more towards implementing the universal approach whereby, after the MCT, the veterans are “civilians” and subjects of the general security system. As the data of the Veteran Survey clearly highlight, very few veterans have used the specific policy measures that were developed in the framework of the veterans policy. Moreover, the usage and awareness of the measures is higher among those veterans who have stayed in the military. It suggests that there are differences between “insiders” and “outsiders”. Our analysis is based on cross-sectional data, and therefore, we cannot with absolute certainty confirm whether the more vulnerable group of veterans is moving out of the military sphere or rather staying there  – which could be seen as so-called selection effect. The other possibility is that the vulnerability is the outcome of the weakly supported transition process from the military sphere “safety net” to the civilian world. However, our analyses demonstrate the differences in general well-being between the two groups of veterans. MCT is a multifaceted process, and its success depends on (1) how the mission(s) have impacted the veteran physically, socially, psychologically etc.; (2) the measures that support MCT and their effectiveness; and (3) societal understanding of veterans issues and social recognition. Social recognition, though important and conducive to smoother MCT, is certainly not enough by itself. Also, the low support for counselling measures indicates that Estonian veterans are not aware of the difficulties inherent in identity transition and shows that transition literacy among veterans is low.

References Baumgärtner, E., & Schultheiss, P. (2018). They have returned and are here to stay: New veteran organisations in Germany and their struggle for recognition. In M. Daxner, M. Näser-Lather, & S.-L. Nicola (Eds.), Conflict veterans: Discourses and living contexts of an emerging social group (pp. 52–71). Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Bridges, W. (2011). Managing transitions: Making the most of change. Boston: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Brincat, S. (2014). Recognition, conflict and the problem of ethical community. Global Discourse, 4(4), 397–408. Burdett, H., Woodhead, C., Iversen, A. C., Wessely, S., Dandeker, C., & Fear, N. T. (2013). “Are you a veteran?” Understanding of the term “veteran” among UK ex-service personnel a research note. Armed Forces & Society, 39(4), 751–759. Dandeker, C., Wessely, S., Iversen, A., & Ross, J. (2006). What’s in a name? Defining and caring for “veterans” the United Kingdom in international perspective. Armed Forces & Society, 32(2), 161–177. Danilova, N. (2010). The development of an exclusive veterans’ policy: The case of Russia. Armed Forces & Society, 36(5), 890–916. Daxner, M. (2018). Competing with the dead hero: The German particular way. In M. Daxner, M. Näser-Lather, & S.-L. Nicola (Eds.), Conflict veterans: Discourses and living contexts of an emerging social group (pp. 91–108). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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Duel, J., Truusa, T.-T., & Elands, M. (2019). Public support for veterans leaving the armed forces. In C. A. Castro, S. Dursun, & K. Harrsion (Eds.), Military veteran reintegration. Approach, management, and assessment of military veterans transitioning to civilian life. Elsevier. Frost, L. (2016). Exploring the concepts of recognition and shame for social work. Journal of Social Work Practice, 30(4), 431–446. Honneth, A. (1996). The struggle for recognition: The moral grammar of social conflicts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Jolly, R. A. (1992). Military man, family man: Crown property? London, UK: Brassey’s Defence Publishers. Veterans Policy (2012) (Ministry of Defence). Policy regarding veterans of the defence forces andthe defence league. files/eng_veteranipoliitika.pdf. retreived on 04.10.2019. Kasearu, K., & Truusa, T.-T. (2016). Rahuvalve missioonidel osalejate ootused sotsiaalsetele garantiidele. In A. Trumm (Ed.), Riigikaitse inimvara arendamine: võimalused ja väljakutsed (pp. 84–97). Tartu: Tartu Ülikool. Kivirähk, J. (2018). Avalik arvamus ja riigikaitse. Report. Tallinn: Estonian Ministry of Defence. riigikaitse_marts_2018_0.pdf. Accessed 14 May 2018. Nolte, G. (2003). European military law systems. Berlin: De-Gruyter Rechtswissenschaften Verlags-GmbH. Praharso, N. F., Tear, M. J., & Cruwys, T. (2017). Stressful life transitions and wellbeing: A comparison of the stress buffering hypothesis and the social identity model of identity change. Psychiatry Research, 247, 265–275. Rahbek-Clemmensen, J., Archer, E. M., Barr, J., Belkin, A., Guerrero, M., Hall, C., & Swain, K. E. O. (2012). Conceptualizing the civil–Military gap a research note. Armed Forces & Society, 38(4), 669–678. Robinson, J., Littlefiled, P., & Schleuning, A. (2017). Transforming veterans’ experiences during military-to-civilian transition: Gaps and opportunities. US Department of Veterans Affairs. Center for Innovation. VACI%20State%20of%20MCT_04192017%20%281%29.pdf. Accessed 30 Apr 2018. Rõõs, H. (2016). Kaitseväe tegevteenistusest vabatahtlikult lahkumise põhjused. University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia. ma_2016.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y. Accessed 15 May 2018. Siplane, A. (2016). Tegevteenistusest lahkunud veteranide toimetulekust tööturul. Sõjateadlane Estonian Journal of Military Studies, 3, 188–207. Siplane, A. (2014). Militaar-tsiviilala koostöö sotsiaaltöös. Sotsiaaltöö, (I), 20. Sørensen, B.  R. (2015). Veterans’ homecomings. Current Anthropology, 56(S12), S231–S240. Sørensen, B.  R. (2018). From Warforce to workforce: Danish Veteran’s career changes. In M. Daxner, M. Näser-Lather, & S.-L. Nicola (Eds.), Conflict veterans: Discourses and living contexts of an emerging social group (pp. 23–49). Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Spiro, A., Settersten, R. A., & Aldwin, C. M. (2016). Long-term outcomes of military Service in Aging and the life course: A positive re-envisioning. The Gerontologist, 56(1), 5–13. https:// Thomas, N., Graham, A., Powell, M.  A., & Fitzgerald, R. (2016). Conceptualisations of children’s wellbeing at school: The contribution of recognition theory. Childhood, 23(4), 506–520. Truusa, T.-T., & Kasearu, K. (2019). Capable patriots - narratives of Estonian women living with military service members. In E. Ben-Ari, B. R. Sørensen, & N. Rones (Eds.), Rethinking civil-­ military relations. Anthropological Perspectives. New York: Berghahn. Warming, H. (2015). The life of children in care in Denmark: A struggle over recognition. Childhood, 22(2), 248–262.

Chapter 5

Netherlands: Veterans’ Transition to Dutch Society Joyce Motshagen

Globally, veterans face complex social issues such as low unemployment, low income, and problems with health and romantic relationships. Why is that and how are the 113.750 veterans in the Netherlands? Why does one veteran succeed in their transition to society and the others do not? There will not be a conclusive answer to this question at the end of this chapter. What you will find out during reading is that there are a lot of risk and success factors that influence a good transition, some more obvious than others. Most veterans in the Netherlands do integrate relatively well into society after their service in the armed forces. Research by the Dutch Trimbos Institute and the Veterans Institute among a large group of Dutch veterans gave an excellent overview of the well-being of the veterans (Veteraneninstituut 2015). On average, veterans report good levels of well-being, and they have limited need for support. About 75% of the veterans are doing fine (Veteraneninstituut 2015). However, what about the other 25%? The research shows that about 20% are experiencing problems; they need some support in various areas, from healthcare to help with finding a job. About 5% of the veterans are not doing well at all, and these veterans have problems in several areas, such as mental health problems, addiction, and employment problems, and have a great need for support. Often, these veterans do not seek the help they need. They try to manage their problems themselves, or they have no trust in the institutions and support systems which results in more problems over a more extended period of time. This chapter discusses the factors that have been investigated in the Veterans Institute’s research and some other factors that regularly appear in research. The discussion will provide an overview of the Dutch situation and gives more insight into the connection between aspects. By taking a broad view of the research, a clearer picture of the risk and success factors arises. This results in focus points and J. Motshagen (*) Wijk bij Duurstede, The Netherlands © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,



J. Motshagen

o­ pportunities for new research and provides guidance for policy to reduce risk factors and assist in the transition of veterans into society less problematic. Before I discuss the factors, I outline a brief overview of the Dutch military history and the veterans.

Who Are They? Although the Netherlands originated from the Eighty-Year War, the country has no particular military tradition; between 1678 and 1940, the country was mainly not involved in any conflicts (Commission of Social Recognition Veterans/Lagendijk 1991). Up until the Second World War, the Netherlands was mainly neutral during conflicts, and therefore, there were few veterans, and for the veterans, there were hardly any facilities (Dekker 2004). After the Second World War, the first structured facilities for veterans appeared. At first, it was considered that care for veterans would only be necessary for a short period of time. Consequently, no concrete policy was used in the long term. However, in the period between 1940 and 1962, there were more than half a million soldiers deployed during four wars: the Second World War, Indonesian decolonization, the Korean War, and the conflict in New Guinea. As a result, there emerged a large group of individuals in need of possible aftercare and recognition. Additionally, the group of veterans is quite changing. The Netherlands has an ever-growing group of (young) veterans. Since the end of the Cold War, the United Nations focused on maintaining or restoring peace and security (Valk, 2000). More and more peace missions are taking place, indeed with Dutch input. With recent missions in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the group of young veterans grows. As a consequence, the amount of older veterans will decrease over time. It is essential to define the term “veteran.” The Ministry of Defense describes veterans as follows: Veterans are all (ex)-militaries of Dutch nationality who served the Kingdom in war conditions. Or similar situations, such as peacekeeping missions in an international context. In February 2010 it was decided that also active military personnel are already a veteran. This decision was made to meet the wishes of many active military personnel who have already been on a mission. When defined as veteran they can claim the recognition and benefits connected with this label, such as discounts. The decision enlarged the group of veterans.

Veterans and Their Missions In the literature, a distinction is made between so-called “young” and “old” veterans. Veterans who participated in the mission UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) from 1979 to 1985 and all veterans who participated in missions afterward belong to the so-called young veterans (Dekker 2004). Veterans before UNIFIL are the “old veterans”; this mainly concerns veterans from the Second

5  Netherlands: Veterans’ Transition to Dutch Society


World War, the Indonesian decolonization battle, the Korean War, and the conflict in New Guinea. The mission in Lebanon was the first significant peacekeeping mission in which the Netherlands participated. The retreat of troops had to be monitored, peace and security had to be restored, and the Lebanese government had to be assisted to regain its authority in South Lebanon (Antonisse 2002). These are clearly characteristics of peace mission as they happen today. Rules of engagement are also characteristic: only use violence for self-defense or if the execution of the mandate is actually jeopardized (Klep and van Gils 1999). Since Lebanon, military personnel has been deployed regularly (e.g., missions in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq). Often, they had to work under extreme and frustrating conditions, such as extreme weather conditions, life-threatening missions, and not being able to help locals. The terms “young” and “old” do not necessarily refer to the age of the veterans; it is concerned with the missions in which they participated. In recent years, there are more veterans of recent missions. This concerns veterans deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan (or other smaller/lesser missions during this period). These veterans differ from most other veterans in the sense that they were all professional soldiers (by choice) and had often been sent on a mission several times (Van Middelkoop 2009).

Registration All veterans have been registered in the Veterans Registration System (VRS) since 2007. As a result, it is supposedly easier to contact veterans and inform them about the available facilities. The system includes all veterans known to the Ministry of Defense from the Second World War to today. All the personal and mission data is stored centrally. The information is up-to-date through a link with the Municipal Personal Records Database. An additional advantage is that people no longer have to report changes (such as moving) themselves. Only when moving abroad should this still be reported to the Veterans Institute. The Veterans Institute also has its own registration system in which all veterans with a veteran pass are included. The veteran pass is a sign of appreciation and gives the veterans discounts and other advantages like a free subscription to the magazine Checkpoint.

Policy Since the Second World War, the number of veterans grew. This growing group, however, had to wait until 1990 for specific attention. It took until that year to define a particular veterans’ policy (Elands 2000), after a long time of lobbying by the Indies veterans. Within this policy recognition and appreciation, in addition to care, played a prominent role.


J. Motshagen

The Ministry of Defense acknowledged that as the employer they were responsible for the well-being of the veterans, even for those who have left the military. Research by Motshagen focused on the policy for recognition and appreciation (Motshagen 2010). This policy definitely plays a role in the transition of veterans to society. It influences practical issues like arranging social security or healthcare but also has impact on society and the recognition of veterans. I will discuss this later in this chapter.

Impediments and Facilitating Factors in Transition to Society What are success and risk factors for a good transition of veterans to society? In the research of the Trimbos Institute and the Veterans Institute (2015), a variety of protective factors were investigated. It also determined some risk factors and showed that the number of risk factors could predict possible problems. When a veteran had only two or three risk factors, the research showed the change of developing problems is very low. When a veteran had seven to nine risk factors and no or limited protective factors, he/she belongs to the “high-risk group.” I will discuss the factors and interrelationships below to give a complete overview of the complexity of the problem and directions for possible solutions.

Employment, Housing, and Relationships Three elements are often mentioned in research and articles when discussing the transition to society or when talking about life success in general: the so-called three W’s, Werk, Wonen, Wijf – a job, a house, and a wife. In other words, is the veteran in a stable social situation? Research shows these factors are success factors (Veteraneninstituut 2015). This applies not only to veterans but to every person; the three W’s are widely investigated in the field of criminology and sociology. Having a job means having an income to do what you want. A job often also means having colleagues, a social network. Research of the National Institute for Health and Environment showed that about 2,3% of the veterans have a settlement because of unemployment or incapacity for work (Duel 2015). This means about 2250 Dutch veterans have this risk factor. Having a home means having a stable and safe place to stay. Of course, the quality and location of the home also play a role. Is the veteran happy with where he/she lives? Is there contact with neighbors? Are there shops, public transport, sports facilities, and healthcare? A partner who can provide support is possibly the person to entrust your feelings to. This is a significant factor when it comes to the transition to society. A partner is an important “connector” to society. It makes it easier to (re)connect to the social

5  Netherlands: Veterans’ Transition to Dutch Society


network and to build a stable family. A partner is also a protective factor when it comes to other problems, and he/she can support with seeking help for health issues or finding a job, for example. In conclusion, stable home situation helps with a good transition. At the same time, it is also the result of a good transition. In other words, this is an important goal to achieve when leaving the military. In the Netherlands, the Veterans Institute noticed this too. The Veterans Institute provides information and meetings for those who stay behind (family) to support them and ensure that they can adequately help their loved one after the mission. When a veteran leaves the military, the Institute also offers help to veterans with their transition, by finding a job, for example. They are also working on an online platform to optimize this.

Health Health is also a very relevant risk factor and intimately connected to the history of veterans. As mentioned before, the first policy regarding veterans focused on health issues. Mainly on the visible ones, mental health issues are recognized much later. PTSD is now a common known illness but is still not widely accepted as a serious illness (this applies to all mental health problems). Mental health issues are often dismissed as affectation or something that you simply have to get over. The Dutch government and several foundations (like Stichting Hulphond, care dogs) run campaigns to get more publicity and understanding for mental health issues. About 20% of all veterans suffer from adjustment problems or health problems as a result of a mission at any time (Veteraneninstituut 2007-1). Having energy, being pain-free, sleeping well, and being able to manage your own affairs are all crucial factors to the well-being and transition to society (Veteraneninstituut 2015). In 2015, the National Institute for Health and Environment investigated if veterans commit more suicide than other groups of men (there are not enough female veterans to do valid statistical research) (Duel 2015). The main conclusion of the research is that there is no indication that in the period 2004–2012 more male veterans have died due to suicide in relation to soldiers who are not veterans or a comparable group of working men from the Dutch population. But the challenging occupation comes with a higher risk on health issues. PTSD is quite well-known and gained widespread recognition. Recently another term appears in literature. Veterans are, more than others, at risk of moral injury. In the last decade there has been growing attention for the morally wounded veterans. Despite the fact that these wounds have always been part of war, moral injury is increasingly being recognized as “the signature wound of today’s veterans” (Muller and Kamp 2018). While PTSD is mainly the result of being in a life-­threatening situation, the term moral injury refers to an injury to a person’s moral conscience. The term moral injury is relatively new to Dutch standards. Erwin Kamp, head of humanistic spiritual care within the armed forces, brought this term to the atten-


J. Motshagen

tion of a wider public. With the introduction of his book Moral injury, Kamp has reached out to politicians and advices to be honest and clear about the purpose of a mission. Moral injury is connected with the recognition and appreciation of society and with mental health, but it is a separate factor that needs its own paragraph. Why? Moral injury means the moral compass is damaged or confused. Muller and Kamp state that every human being has moral compass. The compass distinguishes what is good and beautiful, which is bad and ugly (Muller and Kamp 2018). Kamp gave the following example to make the concept clearer: “Imagine that you experience up close that someone is severely abused. That such a thing happens can mean a shock; apparently people are capable of something like that. What can also lead to a struggle is: Why did not I intervene?” It is important to understand that moral injury is not the same as PTSD. Veterans with moral injury don’t have nightmares or other PTSD symptoms, but the struggle with the fact that they can’t separate themselves from what happened and keep asking themselves whether they have done the right thing. People with a moral injury suffer from strong feelings of guilt and shame. Their trust has been violated, in the other or in themselves (Muller and Kamp 2018). Moral injury can occur both during a mission and afterward. This applies to the Srebrenica mission, for example. We remember the images of happy veterans, overjoyed that they could go home after a heavy mission. But soon after their return, they were depicted as cowards, or worse, they would have assisted in genocide. Moral injury can lead to stress and loneliness, which in turn can influence a good transition to society. Increasing awareness of the concept of moral injuries and more care for the effects of these wounds may have a positive effect on the recovery of veterans. It may also be possible to prevent these “inner wounds.” In this context, it is very important that there is political support for a mission. As the initiator of the mission, the government should be honest about missions and support the soldiers/veterans. Also, the earlier-mentioned media attention plays an important role. This can possibly prevent moral injury. When it is there, there is no medicine; talking and listening is vital according to Kamp. Moral injury is a new term, but it is not new. War is connected with guilt and shame. How we deal with it and look at it as a society that does change. Moral injury adds a dimension. It helps us better understand the impact of war and violence on people and gives insight into the intense confrontation with what it means to be human. No matter what (health) problems there are, they can influence the work, home, and partner, important factors discussed above. It can also affect self-confidence, and the opinion of society can also play an important role when a veteran has (visible or invisible) health problems.

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Legacies of Veteran Identity Identity is hard to define. There is the official definition of a veteran, but not every veteran identifies as veteran. Dekker (2004) found out that about 58% of the young veterans identify as veteran. The other 42% does not identify as veteran or does not know. A lot of veterans claim the term veteran is more for older people. Almost 75% of the Dutch veterans are proud to be veterans, more than 60% identifies as veteran, and more than half of the veterans feel connected to other veterans. However, the veteran is not so often active. Of the veterans, 41% are members of a veterans’ association, and 46% sometimes participate in certain activities for veterans, such as reunions (Veteraneninstituut 2017). The old veterans’ category identifies as veteran more often, and they feel more connected with other veterans and also actively express this. They are also more often members of a veterans’ association and also participate more often in activities for veterans (Veterans Institute 2017). A possible explanation for this difference between the young and old veterans is the life situation: younger veterans are busy with their partner, children, and career (Motshagen 2010). When they get older, they are more likely to be involved in veterans’ activities. Whether or not someone identifies themselves as veteran can influence the transition to society. Identification as a veteran can be protective, but it can also be an impediment to good transition. The identity and relationship with the veterans can ensure that the transition to civilian life feels less harsh and definitive. Being a veteran (belonging to this defined group) is a protective factor and ensures that the experiences get a place in the life of the veteran. It is also possible that this identity is so important that it will stand in the way of a “normal” civilian life. The veteran can then have problems with entering new social groups and get isolated. Again, also the opinion of society can play a role; I will discuss this factor later. A factor associated with the identity of the veteran is “comradeship.” This plays a huge role in the military, not only during a mission but also after leaving the military. What is the influence of comradeship on the transition to society? Research by Motshagen showed that about 48% of the veterans think contact with other veterans is very important (Motshagen 2010). A lot of the respondents mentioned that they wanted a system to find their old comrades (Motshagen 2010). With the rise of social media, this will be a lot easier, especially for the younger generations. But still, some people aren’t on social media (maybe the ones who have problems with their transition to society?), so a system would be a good solution for finding (and perhaps helping) each other and fulfilling the desire for contact. This contact can help with the processing of experiences but also with the transition to society because the social group can help you to talk to like-minded people about family, health, and jobs, for example. The transition will be smoother, without completely cutting off the past.


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Recognition and Appreciation The need for recognition and appreciation is perhaps less well-witnessed. According to the American sociologist Abraham Maslow, it is one of the most important basic needs that everyone is born with (Glassman and Hadad 2004). Maslow shows the hierarchy of needs, the more basic needs are in the bottom of the pyramid. The need for recognition and appreciation comes before the top-need (self-development), which means it is an crucial factor that needs to be “fulfilled” to make sure selfdevelopment can occur. On the one hand, people have a need for self-esteem. This is the need for self-­ confidence because of who you are and your success. This also includes the desire for freedom and independence. Also, there is the need for appreciation by others: respect, recognition as a person, the acquisition of a certain status, and a place of their own in the group. Veterans are unique group that obviously also have this need; recognition for the military contribution at the time and the current position as a veteran are essential after a mission (Ardon 2000). Veterans have performed an important and sometimes lifethreatening task to serve their country, and it is, therefore, understandable that they want (consciously or unconsciously) recognition for this specific event in their lives. Experiences during a mission can have a significant impact on the military and their family members. When soldiers return, adjustment problems or psychological problems may arise. When the work of these veterans is recognized, they benefit from this. Recognition and appreciation for the military contribution from society, the government, and the armed forces after a mission is very important for veterans (Ardon 2000). Mouthaan conducted an exploratory study in 2001 to map out what young veterans want. She concluded that there is a particular need for aftercare, for recognition and appreciation, and for meetings with former colleagues and other veterans. Antonisse conducted more extensive research into the wishes and needs of veterans (2002). In terms of recognition and appreciation, these were their most important conclusions: there is a great need for respect from the society and the government (Defense). Appreciation by society for “being a veteran” starts with making the society aware of what a veteran is. For more than half of the veterans, most people in the social group around the veteran know that he or she is a veteran, and the majority also indicates that they react positively if this becomes known (Motshagen 2010). They are, for example, proud or thankful toward the veteran. No veteran indicates that there is only a negative reaction. However, 25% indicates that the reaction is double, so both positive and negative. One can be proud of the person they know but also have negative feelings about the mission or the Ministry of Defense. Veterans indicate that people are often surprised when they find out that they are dealing with a veteran. They weren’t aware of it. Usually, the follow-up reaction is also positive, and people say that “they have done a good job.” But there are also negative reactions, such as people who then ask if they have mental health issues, or reactions like “have you been on vacation there” and “it was your own (stupid) decision to go

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there.” Therefore, some veterans may not want to be labelled as veteran to prevent possible negative stereotyping.

Media Representations The opinion of the Dutch public is mainly formed on the basis of media, which is not always in favor of the veteran, the military missions, and life and work at Defense. Research from Elands and Schoeman (2009) showed that about 75% of the Dutch public has (a lot of) respect and appreciation for the Dutch veterans. Unfortunately, there is a considerable group of veterans that feel less or not at all recognized (Ardon 2000, Antonisse 2002, Mouthaan 2002, in: Hopman, 2002). Research by Motshagen also showed that a minority of the veterans feels appreciated (Motshagen 2010). Besides the veterans’ own feelings about the mission, the satisfaction about the media attention was a significant factor for the veterans. Veterans generally feel more appreciated by their close social group than by the society in general. Research by Van der Mei (1989, in Antonisse 2002) among Dutch-Indies veterans shows that material and immaterial problems are strongly interwoven with the need for recognition. It is conceivable that this also applies to other (young) veterans (they will also have the need for recognition and appreciation that every person has). It will be easier for veterans to talk about their experiences, which helps with closure and the transition to society. Promoting recognition and appreciation for veterans is one of the cornerstones of the Dutch policy. “Veterans have performed their duties under extraordinary and challenging circumstances. Even if they were spiritually and physically unharmed from the war, their involvement often leads to a specific need for idealistic recognition” (Tweede Kamer der Staten Generaal 1989-1990). It is very important that the government generates more attention and awareness for veterans through the media. For both the young and old veterans’ group, satisfaction with media attention turned out to be an important factor influencing perceived recognition and appreciation. When there is more attention, and when this attention is positive, veterans feel more acknowledged and appreciated. This will help veterans with their transition to society.

Looking Back on the Mission About 70% of the veterans have a positive feeling about their mission and time spent in the military (Veteraneninstituut 2017). Research from Scott showed that the degree of social recognition for veterans is related to the usefulness, justification, and success of a particular action as perceived by politics, military personnel,


J. Motshagen

and public opinion (Scott 1993 in: Schoeman, 2000). In this research, the veterans themselves are asked to what extent they regard the mission as successful/meaningful for themselves. It is likely that this will also affect the recognition and appreciation experienced by the veterans. When someone feels he has been meaningful, he or she will probably experience more recognition and appreciation than someone who has more negative feelings about it. Research by Motshagen showed that when there is more favorable (media) attention about veterans and their missions, this has a positive effect on the feelings of appreciation of veterans (Motshagen 2010). This can help them to integrate better into the society, because they don’t have to explain themselves and their history and feel respected.

Conclusions Research to date reports that the transition to society is good for most Dutch veterans. Of the 113.750 Dutch veterans, 75% is doing fine. The other 25% experience some problems during their transition. A good transition to society is dependent on many factors – both risk and successes. Some of them can be influenced (by policy), and others cannot. After the Second World War, the primary focus in Dutch politics was on the (physical) health of veterans. In the last few decades mental health issues and other (external) factor came in the picture. The risk and success factors also influence each other: When there are health problems, this can cause problems with finding a job or relationship problems, for example. When a veteran has a lot of success factors, these factors can work protective and reduce the risk of problems with transitioning to society. It is a complex issue without a single answer. Some factors are commonly accepted as success (or protective) factors, like having a job, social support, and a positive mission experience (positive feelings afterward, no moral injury). But it is not clear which factors have the most influence. Also, some veterans have several risk factors but still integrate into society very well. This unclear image makes it hard to make suitable policy to contribute to the positive development of all veterans.

Recommendations More coherent research, focused on the influencing factors on transition to society, is needed to investigate this further. The factors are now mainly investigated separately from each other or in a small or very specific group of veterans. The Dutch government and the Defense organization recognize the fact that there are problems with the transition to society. By communicating clear and honest and by financing the Veterans Institute, it is provided a central point for veterans to go to

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when they need help or just want to organize something for their group. The Veterans Institute also organizes the Veterans Day (festival in the Hague) every year in June, and this brings the veterans under nationwide attention. Doing research and spreading knowledge is also an important part of the Veterans Institute’s task. The multidisciplinary approach counts as an important success factor and contributed to the fact that most veterans nowadays feel more appreciated and have a successful life in society after their mission(s) (Motshagen 2010). By doing more research in the Netherlands and by sharing experiences with other countries, we will be able to understand the factors better. We then will be able to prevent problems or solve them better and faster.

References Algra, G., & Mouthaan, J. (2003). De pasta verdrijft de rijsttafel. Kenmerken, wensen en behoeften van jonge veteranen. Carré, 4/5, 14–17. Antonisse, M. M. M. (2002). Veteranen en Erkenning. De erkenning die jonge veteranenervaren van maatschappij en krijgsmacht. Den-Helder: Eindstudie Koninklijk Instituut voor de Marine. Ardon, M.  P. (2000). Onbekend maakt onbemind? Onderzoek naar de opvattingen van NieuwGuineaveteranen over maatschappelijke erkenning. Den-Helder: Eindstudie Koninklijk Instituut voor de Marine. van Bemmel, N. (red.) (2009). Task Force Uruzgan. Amsterdam: De Volkskrant & Meulenhoff. van Beveren, E. (2007). In Masterthesis Erasmus Universiteit (Ed.), Held, dader of slachtoffer? De veteraan in de media. Rotterdam. Blauw Research, B.  V. (2009). Beoordeling scholenproject ‘Verhalen van Veteranen. Doorn: Veteraneninstituut. Commissie Maatschappelijke Erkenning Veteranen/Lagendijk. (1991). Veteranen. Een nieuwe dialoog met overheid en samenleving. Den Haag. Bureau Lagendijk. Dekker, O. (2004). (H)Erkenning? Een onderzoek naar de meningen en wensen van jonge veteranen met betrekking tot maatschappelijke erkenning. Breda: Eindstudie Koninklijke Militaire Academie. Duel, J. (2015). Uitgezonden militairen plegen niet vaker zelfmoord. Checkpoint, 11, 36–38. Elands, M. (2000). Oudere veteranen en de roep om maatschappelijke erkenning. Militaire Spectator, 146(5), 219–230. Elands, M. (2005). Veteranenbeleid in vogelvlucht, 1990-2005. Carré, 6, 6–8. Elands, M., & Schoeman, J. R. (2009). Onderzoekswijzer. Inventarisatie onderzoek maatschappelijke erkenning veteranen. Doorn: Veteraneninstituut. Flach, A., & Zijlmans, A. (1998). Verwerkingsproblemen na uitzendingen. Amersfoort: Afdeling Individuele Hulpverlening and Afdeling Gedragswetenschappen. Glassman, W. E., & Hadad, M. (2004). Approaches to psychology. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Godee, J. P. (1986). Kinderen van toen: Een mogelijkheid tot wederzijdse herkenning en erkenning. Icodo-info, 3(3), 28–31. Huls – van Zijl, P. M., & de Reuver, Y. M. (2009). Evaluatie Nederlandse Veteranendag 27 juni 2009. Resultaten van de enquête onder veteranenpashouders. Doorn: Veteraneninstituut/ Kennis- en onderzoekscentrum.


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de Jong, R. C. (2006). Participatiebereidheid van veteranen: leidt doelgerichte communicatie tot hogere participatiebereidheid? Doctoraalscriptie studie Beleid, Communicatie en Organisatie, Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Jongh, S. (2009). Passie voor onze veteranen? Een onderzoek naar de berichtgeving over veteranen in de Nederlandse gedrukte media. Rotterdam: Masterthesis Erasmus Universiteit. Klep, C., & van Gils, R. (1999). Van Korea tot Kosovo. De Nederlandse militaire deelname aan vredesoperaties sinds 1945. Den Haag: Sdu. Maas, M., & Hopman, B. (2000). De betekenis van herdenken. Militaire Spectator, 196(5), 265–274. van Middelkoop, E. (2009). Veteranennota 2009–2010. Den Haag: Minsterie van Defensie. Ministerie van Defensie/DPD/GW. (2009). Publieke Opinie Nederlandse Veteranendag 2009. Den Haag: Ministerie van Defensie/DPD/GW. Motshagen, J. (2010). Veteranen: Ervaren erkenning & waardering. Utrecht: Universiteit Utrecht. Mouthaan, J. (2001). Wat willen jonge veteranen? Exploratie van wensen en behoeften van jonge veteranen. Utrecht: Capaciteitsgroep Psychologie van Arbeid, Gezondheid en Organisatie, Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen, Universiteit Utrecht. Mouthaan, J.  (2002). Wensen en behoeften van jonge veteranen. In: Hopman, B. (red.) Evaluatierapport Terugkomweekend Dutchbat III. Doorn: BNMO-Centrum. Mouthaan, J. (2002-1). Ook jonge veteranen missen erkenning. Checkpoint, 3(2), 12–13. Mouthaan, J.  (2002-2). Wat willen jonge veteranen? Onderzoek naar wensen en behoeften van jonge veteranen. Doorn: Kennis- en Onderzoekscentrum Veteraneninstituut. Müller, J. (2009). Op missie. NRC Boeken. Amsterdam. Muller, D., & Kamp, E. (2018). Moral injury; Verborgen littekens van het innerlijke strijdveld. Delft: Eburon. Remmerswaal, J. (1979). Groepsdynamika I: inleiding. Bloemendaal: H. Nelissen B.V. de Soir, E. (1996). Handleiding voor de emotionele doorverwerking van schokervaringen. Antwerpen: Maklu. Schok, M.  L. (2009). Meaning as a mission: Making sense of war and peacekeeping. Delft: Uitgeverij Eburon. Tweede Kamer der Staten Generaal. (vergaderjaar 1989-1990). Zorg voor veteranen in samenhang. Hoofdlijnen van het veteranenbeleid. Den Haag: Ministerie van Defensie. Valk, G. (2000). Chr. Klep, R. van Gils, Van Korea tot Kosovo. De Nederlandse militaire deelname aan vredesoperaties sinds 1945. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review. 115. 655. Veteraneninstituut. (2007-1). Factsheet 3 – Veteranenzorg. Doorn: Veteraneninstituut. Veteraneninstituut. (2007-2). In Veteraneninstituut (Ed.), Factsheet 4 – Maatschappelijke erkenning. Doorn. Veteraneninstituut. (2007-3). In Veteraneninstituut (Ed.), Factsheet 5 – Veteranen en hun missie. Doorn. Veteraneninstituut. (2008-1). Factsheet 14 – Monumenten. Doorn: Veteraneninstituut. Veteraneninstituut. (2008-2). In Veteraneninstituut (Ed.), Factsheet 16 – Wensen en behoeften van veteranen. Doorn. Veteraneninstituut. (2009a). Factsheet 9 – Nederlandse Veteranendag. Doorn: Veteraneninstituut. Veteraneninstituut. (2009b). Handboek Veteraan. Doorn: Veteraneninstituut. Veteraneninstituut. (2015). Veteraan, hoe gaat het met u? Doorn: Veteraneninstituut. Veteraneninstituut. (2017). Kerngegevens veteranen 2017. Veteraneninstituut: Doorn. de Vocht, A. (2010). Basishandboek SPSS 18 IBM SPSS Statistics. Utrecht: Bijleveld Press.

Chapter 6

Nigeria: Nigerian Veterans: Nationalists or Villains? Taiwo Oluwaseyi Oshigbo and Kehinde Olaoluwatomi Oshigbo

The recruitment and participation of Nigerian soldiers in the First and Second World Wars was an expedition of the Nigerian veterans serving as the major catalyst that led to the behavioural change and a paradigm shift in the ideological and political disposition of their people and nation. This study aims to synthesize international knowledge on the topic of military veteran transitions of individuals from military institutions to civilian life, by depicting the realities of the Nigerian military veterans. To achieve this, the elements of transition supports and the challenges faced by the veterans in terms of their health, social and general welfare are extensively discussed, with the intention of proffering recommendations as to how the health, welfare and social outcomes of the military veterans can be improved. The authors used well-researched and published information as data for a descriptive study to successfully carry this study. Findings reveal that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and HIV/AIDS, among many other hazardous issues, are part of the health challenges faced by Nigerian veterans. Conclusively, it was recommended that veterans be empowered with accessible social, health-care and employability scheme before and after retirement, as this will encourage good ambassadorship of the military service and veterans in general. This discourse looks at the history of Nigeria, historical trend covering the entire pre-independence veterans who were stack illiterates and the post-independence military veterans who were and are well educated. It goes further to look at some veteran’s villain issues, as well as veterans who turn out to be great nationalists. The challenges of veterans encompassing the transition from military to life after service are also discussed, as well as government’s support to improve and develop these veterans.

T. O. Oshigbo · K. O. Oshigbo (*) Department of Transport and Logistics, Esep Le Berger Universite (The Shepherd University), Porto Novo, Benin © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,



T. O. Oshigbo and K. O. Oshigbo

The major aim of this study is to synthesize international knowledge on the topic of military veteran transitions of individuals from military institutions to civilian life by depicting the realities of the Nigerian military veterans. To achieve this, the elements of transition support and the challenges faced by the veterans in terms of their health and social and general welfare are extensively discussed, with the intention of proffering recommendations as to how the health, welfare and social outcomes of the military veterans can be improved. Hence, this paper specifically presents the continuity and difference between strategies, agendas and the realities of what is actually known of the veteran’s experiences, revealing their lives and transitions from ‘military service men’ to unemployed low-income earners and also depicting those who go as far as being business owners and philanthropists. The study also presents the relational factors between veterans and the public, revealing the gap between military and civil life. This study conclusively proffers recommendations as to how the policy practice agenda surrounding the Nigerian military service and its veterans may be developed and how the gap between military and civilian life may be bridged.

Background History of Nigeria The land mass known today as Nigeria existed as a number of independent and sometimes hostile national states with linguistic and cultural differences until the 1900. Corroborating this fact, Sir Arthur Richard comments on the situation of Nigeria before independence in Osuntokun (1979, p.98–99) stating that ‘…there are deep differences between the major tribal groups. They do not speak the same language and they represent different stages of culture’. It can further be said that there were no concrete objective criteria for the nation’s creation except for the administrative and exploitative tendency of the colonial powers. This can be seen in Tafawa Balewa’s statement cited in Osuntokun (1979, p.98–99) when he observed that ‘…Nigeria unity is only British intention for the country’. Corroborating this fact, Adeyemi (2013) posits that ‘it can be inferred that the Nigerian state was founded on a false premise of oneness for the purpose of exploiting her resources’. Hence, Nigeria can be described as a collection of independent native states, separated from one another by distances, traditions and tribal, political, historical, ethnological, racial, social and religious barriers. It can be said that the building of Nigeria as a multi-national state began in the 1900 with the creation of Northern and Southern Protectorates along with the colony of Lagos by the British government. Even then, the Northern and the Southern Administration were separate and distinct. According to Barkan et  al. (2011), Southern Nigeria was a British protectorate in the coastal areas of modern-day Nigeria which was formed in the 1900 by the joining of the Niger Coast Protectorate with territories chartered by the Royal Niger Company below Lokoja on the Niger River. Further effort at unification and integration was made in May 1906 when the colony of Lagos and the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, which had existed ­separately, were amalgamated to become the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria.

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However, the first momentous act of the British in the political evolution of Nigeria as a modern state was the amalgamation of the administration of the two sections of Nigeria on 1 January 1914 by Lord Lugard. Adeyemi (2013) affirms this, stating that the Nigerian state was a product of the 1914 amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates by Lord Lugard. For ease of governing and in the economic interest of the British, indirect rule and separate development policy were maintained in the two sections of the country, with the amalgamated administration based in Lagos. This, in effect, produced two Nigeria, each with different social, political, economic and cultural backgrounds and development within the country. Corroborating this fact, Barkan et al. (2011) posit that in 1914, Southern Nigeria was joined with Northern Nigeria Protectorate to form the single colony of Nigeria, with the unification done for economic reasons rather than political—Northern Nigeria Protectorate had a budget deficit; and the colonial administration sought to use the budget surpluses in Southern Nigeria to offset this deficit. Adeyemi (2013) states that Nigeria comprises of over 250 ethnic groups, while Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are regarded as the major ones. Political parties were formed on regional and ethnic basis. However, according to Siollun (2009), the 1966 Nigerian coup known as coup d’état began on 15 January 1966, when mutinous Nigerian soldiers led by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna killed 22 people. The aim of the coup was to establish a strong, unified and prosperous nation, free from corruption and internal strife. The outcome of the half-hearted and ill-fated coup was a change of political balance in the country. All the politicians and senior military officers killed were from the north and western region including the Prime Minister of Nigeria, many senior politicians, many senior army officers (including their wives) and sentinels on protective duty (Omoigui 2011a, b) except for a political leader and a senior army officer from the mid-west and the east, respectively. Kirk-Greene and Millard (1971) further state that the coup plotters attacked the cities of Kaduna, Ibadan and Lagos while also blockading the Niger and Benue River within a 2-day span of time before the coup plotters were subdued. Hence, the coup hastened the collapse of the first Republic in Nigeria. It can be inferred, however, that from independence to January 1966, the country had been in a serious turmoil; but the coup put her in an even greater situation. Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, at the time the most senior officer of Northern origin and then the Chief of Staff, Nigerian Army, emerged as the new Nigerian political leader. The lack of planning and the revengeful intentions of the second coup of July 28, 1966 manifested itself in the chaos, confusion and the scale of unnecessary killings of the Easterners throughout the country. Siollun (2009) opines that the coup was masterminded by Lt. Colonel Murtala Muhammed. According to Siollun (2009), the July mutiny/countercoup resulted in the murder of Nigeria’s first military Head of State General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and Lt. Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi (who was hosting a visiting Aguiyi-Ironsi) in Ibadan by disgruntled northern non-commissioned officers (NCOs). Troops of Eastern Nigeria origin serving elsewhere in the country were officially and formally released and posted to Enugu, the capital of Eastern Region, while troops of non-Eastern origin in Enugu moved to Kaduna and Lagos. This marked the beginning of division and disunity within the rank and file of the


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Nigerian Armed Forces. With the troops of Eastern Region back in Enugu and the non-Eastern troops withdrawn from there, with Nigerians of non-Eastern origin driven out of the East in their own interest, and with Easterners at home and abroad returning home with news of Nigerian’s brutality against them, and with the oil flowing in the Eastern Region, the way was now open for the implementation of the secession. The East and the North began a virulent of words through their radios and newspapers. After several meetings among the Federal and Regional officials, what amounted to the demise of the Federation was promulgated; unfortunately, the flurry of conciliatory meetings achieved nothing; hence, all efforts to avoid further stalemate and possible Civil War proved abortive.

Historical Trend Pre-independence Veterans (WWI) World War I (WWI), also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war that begun in Europe and lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Williams (2014) states that an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a direct result of the war, and it also contributed to later genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic, which caused between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide. The war led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans. Hence, it is considered one of the largest wars in history. Njung (2014) opines that during the Great War (WWI), West Africans were mobilized and conscripted for military services on an unprecedented scale and that the Europeans relied heavily on conscripted West Africans for the conduct of war in the region. However, military losses were exacerbated by new technological and industrial developments and the tactical stalemate caused by gruelling trench warfare. More so, there was revolution in Russia in February 1917 which replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic and the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government, which ended Russia’s involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive. The offensive was initially successful, but the Allied Powers rallied and drove the Germans back. Matthews’ (1982) account states that by September 1919, when Nigeria’s military recruitment drive ended, 17,000 combatants, 2000 enlisted carriers and some 35,000 non-enlisted carriers had participated in the Southern Cameroons and German East Africa campaigns. According to him, the British recruited thousands of Nigerians for military service along Nigeria’s northern and eastern borders, and for related duties inside the country, these tens-of-thousands of Nigerian veterans

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acted as catalysts of change on their return home, and since Nigerians participated in the war efforts side by side with other Africans and Europeans, their mentality and worldview changed (Matthews 1982). Thus, it is considered that the returned soldiers and carriers were more accelerators of change already underway in the pre-­ war Nigeria than a force for new directions.

Pre-independence Veterans (WWII) World War II (Second World War) is said to be the biggest and deadliest war in history, involving more than 30 countries. According to Gilbert (2001), the war was sparked by the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland; the war dragged on for 6 bloody years until the Allies defeated Nazi Germany and Japan in 1945. Tyler (2009) opines that it was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. Hence, it can be seen that a state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The fierce World War II could be said to be symptoms of the issues of that time with almost same reasons predicated on self-interest through trade-wars and territorial control, forming the nitty-gritty of disputes. The war was however considered the worst and deadliest conflict in human history, which was marked by 50–85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, genocides, holocaust, strategic bombings, premeditated death from starvation and disease and the only use of nuclear weapons in war (Sommerville 2008). According to Walker and Owen (2009), a WWII veteran Yakubu Foron also known as Tsok Dakwa states that they were all the same in the forest; bullets do not know who is white or black but only knows the enemy. According to him, they slept at the same place except for the officers, ate the same food and were sent into the thick forest with dangerous snakes and other wild animals. Another WWII veteran by the name Mohammed Farlomi explained that each one of them was made to bear the name of their town as a form of easy identification to be able to reach their families in case of death or abandonment, a policy that was questioned for its lack of reliability. For instance, ‘if Isa Maiduguri runs away from the army, who will they arrest?’ he asks, adding that he used the name Farlomi, now Chad, because it was then part of Kanem-Bornu Empire of Nigeria, from where he hails (Walker and Owen 2009). In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned towards Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945, the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in South Central China and Burma where the African soldiers were used to prosecute the war, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands. The war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies. Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery and expansion. Political integration, especially in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity (Herman 2012).


T. O. Oshigbo and K. O. Oshigbo

According to Walker and Owen (2009), the Nigerian war veterans gladly fought for her colonial masters as a sign of loyalty and prestige, aside from other pecuniary interests such as career path, job and the monetary value attached to it. Nevertheless, their participation at both wars shows the fearlessness of some little-known soldiers in the pre-independence era of Nigeria. Walker and Owen (2009) further state that the preponderance of the recruited was from Northern Nigeria, trained in Zaria, Kaduna (north-western region of Nigeria) and finally in Lagos before they were moved to Gold Coast (now Ghana) to join the other West African forces. A total of 90,000 soldiers formed the Royal West African Frontier Force of the British Empire to prosecute the WWII in Southeast Asia after 1943, where the Nigerian soldiers were more than half (about 45,000) in number (Walker and Owen 2009). They equally fought against the Germans in France and some other battles in Chad, Congo and the likes. Hence, it can be deduced that the unfortunate course of history demotivated the unsung heroes of the nation by their non-recognition after the war and other unfulfilled promises via unpaid pensions, beggarly pay and welfare package like no insurance and lack of decent accommodation reminiscence of pre-­ independence era.

Post-independence Veterans The Nigerian military is acknowledged to be among the strongest in the entire African continent. It has had series of missions across the world especially in Africa, all in a bid to stabilize the polity. Some of the notable missions were the restoration of peace in the war-torn countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo-Brazzaville among many others. The problems of the present-day soldiers regarding post-independence military can be seen in the light of ethnicity, nepotism, corruption, poor and delayed wages (pension), inadequate or outright lack of ammunitions and other important war arsenals, inclusive of welfare among many others. This situation according to Siollun (2009) came up shortly after the first military coup d’état in Nigeria on 15 January 1966, which later led to the emergence of Major Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi who repelled the coup. But unfortunately, the way and manner Major Kaduna summarily executed the democratic leadership especially the wiping out of a generation of northern leaders and allies like the Prime Minister AbubakarTafawa Balewa, Saudana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of the Western Region Samuel Akintola and the finance minister Festus Okotie-Eboh among others because of perceived or real marginalization, and corruption is not only unjustifiable but condemnable. This has however set the tone for ethnicity and clannishness in the nation’s polity and military. A whole lot of issues were not properly managed among other associated injustices and social inequalities in the system. This eventually led to a dastardly orchestrated Civil War in which the secessionist region of Biafra led

6  Nigeria: Nigerian Veterans: Nationalists or Villains?


by Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu became the centre point of bloodshed. It can be deduced however that the first coup d’état led to the military incursion into politics and the suppression of Federal constitution in favour of a unitary system which favoured and suited the military modus operandi and also to maintain hierarchical discipline and loyalty. The military ruled the country from 1966 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1998 under Irosi, Gowon, Murtala/Obasanjo, General Mohammad Buhari and General G. Babangida with Chief Ernest Shonekan ruling for few months and then General Sanni Abacha and finally General Abdulsalami Abubakar who handed power to a civilian regime in 1998.

Veterans as Nationalists Military veterans are no doubt nationalists, seeing how they loyally and constantly sacrificed their lives for the unity and peace of their nation. This is why a day is set aside by all countries of the world to remember, celebrate and at the same time mourn the fallen heroes who in their bid to save their nation meet their end. The Armed Forces Day used to be commemorated on November 11 together with the Poppy Day (Remembrance Day) to honour the World War II veterans in the Commonwealth of Nations. But the Federal government of Nigeria changed it to January 15 because of its historical significance to the Nigerian state in general and the military in particular. The government and people of Nigeria observed the Armed Forces Remembrance Day in honour of the men and women who fought for Nigeria’s unity. The date not only marks the day when Biafra Civil War (1967–1970) officially ended but also significant is the first military coup toppling the First Republic. Hence, these fallen veterans are regarded as nationalists and deserve to be honoured.

Veterans in Transition: Life After Military Service The Nigerian Army Resettlement Scheme/Centre As regards the subject of veteran transitioning from the military to life after service, the Federal government has put in place various training programmes for discharged military men and women at the Oshodi Centre in order to prepare retired military personnel for the future outside the military. Hence, veterans are exposed to management, security, safety and information technology training to prepare them to life after retirement. This is seen in the lives of veterans who got into politics, business, etc. after years in the military.


T. O. Oshigbo and K. O. Oshigbo

Veterans in Politics The active participation of ex-servicemen and women in Nigerian politics seems to be encouraging. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a retired military General and former Head of State, led the country in a civilian rule. As such, the emergence of a successful democratic transition from military rule can be considered a watershed in the annals of her political trajectory. During the said 1999 transition from military to civilian rule, the political landscape housed various veterans. Uzodimma (2015) asserts that veterans’ foray into politics is not limited to the national terrain of elective offices alone; a handful of them participated at the state level. The late Mohammed Lawal who was both the former military and civilian governor of Ogun and Kwara States was the flag bearer of ANPP (All Nigeria Peoples Party) in Kwara State again in 2003. The late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a PDP (People’s Democratic Party) flag bearer, was an Air Force officer before he became the governor of Bayelsa State. In Anambra, Robert Akonobi, was a retired Colonel, and former military governor, while Tunde Akogun, a retired Colonel, was initially in the race to be the Edo State governor but later became a member of the House of Representatives. Enugu State in Eastern Nigeria had over eight veterans who contested among one another in the quest to become a governor. Anthony Onyearugbulem, a former military governor of Ondo and Edo States, was gunning for the top job of his state unfortunately; he was involved in an auto accident that claimed his life (Ajibola 1995).

Veterans in Business and Philanthropy Many retired military personnel in Nigeria, over the years, have charted various career paths and have been massively successful. Obi (2013) cited in Lamidi and Mohd (2016) opines that a lot of veterans are involved in various businesses, spreading across oil and gas, mechanized agriculture, poultry and educational services. Chandra (2014) cited in Lamidi and Mohd posits that the retired military personnel are involved in different businesses world over, directly or indirectly, generating employment and contributing to national development, and thrive through discipline acquired in the course of their military career (Smaliukiene (2013), for instance, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military head of state (1978–1979) and a former president (1999–2007), who is today a farmer and a businessman and owns huge farms (Ota farm, Ogun state) and a proprietor of BELLS schools (at both secondary and university levels), and General T. Y. Danjuma GCON (Rtd), who had a 19 years of illustrious military career. He is today involved in oil exploration and production; and General Babangida who ruled between 1985 and 1993 is believed to own 65% of Fruitex International London Limited and 24% shares in Globacom, Nigeria’s leading telecommunication company. This shows that many retired military personnel can arguably be successful; though, many others are still jobless.

6  Nigeria: Nigerian Veterans: Nationalists or Villains?


Life as Civilians It is observed that the major challenge military veterans face in Nigeria is basically adjusting to civilian life. For instance, the rank and file are seen as ‘used and dump’ and are at best employable mostly as security officers; otherwise, they are seen as threat to the organization or community because of their bullying and less subservient character, a development not so common with the top-ranking officers because they are mostly self-employed. Unemployment is considered one of the problems ex-military personnel face because the major reason for this is the difficulty employers have with understanding how military experience can be translated to civilian employment.

Challenges of Veterans in Transition Health Issues It is common to see veterans ostracized and literally abandoned to starve to death based on some conditions they may not have absolute control over. Some have become psychopathic killers or murderers as they were not properly treated before being released to the public. Studies have discovered that a whole lot of them suffer from STDs such as HIV and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while some battle with amputation or worse state which has made life a hell to live in. POW experience was not associated with signs of physical or nervous disease alone but was associated with an increased risk of co-morbid physical and nervous disease. Being wounded was associated with an increased risk of nervous disease alone, a decreased risk of physical disease and signs of co-morbid physical and nervous disease. According to Yeager (1996), military personnel have been reported to be among the most susceptible populations to HIV.  Conforming to this assertion, Adebajo et al. (2002, p.4) state: ‘it is commonly understood that military personnel are generally young, sexually active people imbued with feelings of invincibility and a greater inclination toward high-risk behaviour compared with the general public; by virtue of the nature of their work, which involves a large degree of mobility and long periods of staying away from their families, they engage in high-risk sexual behaviours that expose them to STDs and HIV/AIDS’. UNAIDS/DPKO (1998) cited in Adebajo et al. (2002, p.4) further asserts that there is strong evidence to show that military personnel are a population group at special risk of exposure to STDs, including HIV. In peace time, STD rates among the Armed Forces are generally two to five times higher than in the civilian population, and in times of conflict, the difference can be as high as 50 times and more (UNAIDS/DPKO, 1998 cited in Adebajo et al. 2002).


T. O. Oshigbo and K. O. Oshigbo

Table 6.1  Percentage knowing that HIV/AIDS is deadly % Know AIDS is fatal Yes Total How often it is thought that persons with AIDS die from the disease Never Sometimes Always Don’t know Total

96.1 1537 1.6 13.8 61.3 23.3 1521

Source: Adebajo et al. (2002)

Studies conducted by Adebajo et al. (2002) reveal that some of the factors that could have increased this disease in military personnel include the fact that military personnel: • Are single (nearly one-third of the men and 40% of the women) • Spend long periods away from their homes and partners, particularly when they go on peace-keeping missions • Have poor knowledge of STDs/HIV • Have low-risk perception and attitude towards HIV This can be seen in the table below showing the percentage of military personnel who has the knowledge that HIV/AIDS is deadly as revealed by Adebajo et  al. (2002) (Table 6.1). The table above reveals that the general level of men’s and women’s knowledge of STDs was low with regard to STD symptoms in men (with only about 50 per cent able to correctly identify two symptoms). Men’s knowledge of STD symptoms in women was even lower. With this analysis, it can be deduced that veterans are faced with the health challenge of STDs such as HIV/AIDS and still battles this illness even after retirement, since the disease is one said to have no cure. Another study that depicts that lots of veterans suffer severe health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder is that of Okulate and Jones (2006). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may develop after exposure to a terrifying event/ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened (Okulate and Jones 2006). In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSMIV), cited in Okulate and Jones (2006), PTSD is described as a syndrome that follows exposure to a stressor that would evoke significant symptoms of distress in almost everyone. Traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include personal assaults such as rape or mugging, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents and military combat.

6  Nigeria: Nigerian Veterans: Nationalists or Villains?


Okulate and Jones (2006) describe PTSD symptoms to include: • Persistent re-experience of the trauma (e.g. intrusive recollections) • Avoidance of trauma-associated stimuli • Hyperarousal (e.g. hypervigilance and anger) Okulate and Jones (2006) studies investigated the psychological sequel of PTSD among Nigerian veterans evacuated back home for medical reasons. The study took place at the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria, a 350-bed general hospital serving as the base hospital for casualties from Liberia and Sierra Leone. The hospital has a psychiatric unit with inpatient, outpatient and consultation-­ liaison services. Respondents were mainly patients in surgery, medicine and psychiatry units, but among were Nigerian military personnel engaged in battle in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Psychotic patients and those with intellectually incapacitating disorders were excluded. The soldier-patients were quite youthful—409 (46.58%) were under 30  years of age, 212 (24.14%) were aged 30–40 and 257 (29.27%) were over 40. The majority (N = 598, 68.1%) were married, 265 (30.2%) were single and 15 (1.7%) were separated or divorced. Only two were female. Out of the 1131 patients who completed the questionnaires, 878 (77.6%) responded to the question about having had a terrifying or near-death experience and to the questions assessing the presence of PTSD, and 194 (22.09%) met the criteria for current PTSD. Findings from this study reveal that of a 22% prevalence rate, PTSD was quite common among Nigerian soldiers exposed to combat in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Stein (1997) opines that though it is well known that whereas the PTSD rates for the general population may range between 1.2% and 2.7%, the rates for those who have been exposed to combat range between 22% and 39%.2. The rates are however usually higher for those physically wounded in battle (Buydens-Branchey et al. 1990). According to Okulate and Jones (2006), the reason for the very high rate of survivor guilt may be related to the intra-group identification and cohesiveness that usually develops in combat-effective military units after several years of training together. Okulate and Jones (2006) assert that unfortunately, loss of men resulting from death or injury in battle is inevitable while for those who survive, witnessing the death of comrades is additional psychosocial stressor to the combat situation itself. In Okulate and Jones (2006) study, the factors shown to be most closely associated with PTSD were witnessing the death of comrades, long duration of exposure to battle and cannabis use, which are some of the well-described core features of PTSD. The study further reveals that the presence of PTSD was related to cannabis use. Jones (1979) described a depressive syndrome called the ‘Old Sergeant’s syndrome’, said to result from sustained combat in which many comrades died. It can hence be inferred that due to these health issues and many other hazardous challenges faced by Nigerian veterans, the mortality rate and life expectancy of veterans are seen to be quite low.


T. O. Oshigbo and K. O. Oshigbo

Pension’s Scheme The pension’s scheme is replete with complaints as most ex-servicemen and women are made to go through the rigour of periodic verification and horrendous queues. But the government will continue to deny the obvious that the lives of these veterans are grossly politicized coupled with endless queues during pension verification exercises. Such impudence without repercussions can only be adduced to how humanity has been silenced. However, the launch of a new pension scheme saw many stakeholders pouring encomia on the Buhari-led administration for the introduction of a modern pay system scheme in Abuja. Initially, most veterans were moved with the euphoria resonating from it, but months later the same shambolic procedure crept in. The hope that such system would expedite action on their welfare and other benefits seems elusive.

Security Challenges It is imperative that a clear identification of security challenges is done, that is, a new defence and security policy and structure needs to be addressed. According to Guy (2013), the major security challenge bearing the brunt of the nation’s security is notably the Boko Haram insurgency. However, the Nigerian military veterans are said to be ready to fight against the insurgency if given the chance. Thus, their services would be totally immeasurable, given the fact that insurgency vis-a-vis Islamic jingoist in the north and militancy in the south has become the order of the day: Boko Haram insurgents in the north-west, the Fulani herds killings in some parts of the north, the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) militants in the east, the militants in the south and, recently, the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria activists who in October 2018 marched to Abuja to protest the arrest of their leader Ibrahim El’Zakzaky. The groups of around 1000 citizens blocked off traffic and were met with heavily-armed military personnel. Several protestors began throwing rocks at soldiers who responded by firing into the crowd of fleeing protestors, shooting and killing between 20-40 people and wounding 100 more. More lives is also in constant threat in Jos and Benue as Fulani herdsmen are reported to constantly kill the indigenes of these places, just as it is also seen in the southern region of Kaduna. The veterans fought the Civil War significantly even though they were under-­ resourced. Olusegun (1980) conforming to this fact, reveals the lack of any stocks of extra equipment for mobilisation, and the haphazard and unreliable system of procurement and provisioning which lasted for the entire period of the war. This shows how insecure the veterans were even in their fights for their nation. More so, since 2015 the Nigerian Army has embarked on a massive rearmament and modernization programme, taking the Army into the twenty-first Century battlefield with modern weapons, better training and a new doctrine centred on information gathering, mobility and firepower.

6  Nigeria: Nigerian Veterans: Nationalists or Villains?


It can be seen however, that despite these, security is yet a thing to be achieved, hence it can be seen that security challenge in Nigeria is one that needs to be severely looked into. Perhaps this challenge can be taken care of if the expertise of the veterans is being employed alongside the recent and sophisticated equipment employed.

Corruption as Bane for Veterans Travails Despite the pervading insecurity challenges in the country and their ruinous reign predicated on massive corruption and the highest level of impunity, they still show lack of empathy to the course and pitiable plights of the veterans. Some of the officers at the topmost hierarchy of the military have shown little empathy as they are more concerned with their gains before retirement than welfare, security, and safety of the veterans. This has enshrined in the system massive corruption, hydra-headed nepotism, and clannishness in which bigotry has reached an unprecedented magnitude. The latest purge from the military echelons would appear that they are gradually realizing that military transforming to veterans is only a matter of time and space. This sort of attitude spares neither the serving officers nor the veterans themselves.

Conclusion Conclusively, the whole course of history especially as it relates to Nigeria active participation at different theatres of war leave not much to be desired, as cognate efforts are nowhere from the leadership to tell their forefather’s story from an African and Nigerian perspective to the next generation of leaders via oral and written accounts, it is recommended however, that such teachings be made compulsory in the educational curriculum of the nation. Beyond the riveting plots, veterans are meant to impact and mentor the young aspirants and society at large, teach them the virtues of patriotism, nationalism, forgiveness, endurance, and so on. It is further recommended that drastic improvement should be made in leadership oversight, administration and accountability across all military service sectors in order to have more veteran nationalists. It is desirable for Britain to go the route of France who after 100 years, remarkably and commendably acknowledged the role African Soldiers played in the WW1 by unveiling statues depicting Africans fighting alongside French troops thereby putting an end to the century long black-out of African Veterans in European history. It is also imperative to bridge the gap between military and the society, thereby closing the civil–military gap; it is imperative that all veterans be empowered as Ambassadors charged to routinely engage with their civilian counterparts on a local level and also be empowered with accessible better social, health-care and employability scheme before and after retirement, so as to be good Ambassadors of the military, and veterans whose lives are lived through acts and attitudes that will foster and ensure peace, tranquility, love and unity for their nation and the world.


T. O. Oshigbo and K. O. Oshigbo

References Adebajo, S. B., Mafeni, J., Moreland, S., & Murray, N. (2002). Knowledge, attitudes, and sexual behaviour among the Nigerian Military concerning HIV/AIDS and STDs. Armed Forces Programme on AIDS Control (AFPAC). No. HRN-C-00-00-00006-00. Final technical report. Adeyemi, O.  O. (2013). The politics of states and local governments creation in Nigeria: An appraisal. European Journal of Sustainable Development, 2(3), 155–174. https://doi. org/10.14207/ejsd.2013.v2n3p155. Ajibola, W. A. (1995). The political way of nation building. Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies, Xi, 2–5. Barkan, J.  D., Gboyega, A., & Stevens, M. (2011). State and local governance in Nigeria. In Public sector and capacity building program: Africa region World Bank. 2002. Washington, DC: WorldBank. Buydens-Branchey, L., Noumair, D., & Branchey, M. (1990). Duration and intensity of combat exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder in Vietnam veterans. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Guy, M. (2013). Nigerian Armed Forces. nigerian-armed-forces/ Accessed 15 Feb 2018. Herman V. R. (2012). President of the European Council; José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission. From War to Peace: A European Tale. Nobel Lecture by the European Union. Jones, F. D. (1979). Combat psychiatry in modern warfare. Proceedings of the World Psychiatric Association, Section of Military Psychiatry International congress Meeting, Lagos, Nigeria, September. Kirk-Greene, A. H. M. (1971). Crisis and conflict in Nigeria: A documentary sourcebook. 2 vols. The SHAFR Guide Online. Lamidi, Y., & Mohd, S.  M. (2016). Entrepreneurial training and career path of retired military personnel as entrepreneurs in Nigeria. In: International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR). ISSN 2307-4531. Applied. Accessed 15 Nov 2018. Mathews, J.  K. (1982). World War I and the Rise of African Nationalism: Nigerian Veterans as Catalysts of Change The Journal of Modern African Studies. 20, 3 pp.  493. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://www. Accessed 9 Nov 2018. Njung, G. (2014). West Africa. In International encyclopaedia of the first world war. https:// Accessed 10 Nov 2018. Okulate, G. T., & Jones, O. B. E. (2006). Post-traumatic stress disorder, survivor guilt and substance use - a study of hospitalised Nigerian army veterans. South African Journal of Psychiatry, 12(1), 4. Olunsegun, O. (1980). My command: An account of the Nigerian Civil War (p.  61). Ibadan/ London/Nairobi: Heinemann. Omoigui, N. (2011a) Special branch report: Military Rebellion of 15th January 1966. Accessed 26 Jan 2017. Omoigui, N. (2011b). Gowon’s Broadcast to the Nation- May 27, 1967. ( gowon.htm). Accessed 28 Sept 2018. Osuntokun, J. (1979). The historical background of Nigeria federalism. In A. B. Akinyemi, P. D. Cole, & I. O. Walter (Eds.), Reading on federalism. Lagos: Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. Siollun, M. (2009). Oil, politics and violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing. p. 237. ISBN 9780875867106.

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Smaliukienė, R. (2013). Entrepreneurship opportunities after military career: Practice in Central and Eastern versus Western Europe. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 1(4), 97–108. Sommerville, D. (2008). The complete illustrated history of the world war two: An authoritative account of the deadliest conflict in human history with analysis of decisive encounters and landmark engagements. New York: Lorenzo Books. (p. 5). ISBN13: 9780754818984. Stein, M. B., Walker, J. R., Hazen, A. L., & Forde, D. R. (1997). Full and partial posttraumatic stress disorder: Findings from a community survey. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154(8), 1114–1119. Tyner, J.  A. (2009, 3 March). War, violence, and population: Making the body count (1st ed., p. 49). The Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1-6062-3038-1. Uzodimma, C. (2015). From military rule to civil rule: A political economy of gerontocratic metamorphosis in Nigeria. Journal of International Affairs and Global Strategy. No. 22, p.  47. ISSN2224-574X, 2224–8951. view/26970. Accessed 21 March 2018. Walker, R. F., & Owen, O. (2009). Africa’s Forgotten Wartime Heroes. africa/8201717.stm. Accessed 20 March 2018. Williams, R. (2014). Dual threat: The Spanish influenza and World War I. University of Tennessee Thesis: Trace: Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange. pp. 4–10. Yeager, R. (1996). Military HIV/AIDS policy on Eastern and Southern Africa: A seven-country comparison. Occasional Paper Series No. 1. Civil Military Alliance to Combat HIV/AIDS.

Chapter 7

United Kingdom: The Violent Military Veteran Offender in the Criminal Justice System: Desisting from Crime or Desisting from Military Experience? Justin Moorhead

Whilst the Ministry of Defence (MoD) continues to report that UK veterans’ employment rates, mental health, housing and criminal justice sector engagement are largely in line with the rest of the UK population, sustained public anxiety that military service is harmful has positioned the ‘veterans’ question’ firmly within the UK’s political domain. This chapter begins by prefacing this qualitative study with the current position of the serving Armed Forces and subsequent veteran population estimates in the United Kingdom. A brief overview of the political context from which the discourses around the veteran population have been shaped in the UK context is then provided. The chapter then moves on to outline the adoption of the desistance framework to provide a theoretical framework through which the highlight are the flaws in the UK’s apparent preoccupation of pathologising individual veterans. This critique is based on the presentation of primary interview data from 22 veterans enmeshed within the UK criminal justice system. This chapter asserts that continuing to approach the veteran population from a risk-based, politically motivated position minimises any critique of state decision making and responsibility and any consideration of broader experiences of military service. The author affirms that this currently predominate narrative is a result of limited criminological and victimological qualitative insight with which to counterbalance this quantitatively orientated psychological approach to the veteran community in the United Kingdom.

J. Moorhead (*) Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,



J. Moorhead

The Policy Context As of April 2018, the total number of those serving in the UK Armed Forces is 194,140 (Ministry of Defence 2018a). Of those serving, 15,270 were women, representing 10.4% of the overall Armed Forces, and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation stood at 7.6% (Ministry of Defence 2018b). Each year, approximately 15,000 people leave the Armed Forces, becoming redefined vicariously as ‘service leavers’, ‘ex-forces’ or ‘military veterans’ (Ministry of Defence 2018c). Currently in the United Kingdom, veterans are categorised as anyone who has served at least 1 day in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces  – as either a regular or a reservist (Ministry of Defence 2018d). In 2016, it was estimated that around 2.5 million UK Armed Forces veterans were living in households in Great Britain (House of Lords Library Briefing 2018). In 1995, the UK Government began to respond to the health issues of veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, the 2001 NATO operations and 2003 invasion of Iraq (Garfield 2012). In 2011, the UK Armed Forces Covenant was enshrined in law, underpinned by the precedent that veterans should not face disadvantage because of their service history (Ministry of Defence 2011), and regional community covenant group structures were set up across the country. Running parallel to this is the ongoing restructuring of the way the UK Armed Forces are organised via the Strategic Defence and Security Review (2010), which outlines the UK’s defence strategy (to modernise and rationalise) and the Future Reserves 2020 programme. This has resulted in a significant number of military personnel being offered voluntary redundancy  – swelling the numbers of veterans in the United Kingdom (Brooke-Holland and Thurley 2014). Further policy drivers included research findings suggesting that the most common problems experienced on leaving service were alcohol disorders, depression and adjustment disorders in that order of prevalence (Murphy et  al. 2008; Iverson et al. 2009; Verrall 2011; Aguirre et al. 2013). Of the subsequent variety of further issues identified, veterans’ resistance to engaging in help-seeking behaviours was highlighted (Gould et al. 2010; Greenberg et al. 2003; Iverson et al. 2011; Ministry of Justice 2012; NHS England 2015). Further, it has been estimated that poor transition from military service cost the UK taxpayer £98 million in 2015 alone (Forces in Mind Trust 2013, p 7). In response, the Ministry of Defence, in partnership with a private official provider, set up a Career Transition Partnership to provide resettlement support to those about to leave the British Armed Forces. Members of the Armed Forces community were identified in the UK’s National Health Service constitution, as being entitled to accessing health professionals who have an understanding of Armed Forces culture (NHS Constitution 2015; Phillips 2014). Further, the numbers of third sector agencies delivering support to veterans had increased to over 2000 by 2010 (HLPR 2011; James and Woods 2010). By 2017, the government appointed a ministerial role responsible for the Armed Forces community, entitled ‘The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Veterans, Reserves and Personnel’ (Ministry of Defence 2018e). Therefore, it would seem, despite protestations to the contrary, that the UK Government have over the last decade or so made substantial policy advances in response to negative transitional outcomes for the veteran community.

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Representation(s) of the Veteran Despite having just outlined the UK’s response to the emergence of the contemporary veteran, having faced ‘new wars’ (Kalder 1999), ‘post-national wars’ (Beck 2005), ‘network wars’ (Duffield 2005) or ‘asymmetric warfare’ (Thornton 2007), the common public perceptions of ‘the veteran’ remain stubbornly attached to imaginings of ex-military personnel who served in the World War I or II (Dandeker et al. 2006). Such imagery can be seen to be replayed (and reinforced) with extensive media coverage observing uniformed veterans processing as part of Remembrance Sunday or Armed Forces Day. Here, military personnel, past, present and future, are recognised for both service and sacrifice made on behalf of the state and the general public (Murray, 2016). Such ceremonies and memorials can act to reinforce a particular representation of the veteran: depictions of ‘heroes’ (or ‘victims’) deserving of acknowledgement, recognition and celebration in respect of their selfless service, bravery and willingness to risk their lives in service (McCartney 2011), the representation of a group deserving of adulation, respect and support beyond military life, as veterans within the civilian world. Despite this, and whilst is it well averred that transition from military to civilian life represents a smooth journey for the majority who make it, there remains a sizeable minority of veterans who experience some problems. Securing suitable employment, homelessness, mental health issues and substance misuse have all been identified as problems or barriers for some veterans (Cooper et al. 2016; James and Woods 2010). Furthermore, a smaller, yet not unsubstantial, group goes on to enter the criminal justice system (CJS) following the commission of crime. This group can be seen to present a discordant set of characteristics, which can see the ‘hero’ status of the ‘veteran’ jar with the ‘villain’ status of the ‘offender’. These two, disparate identities problematise the perception of the brave and celebrated soldier and veteran identity, by pitching it against the negative and stigmatised connotations commonly associated with the ‘offender’ (McCartney 2011; Murray 2013). Equally, it can present complications within the effective governance of such a population, something which Emma Murray’s concept of ‘veteranality’ seeks to unpack (see Murray 2013, 2015, 2016).

The Veteran in the CJS In the United Kingdom at least, the overwhelming representation of veterans’ criminality has propelled this population into the political, criminological and criminal justice spotlight. This is, in part, following a report in 2008, by the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO), claiming that 20,000 ex-service personnel were caught up in the CJS. Other, more conservative estimates exist, placing this population at around 3.5% and of the prison and 3.4% of the probation population (DASA 2010, 2011). However, despite such a disparity, there can be seen to have been increased attention around this population, their risks, needs and journeys through the CJS.


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Early knowledge gathered around this population has been articulated as politically and psychologically oriented (Murray 2016). The political ‘voices’ (ibid) are proffered through the formal state arms represented by the Ministry of Defence (e.g. DASA 2010) and Ministry of Justice (e.g. Lyne and Packham 2014) as well as charities and lobbyists such as the Howard League for Penal Reform (HLPR 2011) and the Royal British Legion (RBL 2011) to name but a few. These voices can be seen to have shaped the discourses around the veteran population within the political and media spheres, allowing a general construction of the veteran offender to be developed within a domestic (civilian) framework. As such, this minimises any critique around state decision making and responsibility (e.g. around involvement in conflict) and broader experiences of military service in general (Murray 2016; Treadwell 2016). The accompanying ‘psychological voices’ are perceived to represent the current ‘intellectual voice’ which seeks to both inform and reinforce the political voice and place the experiences of the criminal veteran into domains associated with mental health and welfare (see McGarry and Walklate 2011). This then allows the establishment of further discourses to be developed around the needs of the veteran offender as pathologically linked and which can be seen to connect the criminality of the veteran to individual deviancy or the personal failings of the soldier in one way or another (Murray 2016). Indeed, concerns have been raised that, albeit with some notable exceptions (e.g. Murray 2013; McGarry and Walklate 2016; Walklate and McGarry 2015) limited criminological, (and victimological) qualitative insight currently exists, as a counterbalance to the quantitatively orientated psychological approach. As such, a call for veterans’ voices to be heard and to narrate their own experiences has been made regarding the veteran offending population (Murray 2016; Treadwell 2016).

The Violent Veteran It is at this coalface that the current chapter positions itself. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 22 veterans within the CJS. All participants were convicted of a broad range of violent offences in which alcohol was determined as a criminogenic risk factor by CJS staff charged with their supervision. This is as violence represents the most common offence type committed by veterans in the UK CJS, something that is not true of the general offending populace (Phillips 2014). Equally, alcohol represents a commonly identified risk factor associated with violence amongst the general population (Lipsey et al. 1997). Furthermore, within a military context, alcohol has been identified as an ‘occupational hazard’, the most common mental disorder in the UK military and linked to the commission of higher levels of harm as well as dependence when compared to that of the general population (Henderson et al. 2009; Iversen et al. 2009; Aguirre et al. 2013; Thandi et al. 2015). Typically, these semi-structured interviews lasted between 45  minutes and 1.5 hours. Discussions took place incorporating a broad range of life experiences,

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interrogating key themes including violence and alcohol use as well as experiences of military life and the CJS. However, as with all populations, there remains significant variation of experiences of ex-military personnel, prior to, during and beyond the military walls (HLPR 2011). Therefore, the importance of applying a life course examination, sympathetic to the individuality of each participant, was deemed vital. Such an approach allowed the incorporation of any other subject matter that was deemed appropriate.

Using a Desistance Framework Key aspects to gleaning a more nuanced and enhanced understanding around ex-­ service personnel and their criminality are deemed important at this stage. This is particularly necessary regarding the identification and analysis of crime-related risk and need factors regarding those veterans within the CJS. Indeed, such an approach represents a fundamental aspect of CJS practice in England and Wales, alongside the effective management of those risk factors. However, McNeill (2012) expresses concern around the preoccupation associated with such a focus. By exclusively exploring such risk factors, attention can wane from the processes and dynamics associated with change, which such approaches seek to support. Indeed, desistance seeks to emphasise the change process, alongside retaining mechanisms and understandings of risk assessment and management concerns, yet stresses they are merely components of this wider process of change (ibid). As such, the research sought to explore two nuanced areas of focus. Initially, attention was to consider how these areas contributed to a subjective understanding of offending behaviour for veterans. Attention then shifted towards investigating how these factors, in combination with others, have acted towards informing the desistance process or presented as barriers to abstaining from crime, post-transition to civilian life. Despite an ever-broadening literature and research base, there remains no agreed definition of desistance (Shapland and Bottoms 2017). Whilst there exists a range of influential and well-documented studies outlining key predictors associated with desistance from crime, there is limited space available here to explore them (for reviews of desistance literature, see ibid; Kazemian 2016; Farrell and Calverley 2006; McNeill and Weaver 2010). As such, the focus of the chapter will specifically consider the relationship between identity transformation and desistance. The importance of identity transformation within the desistance literature has been particularly prominent (Kazemian 2016). Maruna (2001, p.7) outlines that desistance from crime necessitates that the ex-offender develops a coherent and ‘prosocial’ identity. Such an identity requires the individual to accept and adhere to socially accepted rules and expectations as well as accounting for and understanding their criminal pasts. In this sense, desistance offers a framework with which to understand the individual journey through the construction of a life narrative. It


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provides individuals with the opportunity to understand their own identity and contributing factors that have led to their offending as well as offering an opportunity to interrogate these factors, with a view to shape and establish future intentions or changes. Equally, it provides the opportunity to craft and carve out a future pathway to crime-free living and the development of a prosocial identity (Maruna 2001; King 2013). A further and important consideration in the process of exploring the current research within the desistance framework requires reference to the demarcation between ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ desistance (Maruna 2001). Primary desistance has traditionally been perceived as the initial ceasing of offending behaviour, whereas secondary desistance is more closely aligned to the perception that one no longer perceives themselves as an offender (Canton and Dominey 2018). However, the nature of ‘early forays into desistance’ is perceived to be underdeveloped at this stage, particularly around the area of ‘primary desistance’ (King 2013, p.148). A better comprehension of what subjective understandings exist for the individual around embarking upon this process within the CJS, and the barriers therein, is deemed key to both individuals, practitioners working with them and broader associations, to enhance and engender the changes that individuals seek to make.

 he Military Experience: A Spectrum of Violence, an Alcohol T Culture and the Embedding of a Military Identity? The Military as an opportunity to escape? The military has been depicted as an environment that can facilitate desistance through engendering responsibility and discipline and reducing the potential for offending behaviour (Bouffard and Laub 2004). Indeed, for many participants in the study, enlistment represented an opportunity to ‘escape’. Some sought to escape the home, others ‘the estate’ which held a wide range of negative associations. Factors such as negative peers and family members which offered the potential for crime, violence and/or substance misuse as well as the potential for being used or exploited were all raised during interviews: (enlisting was) … the best thing I done … (or) I would have ended up either dead or in the big house (prison) somewhere. (Dave)

Violence Within the Military Training Environment The military was perceived as offering an opportunity to provide all of the commonly associated factors associated with desistance, e.g. positive and prosocial bonds or ties, employment, financial security and education (McNeill and Weaver 2010). However, for many, the military became an environment in which violence was more

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frequent and even observed as an expectation. Such violence was perceived as inevitably linked to the job role within the military, with a majority of participants from infantry regiments, a trade which is ‘primarily concerned with proficiency in homicidal techniques’ both on the training field and within conflict (Hockey 2003, p.19). However, it was equally located within the milieu of the barracks, training, initiations, ‘milling’ and confrontations on nights out. Such experiences were perceived by participants to have enduring consequences when desisting from the use of violence post-transition. Within training, violence and aggression were perceived as primary functions. The objective was to instil such characteristics into the recruit, labelling and promoting them as key objectives of good soldiering: “That’s what’s drilled into you… in training… ‘Be aggressive, be aggressive, be aggressive!’” (Gordon)

Equally, violence being used to resolve issues between recruits, as a form of initiation, intimidation or even sanction, was also common: If you did mess up, it were a custom to get a dig (hit – by a supervising officer). … and you wouldn’t think anything about it! (Peter)

The associations around violence were described as subtle by one participant but were powerful and impacted on the mentality associated with the military environment: …you’re constantly around men who are going to be, or who even have, just killed people… and had to… It’s not nice, but they’ve done it. So, the whole mentality around the place it’s a lot… it’s a lot bigger, it’s worse. (Kenny)

As such, the environment in which participants were entering was described as being designed to reconstruct the individual. It sought to imbue a sense that violence was something constructive and an essential aspect of being a good soldier (also see Combat Capital – Wilkinson 2017). Equally, violence could take place at a range of points across the military experience, from resolving a dispute to the point of killing another human being. Therefore, violence was depicted as a mechanism with diverse functions. It could act as a form of controlling those who were subordinate or who failed to adhere to instruction. It was an instrument to resolve issues or address problems within the barracks or the sports arena. Ultimately, such functions were adjunct to its main role, namely, that of protection: …put(ting) our bodies on the line for ‘Queen and Country’ (Aaron).

Beyond the Training Environment: Violence on Nights Out? Equally, beyond the training environment, violence remained, often accompanied by alcohol use. Nights out, in local pubs and towns, would regularly consist of confrontations with other regiments or civilians. There was a perception that violence across these settings was tacitly sanctioned by those in authority, even representing


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part of the soldering experience. Consequently, it was perceived as acceptable or insisted upon and would often result in little recrimination: Corporals or sergeants would say to you like… ‘If you don’t come back (from a night out) without a black eye, you’ll get jail, when you get back here.’ (Gordon) … I got into a punch-up once in a pub… they just took me back to the shore base and did that because, you know, they was alright with us, you know, go hand in hand – the police and the navy. (Alan)

A further link can be perceived here between the roles and overlap between the police and the military. The imagery associated with protection, authority and a similar form of state-endorsed responsibility emerged. Furthermore, as Matty highlights, as a result of this perception of tacit acceptance of such behaviour, the decision-­making process prior to the commission of such offences could be influenced by a potential reduced sanction or outcome if caught: …, it was kept in house … you think… we’ll get away with it…. you’re not going to go to jail… you’re probably going to get a fine, but not as much as you would get out… and you wouldn’t get a criminal record either… you’d only get a record in the army, so you know you’d be able to push it... (Matty)

Overall, the opportunity and scope for which violence and aggression could be employed within the military presented as enhanced to many of the recruits. This was despite many seeking to join the service as a form of escaping offending behaviour and negative influences. Indeed, the opportunity to engage and develop skills around violence and aggression, across a broad range of environments, beyond that of the military training environment, was unparalleled when compared to civilian life.

The Development of a Military Identity Within the military environment, many participants outlined a newly perceived self-­ identity, developed within the training process which sought to transform the individual from civilian to soldier. Drawing on Goffman’s (1961) concept of the ‘Total Institution’, Brown (2015) describes recruits entering a ‘Military Total Institution’ upon enlistment. Here, the conditioning of trainees takes place in isolation from civilian society, during which each individual is (usually) treated the same, within the same set of conditions, and is expected to conform fully to the institutions’ rules, expectations and standards. This process seeks to remove civilian individualism, replacing this with a focus on the importance of the group (ibid, p.122; Goffman 1961). Within the current research, such an identity became a central aspect of military life, particularly within the context of the collective identity in which camaraderie was a fundamental aspect. Such an identity was perceived to be crucial, both operationally and during periods of deployment, demanding that the group work together, protect one another and achieve their mission. However, beyond training and

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deployment, such an identity could be characterised by a mentality that drew lines between the military and civilian worlds, an ‘us and them’ mentality which could often lead to confrontation as well as a sense of impunity: “…it was the squaddie (soldier) mentality, (fighting with civilians) but the alcohol didn’t help. And, once you’re fuelled, that was it, you know, you think you’re 10 men, once you’ve had a few bevvies (alcoholic drinks?). Plus, once you’re a squaddie, you think you’re better than everyone else anyway.” (Steve)

The civilian would often become the opposition, and alcohol became an aggravating factor within the process. Participants expressed a self-image around being better than civilians and having an important job role incomprehensible to the civilian: … we were like; ‘… whatever, we’re squaddies mate, we’re …. heroes us… we’ve been to Afghanistan’… (in response to complaints around soldiers excessively enjoying themselves on the weekends) …. We hated civvies (civilians)… we had that mentality that we hated civvies, and we were better than them; ‘… idiots them civvies.’ (John)

However, such an identity was also associated with a dominant competitive dimension within the context of the military environment. Often, this was displayed through being the best in training or in sporting events. It could be concerned with being perceived as better than others, as an individual or collectively as a regiment, and could often result in violence: …this Corporal, he was a paratrooper, he… took offence…. because I was telling my defence what to do. He was like; ‘Who the fuck are you talking to you… anyway ‘get round this corner… I’m going to fucking kill you.’ (Paul)

As such, within the military environment, violence could be seen to permeate all levels. This was both as a collective unit against other groups and in individual conflict amongst rank, civilians and others. Such an identity is an important consideration beyond the military environment. The reduction around future violence, ultimately, to facilitate desistance from offending requires a comprehensive understanding around the nature of this identity. Indeed, the associated propensity for conflict remains a key an area to both understand and eventually deconstruct within the context of the desistance journey.

Masculinity as Key Aspect of the Military Identity The competitive and confrontational features of the military were also perceived to be associated with an overt representation of masculinity. Indeed, it became clear that attitudes were analogous with the construct of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ (Connell 2005) in which characteristics such as toughness, authority, competition, independence and the capacity for violence were highly valued (Heidensohn and Silvestri 2012, p. 348; Messershmidt 1993).


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Indeed, violence was a mechanism to portray such masculinity, and there was an abundance of opportunities to display the perception of oneself as the brave, fearless soldier: I didn’t like violence. But I used to get involved in it… I’d rather not (but) you don’t want no one to think you’re a little shitbag… It’s the army as well, it’s a tough guy image… it’s a false, macho, bravado... it weren’t real! (John)

Such a ‘display’ of violence was perceived as necessary to maintain a reputation. John acknowledged that using violence was a tool both to dominate others and to avoid being dominated. He explained that there were unwritten and accepted rules that were unequivocally adhered to and maintained within the military. Furthermore, this was a mindset that he took forwards beyond transition into civilian life: When I’ve left the army… I was a doorman … again violence… as this mask. This false macho, bravado that I’ve worn. (John)

The importance of the group and group cohesion also represented an opportunity to reinforce masculinities inherent within the services. Instilling loyalty within the collective group represents an essential element of services training, and acting like a ‘real man’ who will protect his colleagues, even if at significant risk to himself, is promoted, if not insisted upon (Hockey 2003). Participants would discuss fighting with civilians or other regiments, or other countries’ forces with some regularity, insisting that others take part, even if they lacked the motivation to do so. Furthermore, it was an opportunity to reinforce the group mentality as well as masculinity: ‘…such and such is threatening to kick our fucking heads in tonight… are you coming with us (Steve)?’ You know? And 9 times out of 10, you’d go… because you were there for the lads at the end of the day. (Steve)

Some participants equated masculine or ‘macho’ perspectives with a military culture associated with homophobia and sexist attitudes. Others reinforced the standpoint that drinking excessively reflected masculinity: … yeah! Drinking was seen as macho… if you’re not seen having a drink, you’re a wuss… or, sometimes it (alcohol and violence) comes together and goes ‘pow’. (Alan)

Masculinity and the use of violence or alcohol (often in combination) could also be perceived within the context of self-preservation, a coping strategy that was employed in the absence of suitable alternatives: Well, what it was with me, I was, drinking my problems. So, if had anything worrying me, I’d turn to the alcohol, because in the Army, a lot of things would worry you, or you can’t go home and see your family, so you’d have beer then. (Matty)

To ‘cope’ and to ‘hide one’s feelings’ amidst a perceived unforgiving collective and to go along with the group and ‘fit in’ were some reasons that alcohol was used, as well as an escape or reward. However, such an approach to effectively manage emotions and mental well-being was perceived as problematic for the veteran, post-­ transition to civilian life. Indeed, many participants referred to the military as having an ‘alcohol culture’:

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… (alcohol is) encouraged in the military.… there’s a massive drinking culture. … (and) I can say that for every regiment in the Infantry… anything extra-curricular let’s say, there was always booze there. (Barney)

Alcohol can be seen to be a valued cultural aspect of military life, linked to socialising, downtime and relaxation. However, and as has been alluded to so far within the chapter, a regular link has been made between violence and the use of alcohol within the military environment. Such a relationship presents as complicated both within and beyond the military milieu, with various influencing factors, such as loyalty, expectations of the group, masculinity, training and cultural expectations, all conflating to obscure any claim to a direct and causal relationship. As such, this relationship and its perception by the veteran represent an important area of exploration within the desistance journey.

Veterans’ Engagement with the Criminal Justice System When one travels through the CJS, collateral consequences that result can be seen to be stigmatising, labelling as well as exclusionary and result in a ‘spoilt identity’ (Kirkwood and McNeill 2015; Goffman 1963). Such factors can result in a perceived reduction in citizenship, as well as undermining and creating new barriers to desistance and assumed prosocial roles (McNeill and Weaver 2010). However, aspects of this journey can be seen to be further complicated by the veteran’s military background.

Military History as an Aggravating Factor Interviewees recalled practitioners within the CJS using their military history as an aggravating factor associated with offending, recalling being disadvantaged in court as a result. Neil outlines that he received a more punitive sentence on account of his military service, in which the judge labelled him proficient in violence, therefore more culpable regarding his offending: … they were saying, because of my military service, I had no chance… I had an unfair advantage … I knew what I was doing and I could fight back. (Neil)

However, these were perceived as the very same behaviours, actions and even expectations during military service. As such, what once was a lauded a fundamentally key characteristic instilled into the good and dutiful soldier became an aggravating feature associated with enhanced punishment: If I’d have been in war, and that’d been the enemy, I’d have got a medal! (Neil)


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Indeed, the CJS as a whole was perceived as failing to recognise the impact and legacy of military instruction. Extensive and relentless training by the state to shape soldiers (particularly those from the infantry regiment) to be aggressive without consideration for themselves was demanded within service. However, it was not mitigated for beyond service life: You’re trained to be… it’s supposed to be controlled discipline, but, you know, if you train a dog to be violence (sic) … when it perceives a threat, it loses that …. discipline, and it goes to violence, to what it’s being trained to do… fundamentally, the criminal justice system doesn’t recognise it, and I think it’s a massive problem. (Barney)

As a result, their label and raised risk status within the CJS were perceived to be unfair and unjust. Resentment was evident around a state who has trained and imbued recruits with aggression and confrontational drive, which then failed to subsequently recognise that these skills may be problematic in civilian life or even determined as an aggravating risk factor within sentencing (see Murray 2013). Such labelling and exclusionary practices are likely to cause barriers to effective desistance to individuals and impede successful integration (McNeill and Weaver 2010). Furthermore, that the same state did not provide ‘reconditioning’ upon discharge as well as lack supportive features beyond and particularly within the CJS was also perceived as a significant barrier in participants’ reintegration to civilian life. This was also something that could be perceived as hindering effective desistance from offending: It just wasn’t there in my head and I suddenly realised that they’d done all this to me, they forced us to be aggressive, forced us to be angry… they never showed me how not to be aggressive, not to be angry, not to be abusive… you need re-conditioning… that’s why people cause so much trouble when they come out. I must have been arrested, within 4 years of getting out the army, about 30 times. (Gordon)

Gordon can be seen to be referring to something similar to a condemnation script (Maruna 2001, 2010) in which he presented his self-narrative as being characterised by a lack of personal agency, which had been removed by a relentless training and conditioning within the military. During the interview he referred not only to the use of aggression but also around the use of abusiveness and anger, which he recognises as negative, corrupting and impactful on the violence he committed post-transition. Gordon considers that as the military was responsible for imbuing this aggressive behaviour within service, they should also have been responsible for ‘reconditioning’ him upon transition. This would satisfy his request of a tacit acknowledgement of the role of the military associated with his subsequent use of violence. Equally, it would allow him to reformulate the ‘condemnation script’ in which his violence was ‘inevitable’ and provide him with a better understanding or opportunity to develop alternative strategies to the use of violence post-transition.

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Casting Off the Military Identity Desistance requires would-be desisters to ‘cast off’ old identities that are perceived to have negative connotations and links to offending behaviour, replacing them with new and favourable versions of the self (Paternoster and Bushway cited in King, 2013). However, the military identity was perceived as valued and important to the veterans interviewed, despite such negative associations. As such, upon entry to the CJS, shedding aspects of the military identity, which can be perceived as negative and comprised of features deemed aggravating, presented as a difficult hurdle for some veterans to overcome. This is due to competing perceptions around their sense of self-identity and social capital, which was high in the military and which was depleted upon transition and in need of ‘casting off’.

The Development of a New Form of Social Capital The capacity to desist from offending has been perceived to benefit from the development or increase of social capital (McNeill et al. 2012) or ‘a social network, a cluster of shared norms, values and expectancies, and sanctions that help to maintain such norms’ (Halpern 2005, p. 10). Indeed, the military can be seen to provide a significant amount of social capital for personnel. The military offered steady employment, financial security and a career. It also offered a structured and disciplined environment, in which shared norms and the collective group were prioritised, offering recruits a sense of direction and pride. … I went home, and I was in uniform, and it felt so good, everybody was made up with me. I went back and said; ‘I’m staying!!’ (Neil)

Furthermore, relationships within the military can be seen to be deep, long-­ lasting bonds that transcend those within the civilian environment. Farrell (2004, p. 60) outlines that social capital has often been ‘operationalised in terms of family and kinship relations and employment opportunities’ in which such social institutions encourage desistance by increasing one’s level or stock of social capital (ibid): When people say you’ve got mates out there…but you never have mates like you have in the Army… Especially in Northern Ireland, everyone’s got to watch each other’s back. (Dave)

Following transition, social capital could be perceived to deteriorate, and rebuilding this capital within a civilian setting presented as a barrier post-transition. The inevitable loss of employment, as well as the nature of that loss (e.g. dishonourable discharge) and the associated shame and frustration, was outlined as an important consideration. Equally, returning to pre-military circumstances, including socialising with negative peers, in which individuals joined the military to escape, also presented as problematic:


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(I was) … hanging around with the wrong people, thinking I’ve got nothing left because I was disheartened myself, with everything I’d been through and just to ruin it like that, something, some stupid little mistake (a dishonourable discharge through using drugs), but I’ve done worse with alcohol in the Army! (Matty)

Also, an absence of what has previously been close, supportive and reliable associations in a structured, disciplined and ordered environment disappeared. Furthermore, boredom and a lack of direction were also outlined by others: (I was) … always looking for excitement I guess? You know, I was always looking for that height that the military could offer... I never could quite get it from Civvy street. (Alan)

The Development of a New Form of Agency Furthermore, successful desistance from crime requires the development of agency which has been described as the ability of would-be desisters to ‘…make choices and govern their own lives – in order to resist and overcome the criminogenic pressures that play upon them’ (McNeill and Weaver 2010, p. 58). However, this process of adaption was difficult for some, as their time in the military could be perceived as being designed to remove the recruit’s sense of agency. Again, akin to the Total Military Institution, such individual agency was replaced with a collective, group mentality in which discipline, order and obedience were prioritised (Brown 2015; Goffman 1961). Life skills and responsibilities such as payment of rent and bills were very rarely considered: You know you’re hidden in the forces… you know, everything’s done for you and your kind of treated like a child. (Alan)

Equally, there was a clarity around your role and expectations within the services: You know exactly what you’ve got to do. You’re told what to do, you do it and … you go onto the next job. (Trevor)

Following transition, this sense of security and clarity was removed, and for some, the loss of organisation, instruction and structure was difficult to redress: Didn’t have a clue what I was going to do, and I was terrified of life now. Got to go back to this town that I’ve run away from, nowhere else to go, my head was gone! (John)

The development of human capital (McNeill 2006) the capacity to access services and accrue the necessary skills to challenge such barriers, either independently or through support networks, was therefore found to be difficult for many participants. This may have been, in part, due to issues around pride, which was outlined as a prominent and enduring characteristic acquired from military service: You get pride in the military… it’s what it teaches you. (Neil)

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Furthermore, a lack of perception or acknowledgement of themselves as ‘veterans’ was prominent. This was linked to issues such as pride, avoiding confrontation or being disadvantaged within the CJS (as has been outlined earlier within the chapter). Equally, a limited understanding around the definition of a veteran and awareness of support services available became apparent for some participants, who subscribed to the common veteran imagery, closely aligned to the World War I and II survivors (Dandeker et al. 2006).

The Military Alcohol Culture Beyond the Military This lack of support and understanding, in turn, often led to further isolation and excessive alcohol use for some participants, relying on a familiar culturally associated behaviour: I started boozing more and more because I didn’t know where to turn, and it’s got to be from, you know, the (alcohol) culture of the army… definitely…that’s how people deal with things in the Army. (Barney)

Indeed, substance misuse has been outlined as a potential barrier to effective desistance (Shapland and Bottoms 2017). It can promote impulsivity, impacting on rational thinking, as well as limit accessibility to prosocial events (Kazemian 2016). Indeed, Maruna (2001, p.64) concludes that, when considering the link between substance misuse and crime, ‘the study of desistance, therefore, is almost necessarily a study of abstaining from both types of behaviour’. The nature of alcohol use changed for some participants post-transition. From a cultural phenomenon typically associated with socialising and group bonding within service, alcohol became a method to deal with difficulties, changes and problems beyond the military environment including isolation and loss of structure. It became clear that alcohol was being used as coping strategy or escapism following the transition from military life, minimising the potential accrual of human capital: …Well, that’s where I think, when I first experienced… using alcohol to get away … when I come out… you’re never told there’s loads of support, for you or nothing like that. (Luke)

Furthermore, such alcohol use resulted in a deterioration in mental health issues that then resulted in further alcohol consumption, compounding the difficulties they were experiencing and seeking to resolve. For others, it was used to combat another legacy aspect of the military, that of PTSD, as a form of self-medication: …when I got diagnosed with PTSD, I tend to… drink more… to try and numb that feeling… (Aaron)


J. Moorhead

Conclusion Within this chapter, the author has sought to outline some of the various complexities disclosed by military veterans within the CJS who have been convicted and sentenced for violence and considered these within a desistance framework. Although many who travel through the CJS often experience problematic journeys, the veteran can be seen to complicate yet further an already difficult journey. As has been outlined, the military environment can be seen to offer a broad range of opportunities to engage in violence, both sanctioned and unsanctioned. There was a perceived alcohol culture alluded to in service, and often, violence was perpetrated in conjunction with alcohol. Training and conditioning to be aggressive was imbued in recruits, and characteristics such as overt masculinity were prized and exalted. To be a good soldier required a mix of all of the above. However, beyond the military environment, such characteristics became potential barriers to reintegration for some. The use of violence and its perceived legacy from the military resulted in a continuation or even increase in violence being used in civilian life and eventual criminalisation. Equally, the use of alcohol as a coping strategy or form of escapism and the lack of awareness around support structures were also perceived as factors contributing to this populations’ entry into the CJS. Furthermore, adapting to a civilian lifestyle and losing the various forms of capital that military life offered also presented a further obstacle. Moreover, excessive political coverage, an enhanced politicised identity and the perception of negative media coverage were also recognised by some as disadvantages to the veteran post-transition. Such disadvantage was articulated most clearly where participants recalled their military experience as an aggravating factor within the court environment, often resulting in distrust and resentment. Applying a desistance lens allows analysis of the potential aspects of the military experience perceived to have contributed to the subsequent offending of the veteran. Equally, desistance emphasises the need to consider the heterogeneity of offenders, the complexity of their needs and their pathways to desistance being individualised. As such, the broader life course considerations that may be linked to offending behaviour are also considered, outside the military environment (McNeill and Weaver 2010). Therefore, individual and subjective interpretation around the nature, contributing factors and reasons behind offending is required at this stage for the veteran population. This will facilitate the deconstruction and reconstruction of those various experiences, military and otherwise, ultimately to account for and understand the veterans’ criminal past. Equally, it will assist in establishing a future, coherent and prosocial identity for this group (Maruna 2001). Treadwell (2016) posed the question as to whether some aspects of the military experience can be considered criminogenic. Whether criminality can be definitively linked or assigned to the military experience is beyond the remit of this chapter. However, such an interpretation by the individual travelling through the CJS is to be

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considered key within this context and the desistance process as a whole. As such, it is deemed necessary that the military experience of veterans is to be included in the subjective narrative formation for this population within the CJS, with the view to facilitate desistance from offending behaviour post-transition to civilian life.

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McGarry, R., & Walklate, S. (2016). Introduction: The Criminology of War, what is it Good For? In R. McGarry & S. Walklate (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Criminology and War. (pp.1–22). London: Palgrave. McMillian. McNeill, F. (2006). A desistance paradigm for offender management. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 6(1), 39–62. McNeill, F., & Weaver, B. (2010). Changing lives? Desistance research and offender management. Glasgow: Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. changing-lives-desistance-research-and-offender-management/. Accessed 3 March 2018. McNeill, F., Farrell, S., Lightowler, C., & Maruna, S. (2012). How and why people stop offending: Discovering desistance. evidence summaries to support social services in Scotland. https:// Accessed 2 April 2018. Messerschmidt, J. W. (1993). Masculinities and crime. Lantham: Rowman and Littlefield. Ministry of Defence. (2011). The UK Armed Forces Covenant: uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/49469/the_armed_forces_covenant.pdf Ministry of Defence. (2018a). UK Armed Forces quarterly service personnel statistics 1 April 2018. Accessed 15 January 2019. Ministry of Defence. (2018b). UK Armed Forces biannual diversity statistics: Biannual_Diversity_Statistics_Apr18.pdf Accessed 15 January 2019. Ministry of Defence. (2018c). UK Armed Forces quarterly service personnel statistics: https:// file/755982/1_Oct_2018_SPS.pdf Accessed 15 January 2019. Ministry of Defence. (2018d). Veterans: Key facts: Accessed 15 January 2019. Ministry of Defence. (2018e). Parliamentary under secretary of state and minister for DefenceVeterans, Reserves and Personnel: (Accessed 15/01/2019) then see previous role: Ministry of Justice. (2012). Life after the Forces: Accessed 15 April 2018. Murphy, D., Iversen, A., & Greenberg, N. (2008). The mental health of veterans. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, 154(2), 136–139. Murray, E. (2013). Post-army trouble: Veterans in the criminal justice system. Criminal Justice Matters, 94(1), 20–21. Murray, E. (2014). Veteran offenders in Cheshire. Making sense of the ‘noise’. Probation Journal, 61(3), 251–264. Murray, E. (2015). Criminology and war. Can violent veterans see blurred lines clearly? In S. Walklate & R. McGarry (Eds.), Criminology and war. Transgressing the borders (pp. 55–75). London: Routledge. Murray, E. (2016). The ‘veteran offender’: A governmental project in England and Wales. In R. McGarry & S. Walklate (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of criminology and war (pp. 313– 330). London: Palgrave McMillian. NHS. (2015). The handbook to the NHS Constitution for England. 27 July 2015. NHS England. (2015). Developing mental health services for veterans in England engagement survey [on line]. Phillips S. (2014). Former members of the armed forces and the criminal justice system. A review on behalf of the Secretary of State for Justice. Accessed on 10 March 2018. RBL (2011). Literature review: UK veterans and the criminal justice system. https://www.rblcdn. Accessed 3 June 2016.


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Shapland, J., & Bottoms, A. (2017). Desistance from crime and implications for offender rehabilitation. In A. Leibling, S. Maruna, & L. McAra (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of criminology (6th ed., pp. 744–768). Oxford: Oxford University press. Thandi, G., Sundin, J., Ng-Knight, T., Jones, M., Hull, L., Jones, N., et al. (2015). Alcohol misuse in the United Kingdom Armed Forces: A longitudinal study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 156, 78–83. Thornton, R. (2007). Asymmetric warfare: Threat and response in the 21st century. London: Polity. Treadwell, J. (2016). The forces in the firing line? Social policy and the ‘acceptable face’ of violent criminality. In R. McGarry & S. Walklate (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of criminology and war (pp. 331–346). London: Palgrave McMillian. Verrall, N. (2011). A review of military research into alcohol consumption. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, 157(2), 164–169. Walklate, S., & McGarry, R. (2015). Criminology and war. Transgressing the borders. London: Routledge. Wilkinson, H. (2017). ‘What was it all for?’: 21st century theatres of war and the return to ‘post-­ conflict’ life. In S. Fletcher & H. White (Eds.), Emerging voices: Critical social research by European Group postgraduate and early career researchers (pp. 283–293). London: EG Press.

Chapter 8

United States: ‘Combatting’ Self-Harm and Suicide in the US Military and After: Culture, Military Labour and No-Harm Contracts Paul Taylor and Andrew Reeves

The experience veterans bring to the policy and social justice debate cannot be underestimated. A particular perspective derived from serving in high-risk, volatile situations can inform wider thinking about both domestic and foreign affairs. It is worth noting that according to the Pew Research Center (2019), five key facts point to the changing face of the veteran population in the United States: 1 . Gulf War-era veterans now account for the largest share of all US veterans. 2. The share of the US population with military experience is declining. 3. The demographic is changing: with a current 91% to 9% emphasis to male veterans, the number of female veterans is likely to double by 2045; this also does not account for shifting definitions of gender and the contribution of transgender veterans. 4. Fewer members of Congress have prior military experience than in the past. 5. The Department of Veterans Affairs receives a low favourability rating. (Pew Research Center 2019) If a veteran perspective can contribute to a critical reflection on political positioning, the disappearing presence of that perspective in key governmental and policy positions has a potentially negative consequence. Critical issues surrounding welfare, social opportunities, and physical and mental health are potentially vulnerable in their ability to converse in public and political discourse as a result. The complexity attached to veteran experience is deserving of recognition. Taking mental health as a key area, the mental health of veterans can be positioned across several domains: societal, cultural, psycho-medical, healthcare, political home and foreign policy and individual-existential, among others. National identity and how it is often interrelated with the management of conflict mean that veteran P. Taylor (*) · A. Reeves University of Chester, Chester, UK e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,



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mental health is often seen not only as a barometer of how an individual nation takes care of vulnerable individuals but how the nation itself situates its own vulnerability and resilience. A veteran’s first-hand account of vulnerability and resilience, contextualized in a policy and mental health frame, can shed light on much that brings meaning in a society. The chapter here undertakes a critical enquiry into the mental health support for US veterans. Schemes and programmes to support the mentally vulnerable are discussed, as well as proposals from political voices, to tackle veteran suicides. Our approach here aims to shed light on the multiplicity of veteran mental health, identity and the cultural influences at work while at the same time drawing attention towards the political backcloth. This chapter takes Bryan et al.’s (2012) invitation to critically consider military suicide, and its prevention, by understanding military culture further. The analysis here advocates the importance of recognition of military culture when considering military veterans, particularly in a context of proposals for an Oath on Exit for US military leavers. The visibility of mental health problems, illness, disorder, self-harm and suicide arguably remains overshadowed by endemic social opinions, prejudice and stigma, inside the military included (Acosta et al. 2014). There is little opposition to suggestions that mental health conditions remain one of society’s greatest taboos. Much effort has been focused on attempting to challenge stigmatization, enact preventative mechanisms and support those most at risk or vulnerable (Nash et al. 2009). However, statistical evidence and qualitative commentary point to a substantial public health problem which is on the rise, with unmet needs of those experiencing mental distress reaching epidemic proportions. It is not to say that physical health conditions are appropriately managed, on the contrary; rather when setting physical and mental health side by side, equivalence in public attitudes, interventions and attention appears unbalanced. The stigma surrounding mental health conditions has been well rehearsed within the medical and sociological literature (see, e.g. Clausen 1981; Corrigan and Watson 2002). Structural barriers and prejudices levied by powerful claims makers have been routinely cited as a cause of stress and onset and as a barrier to proper social mobility, integration and personal agency. Pejorative stereotypes of the mentally ill and disordered are abounding in every direction, and those involved in challenging myths and stereotypes appear powerless in an endless battle of divisions being propagated for the purposes of, as Klin and Lemish (2008) explain, entertainment or gain of popular support. Associations between military and post-military life and mental health crises have been a burgeoning area of research and public interest (Seal et  al. 2007; Thomas et  al. 2017). The shattering stories such as those highlighted in Time Magazine’s (April, 2009) article on suicide among military recruiters draw attention towards the reach of the issue beyond just those sustaining mental injury from conflict. The chapter here reports on the plight of military veterans in the United States and the manifestation of mental health symptoms, distress and self-injury. To make sense of this, it is necessary to make incisions of enquiry into both military life and post-military life. The authors examine the context in which symptoms may emerge during military service and their continuation or onset across the journey of

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t­ransition to post-military life. This is not a topic unacknowledged by the US military officials (see Harrell and Berglass 2011); indeed ways of supporting vulnerable soldiers and veterans have been a key practical and political issue for some time. So this is where our focus is situated. From a critical standpoint, this chapter will assess some of the associated issues in suggestions to put in place no-suicide contracts for departing service personnel. The authors examine what is known about no-harm contracts already and how these may interact with more discrete issues such as military culture, identity and choice.

Military Veterans, Health and Welfare in the United States Data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs in 2016 reveals a veteran population of circa 20.4 million. Indications from the report cited that Gulf War veterans are now accounting for the greatest number – some 7.1 million. Overwhelmingly, military veterans in the United States are male (91%), though modelling undertaken in the 2016 report suggests that the number of female veterans by 2045 will have doubled to 18%. The transition from the military environment may be rife with challenges, be they social, physical health, emotional or financial. Examples of input to support veterans in the United States are numerous – both government-sponsored and charitable. Concerns over the extent and quality of evidence that informs policy on veteran transition in the United States have recently been published (see, Vogt et al. 2018), with new longitudinal research (The Veterans Metrics Initiative (TVMI)) study ongoing that aims to examine better wellbeing and programmes offered to veterans. Access to benefits for US veterans is not straightforward, and the complexity of programme access and the inherent inequalities has been critically considered by numerous authors such as Kleykamp and Hipes (2015). Fundamental to the problem, as the authors contend, is the striking difference between support frameworks within the military and those encountered in civilian life. Veterans of military service appealingly transition from a formalized provision to a fragmented and erratic system of welfare programmes and benefits. Writers such as Mittelstadt in her 2015 book The Rise of the Military Welfare State argue that for all parties, families included, repeated deployments to conflict (Iraq, Afghanistan), and the enveloping reach of privatization into social welfare provision, have facilitated the conditions where military retirees and injured (physically and/or mentally) personnel and their families are confronted with further difficulties and exposed to additional stressors and traumas in a bid to gain aid and assistance. Mental health crises and chronic emotional and psychiatric conditions among the military and veterans of military service are issues affecting not just the individual but, as Sayers et al. (2009) consider, one which impacts on the family and wider communities. The harrowing effects of war and conflict on returnees, the pressures and demands that service men and women face such in other areas of military work


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(e.g. those tasked with the recruitment of new personnel – see Thompson 2009) and alcohol and substance use, are just some of the pressing issues affecting the emotional wellbeing of the military. Mental health in the military has long been a topic of debate. To borrow and extend on Kinder’s (2015) summarizations, those in service pay not only with their bodies but also their minds. Further, barriers to help-seeking have been identified. While disqualification exists for recruits with severe mental health conditions, this is not to say that some will make it past screening exercises, and further conditions may emerge while in service, or be exacerbated by military life. Recognition of the challenge of mental health and wellbeing in the military and the associated stigmas that interfere with help-seeking were outlined in the 2016 US Government Accountability Office report Human Capital. The roots of stigma and the avoidance of help-seeking are operating at both formal and informal levels in the military, formal in the sense of professional consequences for seeking treatment (e.g. discharge) and privacy issues when forced to use military-only healthcare provision. However, also, at a more discreet level, the maintenance of prejudices and discrimination surrounding mental health remains. Reasons for the onset or worsening of mental health conditions while in the military will be varied (but see Pflanz 2001; Connorton et al. 2011); however it is not unreasonable to contend that the emersion into military life will bring about many stressors or triggers. In conflict, the military is engaged in violent interactions. They may be enacting violence against another and/or experiencing or witnessing catastrophic injury and death. Servicemen and women are at the behest of high-ranking officers and political figures. Their lives are unpredictable and chaotic especially where deployment may be imminent. Such anticipation and continuous uncertainty may be anxiety-inducing and have a destabilizing effect on social and familial networks. Furthermore, this example illustrates a broader loss of autonomy and loss of control in the day-to-day lives of military men and women. After military life, the legacy of these issues may persist, or their effects manifest in a myriad of ways both in the short and long term. Homelessness, unemployment, living with trauma, social marginalization, lack of appropriate education and skills and contact with criminal justice are just some of the more common outcomes listed as affecting veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a commonly cited condition affecting military veterans in the United States. It is, of course, challenging to gain a full account of the prevalence of disorders such as PTSD among veterans; however, estimates range anything from 9% up to 30% (Sundin et al. 2010; Tsai et al. 2014). Moreover, attempts have been made to discern the nature of combat/noncombat experience and rates of PTSD. Unsurprisingly, Thomas et al.’s (2017) analysis of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study (NHRVS) (conducted in 2013) reveals that ‘combat veterans were more than 3 times as likely as noncombat ­veterans to screen positive for lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and more than twice as likely for current PTSD and had 82% greater odds of screening positive for current generalized anxiety disorder’. The complexity of mental health and wellbeing among veteran populations is tremendous. It does not suffice to simply consider veterans of recent conflict

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(see Williamson et al.’s (2018) analysis of elderly US veterans), nor does an emphasis on particular disorders such as PTSD account for the nuances of illness, disorder and distress. Further, while combat roles in the military may account for higher rates of certain conditions, it must not overshadow mental health crises experienced by those in noncombat roles. Mental health conditions are both imported and indigenous to the military. On leaving the military, in all likelihood, many will be carried across into civilian life. However, so too, as the early works of Strayer and Ellenhorn (1975) and more recently Taft et al. (2008) explain, some veterans can encounter long-term adjustment difficulties. In whichever ways these issues are sliced, it remains pressing to consider how military work, enculturation into the military institution and the creation of military and post-military identities may be prohibitive to positive mental health. Programmes to support veterans have continued to grow and attempt to meet the demand of complex personal, medical and social problems that veterans face. The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers mechanisms to access a range of programmes and services, as well as building an evidence base of research and debate. Tackling homelessness, providing financial assistance, issues affecting veterans from minority groups, those with PTSD, veterans with mental health conditions, education and training support, those with physical impairments and disabilities and programmes of support for women veterans are key priorities of spending. However, the division of funding among programmes and services remains an issue of contention and one of public and political debate (McVeigh 2013; Zogas 2017). Dangers of demand outstripping supply are very real, and with substantial attrition rates from military service, fundamental challenges exist on how best programmes can support veterans of all types.

Tackling Veteran Suicide Through an Oath on Exit In summer 2017, Republican Congressman Brian Mast, a military veteran himself, led plans to submit a Bill to Congress to amend Title 10 of the US Code. This amendment would establish a ‘Separation Oath’ for those leaving the armed forces. The proposed Oath would be voluntary and read: I, ________, recognizing that my oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, has involved me and my fellow members in experiences that few persons, other than our peers, can understand, do solemnly swear (or affirm) to continue to be the keeper of my brothers- and sisters-in-arms and protector of the United States and the Constitution; to preserve the values I have learned; to maintain my body and my mind; and to not bring harm to myself without speaking to my fellow veterans first. I take this oath freely and without purpose of evasion, so help me God.

Mast’s sponsorship of this amendment has been met with both support and opposition. A former Director of suicide prevention programmes at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Caitlin Thompson, has warned of the problems of no-harm contracts as being unproductive. Similarly, Heather O’Beirne Kelly, Director of mili-


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tary and veterans’ health policy for the American Psychological Association cautioned that this approach ‘could backfire in lethal ways, by discouraging help-­ seeking among veterans in crisis and engendering a false sense of security among those to whom the oath is given’ (Stars and Stripes 2017). The use of no-harm contracts, specifically in response to the perceived potential for self-injury or, specifically, suicide, has been debated for many years in the context of the therapeutic provision in the United States and elsewhere. Their history is primarily one where this contract takes place within a therapeutic or clinical context. The purpose of such a contract in the context of individual therapy is that once signed by both the therapist and client/patient, a commitment is made by the client/ patient to their therapist that they will not harm themselves or make an attempt on their own life in-between contact. Lewis (2007) makes clear that there is no research evidence to support the use of such contracts, while Rudd et al. (2006) go further by claiming them to be ineffective. In a study of adolescent populations, Garvey et al. (2009, p. 363) undertook a review of the literature pertaining to the use of no-harm contracts and avers that ‘empirically based evidence to support the use of the contract for safety in any population is very limited, particularly in adolescent populations’. Perversely, rather than mitigating the risk of harm, there is potential for the use of such contracts to contribute to the potential for harm, particularly in terms of the future use of supportive or therapeutic relationships that might, otherwise, be perceived as helpful (Reeves 2010). Specifically, such contracts can often be used to assuage the anxiety of the practitioner, under the pretence they have ‘done something’ in response to a presenting level of risk, or that they imply a greater level of risk assessment and exploration had been undertaken than was actually the case (Buelow and Range 2001; Miller et  al. 1998). This view is further supported by Garisch et al. (2017, p. 101), who state that ‘…these contracts [no-harm contracts] could potentially be harmful as they may alienate the young person, contribute to feelings of being misunderstood, and are likely more about clinician (and possibly family and whānau) anxiety than creating therapeutic change’. Jobes et al. (2018) further critique the use of no-harm contracts in the context of a stepped care model to suicide prevention and suggest, drawing on other research, that their use may increase practitioner liability given the lack of evidence for their efficacy in reducing the potential for suicide (Rudd et al. 2006). The literature in relation to the use of no-harm contracts in clinical settings, at best, notes the lack of evidence for their efficacy. At worst, however, there seems a compelling argument that they not only fail to address issues of risk but have the potential to contribute to an exacerbated level of risk with the treating clinician struggling to justify their use in the event of a suicide. There is little evidence to contradict this view when their use is transferred into other contexts, such as the military. The cohesive and group-­ bound identity often present in military communities has the potential to further contraindicate the use of such no-harm practices, or Oaths, where any failure of compliance could be deemed by the individual as a betrayal of the wider community, thus further alienating them from available informal and formal support mechanisms and, in turn, and time, increasing their level of risk. To advance this question

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of efficacy, our attention now falls on the cultural context in which no-harm contracts may occur.

The Military Institution and Identity To disconnect the veteran from the installation of values, beliefs and skills that took place during military service would render an appreciation of veteran identities incomplete (Coll et al. 2011; Rausch 2014). The military institution (to take it as an encompassing entity of culture, training, camaraderie and expectation) is a key influencer on the self and identity of members of the armed forces and veterans of the professions. Sociologists, in particular, have examined the piercing effects that military life can have on the sense of self and the production of military and post-­ military identities. Time spent in the military is punctuated with milestones and rites of passage, tests of bravery and trustworthiness and a rejection of self-importance in favour of meeting the need of the collective group and its pursuit (Redmond et al. 2015). High expectations are held by not just those of higher ranks but political elites and the public. Members of the army, navy and air force are subject to an expectancy of approved behaviours, but also to disavow their civilian identity. Amidst global tensions, the presence of risk and threat, and the abundance of political cross-party war rhetoric, military and defence policy is consistently presented as a force for good (Stavrianakis 2009). Political support for a nation’s military capability and the propagation of messages illustrating its robustness, agility and strength are just aspects of identity creation. In his excursion of military identity formation, Talbot (2012) neatly reflects on the continuities and change in the creation of warrior identities in the military and the forming of soldierly identities that are compatible with moral codes of military cultures. Indeed, as Talbot (2012, p. 7) describes, ‘warrior identities are shaped by a code of conduct governing and regulating the behaviour of soldiers’. Mutual and self-respect, moral courage, honesty and integrity are expected. Loyalty, teamwork, physical courage and dexterity and a commitment to the values and ethos of the military’s role are expected, together with obedience, discipline and pride. Entering into the military culture is a process of enculturation into military value structures and systems. Processes of role-­ stripping occur in the barracks (see Goffman’s early theorisations of the ‘total institution’ and the brief comparison of the asylum to the military environment), and new identities are formed which are conversant with the central organising values of the military culture, namely, selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others. The occupational identity of military personnel is, by virtue of the gendered institution that the military is, strikingly masculine (Woodward and Duncanson 2017). In civilian culture, what is known about the armed forces mirrors its gendered organisation, as Woodward and Winter (2007, p. 4) suggest: Gender informs the stories that circulate within an armed force which construct and reproduce its (dominantly masculine) identity, and the stories that circulate about an armed force within civilian culture and social life that interprets the military through a gendered lens.


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The manifest valorising and heroic representation of personnel of the armed forces is both nurtured from within, reinforced by officials and orators, and as Andrews (2017) avers, a focus in remembrance, and reproduced in a variety of media, texts and public discourse. Representations of post-military life and military veterans in mass media have been somewhat less visible than their serving armed forces counterparts. The Vietnam War veteran has by far received the most attention from film scriptwriters with fictional and other portrays; however, their presence outside of this media genre has largely been absent. Pitchford-Hyde (2016) makes well-ordered observations of the problematic access to veterans in media, in particular, the injured veteran. The author reflects the probable basis for this resting in a requirement to reinforce the prerequisites of masculine ideology required by governmental and military imperatives. Much can be learnt from Pitchford-Hyde’s (2016) critical commentary here, as indeed an editorial turn is evident. The participation of the injured veteran in popular culture and media, a turn which challenges discourses of a ‘broken’, ‘dependent’ and ‘de-masculinised’ veteran that has come before, positions the veteran whose injuries are evidence of militarised masculinity and evidence of heroism (Pitchford-Hyde 2016, p. 59). Silences also exist in the public consumption of portrayal and rhetoric surrounding war and conflict. Silcock et al. (2008) provide useful insights into the prevalence of illustrations of the war dead and war injured in American news media. The hidden nature of such imagery in news media (only around 10% in the author’s study of the US-led invasion of Iraq), as the authors conclude, is commensurate with editorial principles of audience protection. The difficulty arrives in haste insofar that the impact of silencing this, for example, the depiction of dead or injured military personnel, obscures the plight of the serviceman or woman, rendering them somewhat invisible in media representations and subsequently public discourse. This obscurity further meets with the objectives of creating an outward image of the military unit as strong, robust and resolute as a national defence force. There is little doubt that imagery and text relating to war, conflict and those participating in it are subject to the influence of political and military leaders, defence and foreign policy discourses (Parry 2010).

 ho Benefits? No-Harm Contracts for Leavers of Military W Service What follows here are a series of questions, rather than necessarily answers. If an Oath on Exit gains traction in the United States or elsewhere, then consideration needs to be made of the beneficiaries and the intended/unintended consequences of their implementation. So, while Congressman Mast’s vision for an Oath on Exit may signify altruistic intentions, further analysis is required. No-harm contracts for those leaving the military would be impactful in various ways, both for the military and for the

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individual. To suggest that an Oath on Exit will not deter some military veterans from self-injury or suicide is not the case here. However, putting well-intentioned objectives to one side, and mounting pressures on the US military and government to tackle the issue of veteran suicide undoubtedly, informs some of this strategy. If the efficacy of contracts of this nature is not viewed in research as positive, then why sponsor their use in the first place? Action on self-harm and suicide in the US military is without question critical (Bryan et al. 2012). However, the usefulness of coercive or contractual ‘care’ in this way renders questions over the motives behind such strategies. Ordinarily, the ‘contract’ exists between therapist and client. In this arrangement, the ‘contract’ is between the military institution and the veteran. While these contexts are different, similarities do exist. In both instances, this relationship is imbued with a power differential, a relationship which becomes morally binding between a powerful ‘expert’ and a less powerful ‘subject’. But the concerns in the clinical setting of Buelow and Range (2001) and Miller et al. (1998) also hold sway in this Oath on Exit. Is it the case that such proposals by supporters such as Congressman Mast are more about the contract assuaging the fears of those charged with tackling self-harm and suicide rates among leavers? Current levels of suicide among veterans present a picture of the limited impact of current strategies (Duhart 2010). The blunt tool of the Oath on Exit perhaps goes some way to reassure the military and government that interventions in this area are not just done but are also seen to be done. At the same time, responsibility for veteran’s behaviour is symbolically redistributed, from a concern of authorities to one of free choice of the veteran. This may satisfy powerful figures that ‘everything possible has been done’. The precarious funding arrangements for veteran services and the mixed economy of availability have galvanized critical voices that shed light on the problems of accessibility and the longevity of services and their impact (see, e.g. Mankowski et al. 2015). The proposal for an Oath on Exit does much to promote an outward image that the problems of suicide and self-harm are being taken seriously and are therefore preventative against accusations that they are remiss of attention towards this vulnerable group. So, while an introduction of an Oath on Exit appears focused on the wellbeing of former members of the US armed forces, at the same time, it serves to mitigate against risks associated with claims that insufficient concern is focused towards military veterans. It does this with ease and with little cost, and the burden of claims of negligence or abandonment of this group is likely to reduce. So, is then the Oath on Exit part of an elaborate choreography to remediate alleged desertion of responsibility for those who have served their country? If Oaths on Exit become embedded as a therapeutic intervention, then how may these impact on services designed to support the mental wellbeing of military veterans? While clinical evidence may suggest the lack of effectiveness of no-harm contracts if they were viewed as a panacea to the problem of veteran suicide and self-harm, does this run the risk of a lack of commitment or innovation in service design and resourcing for therapeutic engagement? How an Oath on Exit would sit among established therapeutic interventions and services is an interesting concern. Would it be something to complement services or in time replace services? Clearly,


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gaining compliance through a morally contractual Oath on Exit is less costly than psychological therapies or other interventions. While control over human behaviour in this way may be productive for some, the crudeness of a contractual obligation to ‘do no harm’ also creates distance between the veteran and their previous institution. This is especially the case for those who may ‘break’ the contract or ‘disobey’ the orders of the Oath. Taking stock of the veteran’s occupational experiences and antecedents is vital. The impact of breaking the Oath could be profound and highly stigmatizing. There are many factors to consider here. A full or partial breach of the Oath is reminiscent of suicide as a common law crime. Suicide has not been fully decriminalized in all US states. In such cases, the military veteran may be in breach of the law and in breach of the Oath. However, what does a breach of the Oath come to resemble? The individual’s identity will suffer taint, either self-imposed or by others. Feelings of failure may supplement those already held. A sense of isolation and wariness of consequences from the breaking of a morally contractual arrangement, are there consequences to face from the military or its representatives? Also, do these feelings perhaps make the veteran question further their own integrity, thus worsening the sense of hopelessness and helplessness? The Oath utilizes language deliberately drawing from core structures of the military. Arguably these have been selected purposefully both because of its familiar parlance, and it is sufficiently instructive to deter the military leaver from self-injury. The aim of the Oath on Exit is to gain cooperation and for the Oath taker to be obedient to the promises that they make. It is no coincidence that such an agreement speaks in a register that service personnel are accustomed to. At all stages of a military career, the value structure of loyalty, the sense of duty, the requirement to follow orders from superiors, teamwork, trust and courage are all promoted (Hillen 1999). These are expected, and the function of the military unit is dependent upon it. These military tenets are honoured by the person and by the group. Members of the military have their civilian identity stripped away and replaced by those characteristics aligned to the military mission (Novaco et al. 1989). These processes of reshaping the identity are long-lasting and indeed have been cited as problematic in their management in transitions when leaving the military. Military culture and the identities created as a product of immersion within it have also been having a negative impact on help-seeking for mental and emotional support. So, what we see is a complex array of forces and influences at work linked to identity and enculturation in the military. Despite leaving the military, it is unlikely that any retirees will relinquish all aspects of their sense of self or identity that is borne from the military principles and values immediately or at all (Herman and Yarwood 2014). Tapping into service personnel’s disposition for compliance with authority is without question a core aim of the design of the Oath on Exit. However, what appears to go unnoticed is the potential consequences for those who contemplate or break the Oath, in particular on their sense of self and identity. The issues here are manifold. To begin, suicide, as Vatne and Nåden (2012) contend, exists as a morally objectionable act. To take one’s own life has historically been viewed through religious, cultural and legal lenses as an act of deviance and in some instances has been actively

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criminalized. Those feeling suicidal may be acutely aware of such potential judgements, and for some, it may dissuade them from embarking on any concrete plans. So, how helpful may Mast’s proposition in the Oath on Exit for veterans to seek support from ‘fellow veterans’ be? Well, this may well be positive, and it is likely that an understanding will be struck given commonality of experience. Peer networks have been cited widely as excellent sources to mitigate suicide risk (see Shekelle et al. 2009, for an overview of prevention strategies). However, let us consider the veteran who does exist in a situation of suicidal crisis – what for the impact of breaking the Oath? The symbolism of the Oath for a veteran can be striking. It represents a pledge made that is saturated with military values that do not dissipate at the point of leaving service. These are also values collectively maintained and rehearsed among many veteran communities. Honour, sense of duty, self-sacrifice, trust and comradeship are pillars of the cultural landscape for those in the military and for many veterans too in civilian society. So does an attempt of suicide, for the veteran concerned, signify a break of the Oath and a distancing from such military virtues, and if it does, what effect may this have on them? Aside from a focus on the military, shame reactions after a suicide attempt are not uncommon. In Wiklander et al.’s (2003) qualitative analysis, shame and ‘failure’ (in the context of suicide not being successful) are accompanied by tendencies not to wish to seek help. Withdrawal and self-stigmatization may be outcomes of the veteran suicide survivor. This can be further complicated because of the antithesis of the act versus the obligations for adherence to the Oath on Exit and the military values incorporated into identity. Further self-deprecating behaviours such as guilt for disobedience, shame for a morally objectionable act, contriteness for any selfishness and self-reproach for not exhibiting the mental strength to overt a suicide attempt may all circulate. The burden of guilt and shame for perceived disloyalty to their service caused by a breach of the Oath could be catastrophic. If this breach in and of itself is a major burden for the veteran, then risks are abounding, not the least that various research among adult populations aver that guilt and shame do in fact exacerbates suicidal ideation (Bryan et al. 2013).

Conclusion So, our discussion here asks whether taking an Oath on Exit is a complicating factor for those leaving the military. Stigma towards mental illness in the military is a cause for concern (Ben-Zeev et al. 2012). So too that veterans who are suicide survivors also have elevated risks of suicide mortality (Weiner et  al. 2011). If an attempted breach of an Oath on Exit occurs, feelings of shame and guilt may arise or be compounded linked to the perceived failures of adherence to approved military virtues and cultural influences. Questions also arise on whether the furtherance of an Oath on Exit is to divert attention away from or respond to calls for enhanced medical and social provision for military veterans. As it stands, and as we have argued, planners in this area could


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be accused of a measure being introduced that is more weighted towards benefits to the military and the government, rather than veterans themselves. Further examination and modelling of how such introductions would impact on current and future service provision for veterans is needed. Moreover, coercive care through an Oath on Exit cannot be seen as a panacea to the problem of veteran suicide. The individualizing of responsibility in this example is impactful, and this may bring about unintended consequences, especially in cases of suicide survivors. The propensity for veterans to feel shame and guilt can be exacerbated because of their unique military identity, something which must not be overlooked when debating such issues that are so consequential.

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Editor’s Conclusion

Drawing upon the work of Willard Waller (1944, p. 1), we introduced this collection with reference to the veteran as an identity which occupies ‘every history’, ‘in every age and in every nation’. Noting that the very term ‘veteran’ is fraught with complexities and lacking in ‘conceptual clarity’ as James Treadwell (2016) claims, we stated our aim for this text, which was to explore two broad questions. The first was to ask how veterans are identified by the nations for whom they served, before asking what the consequences of this identification process are for people (i.e. military veterans of various nations) and policy – or the character of the social policies which emerge in response. We suggested this line of questioning as fundamental to any critical appreciation of how the veteran shapes and is shaped by societies. In doing so, the distinct, interdependent, yet opaque relationship between veterans and the state for whom they served can start to be attended to. Following McLean and Elder (2007, p. 188) proposals that: …the effect of service lies in its larger social context, the forces that impel people to serve in the military, the political factors that shape the military experience, and the opportunities afforded to service members' on leaving service.

We believe that all of the contributions made in this collection affirm the necessity of a critical veteran studies and the need to glean a more reflexive understanding of the veteran, globally. What we have learned, perhaps unsurprisingly that while our international ambitions are crucial in a comparative sense, to study the veteran is one that must be attentive to the specificity of cultures and politics of each nation, temporally. Across all chapters, how veterans are identified by the nations for whom they served is complex, depending upon how and what a nation recognises as constitutive of a ‘military past’. Through recognition (or indeed lack of recognition) veteran-state relations are formed, maintained and sustained – dictating how one experiences the possibilities of a ‘civilian present’. We hope that the remainder of this concluding note will encourage an active dialogue and critique – all of which will move us forward. © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,



Editor’s Conclusion

Recognising Military Pasts How each nation defines a ‘veteran’ is inherently political, and it would be problematic to assume that all of those who have served their country are afforded this status or to suspect that all of those who have served their country would want this status bestowed upon them. As the authors of this collection demonstrate, the identification of veterans in each of the nations which they describe is immersed in contemporary history  – shaped over time by conflicting processes of recognition, resistance and systems of representation. We must then remain mindful of the political processes that construct the boundaries of the knowledge which emerges from defining processes. As Michael Shapiro (2001, p.319) explains, these processes are ‘contests over the alternative understandings’ that represent a variety of spaces in which identities can be formed. Perhaps then, the first step for our mandate to critical veteran studies is to analyse from a position of recognisability and recognising how processes of intelligibility are articulated – and thus how the truths about who counts as a veteran are formed. The term veteran is far from universal, meaning many different things within and across nations. For example, as Burdett et al. (2012, p. 2) explain, what it means to be a ‘veteran’ or recognised as such ‘can connote different things to different people, whether military personnel, national governments, or the general public’. We will return to this in a short while, but first, how were veterans identified across the chapters of this book? Australia  While those who have seen active combat and those who have not, reasons for discharge and the most contemporary of combat experiences all play a role in how the public, veteran services and veteran populations themselves understand the term. The Australian Government state that a veteran is anyone who has served in uniform for at least 1 day of basic training. Canada  Here we see a concerted effort to limit the veteran category and to make very clear distinctions between ‘old’ and ‘new’ veterans. Enshrined in the New Veterans Charter, concerns about how the pervasive nature of the term might dilute its cultural meaning are evidenced. Still, one might be defined as veteran if their discharge is honourable, and they completed basic training. Croatia  We have learned that the veteran identity is complicated by the involvement of non-military volunteers in the Homeland war. In more recent years, Croatia has undergone a substantial restructuring to reform defence and security mechanisms which will impact upon how the veteran is recognised and resisted in the future. Estonia  Those who are still serving in Estonian Defence Forces are identified as veterans, as are those who have taken part in the military defence of the country and those who sustained permanent incapacity. Importantly, service in WWII or Soviet-­ Afghan War (1979–1998) is not recognised or eligible for veteran status.

Editor’s Conclusion


Netherlands  Depending on the conflict, one can also be a veteran in the Netherlands if they are still serving. They consider anyone who is ex-military of Dutch nationality who have served the Kingdom in war conditions. Rather than ‘old and new’, in this context veterans are referred to as ‘old’ or ‘young’, and this has been the case since 2010. Nigeria  The authors of this chapter explain that in Nigeria there are three separate categories of veterans. The first are those considered ‘pre-independence WWI’, the second grouping are understood as ‘pre-independence WWII’, and lastly the third distinguishable group are those identified as ‘post-independence veterans’. United Kingdom  The official definition of a veteran in the United Kingdom is anyone who has served for at least 1 day and received payment. This wide-reaching and inclusive definition extends to the ‘armed forces community’, affording immediate family members access to specific veteran services. In reality, the veteran status is subject to a form of hierarchy which is connected to the nature of service (e.g. combat vs. non-combat roles). United States  The United States defines veterans as ‘… a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonourable’ (Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations – Code § 101). Federal law affords veteran status only to those who have served ‘honorably’ in the US armed forces or those discharged because of a service-connected disability. There will be those who leave the military under different discharges  – other than honourable conditions discharge, bad conduct discharge and dishonourable discharge  – their access to veteran status, and their eligibility for veteran benefits, is almost certainly affected and could well be a complicating factor in their transition from the armed forces. In the introduction to this text, we suggested that definitional issues would not be easily resolvable. Moreover, as various chapters of this book illustrated, studies must now go further in their analysis and contemplate the character of the interface between veterans as a group and as individuals, social policy, the homecoming and transition. Importantly, veterans should not be studied as passive actors; on the contrary, their deliberate and concerted attempts to influence public agendas are vital. The voice of military veterans and their involvement in political, national and social issues is at times visible. While rarely formally acknowledged in policy (and indeed in academic literature), veteran pressure groups are proving an interesting development in terms of influencing agenda setting and policy-making forums. Worldwide, military veterans and their families and supporters have been extremely active in recent years, as their emerging voices can be seen as a mode of unprecedented activism from this community. Military veteran groups have organised advocacy campaigns, begun promoting discussion on current research evidence and have increasingly made links to policy-makers and stakeholders, apparently aiming to influence governmental agendas.


Editor’s Conclusion

Military veterans are increasingly grouping, as seen in the establishment of UK-based campaign groups like UK Veterans-One Voice and UK Veterans for Peace. In America, veterans’ groups were marshalling and joining others to occupy Wall Street in 2015 and in 2017, to protest against the Dakota access pipeline. In Croatia in 2015 war veterans occupied the public square in front of the war office in Zagreb. In 2011, Canadian veterans staged their second annual Day of Protest against lack substantive reform to the New Veterans Charter. In Africa, members of the War Veterans’ Association joined anti-Mugabe protests in Harare in 2017. In Melbourne, Australia, veterans’ families protested at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to calling for a Royal Commission in 2017, in response to rising numbers of Afghanistan veterans committing suicide. Estonia celebrated its first Veterans Day in 2013 and had a dedicated veterans policy kaitseministeerium (Estonian Military of Defence 2012). 2017 saw WWII veterans participate in the Annual Independence march in Warsaw, Poland. In the Netherlands in 2017, military veterans protested to influence cabinet membership. In China, thousands of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) veterans protested in Beijing in 2017, over pensions, healthcare and other demobilization benefits that were promised but not delivered. In Northern Ireland, in 2017, the Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans group staged a rally in Belfast in protest against what they called ‘imbalanced’ investigations into killings by soldiers in the Troubles, in Belfast. Increasingly, we see signs of military veterans themselves presenting and campaigning on matters of social justice and civil liberties (those directly affecting groups such as themselves and others citizens/environment). As a consequence, their visibility and coverage through various media channels are becoming more pronounced to a global audience. Further, increasingly the grouping of veterans occurs transnationally or internationally, through the establishment of groups like Veterans for Peace, highlighting the possibilities of such modes of activism from the grassroots level. Experience of transition, we have learned, from the military will vary significantly because of the varied nature of military service and the geopolitical contexts that military work takes place within. Conventional approaches to veteran studies offer some but only limited insights in issues such as the contemporaneous world of new wars, conflict and securitisation. Connections and disconnections in policy and practice supporting those transitioning from the military exist in countries such as the United Kingdom and beyond. Globally policy differs, and enquiry into the realities of transition in practice versus policy in principle was documented with acuity across chapters in this volume. Rights of healthcare, welfare and state support are critically examined by authors, engaging readers with discussion, debate and evidence that the realities of transition from military service may be far less compatible with more orthodox understandings.

Editor’s Conclusion


Towards Critical Veteran Studies The personal problem of war, when it occurs, may be how to survive it or how to die with honour; how to make money out of it; how to climb into the higher safety of the military apparatus; or how to contribute to the war’s termination. In short, according to one’s values, to find a set of milieu and within it survive the war or make one’s death in it meaningful. But the structural issues of war have to so with its causes; with the types of men it throws up into command; with its effects upon economic. Political, family and religious institutions, with the unorganised irresponsibility of a world of nation-states. (Mills 1970, p. 9)

While we have learned that a study of the veteran is much broader than a study of war, C. Wright Mills (1970) proposals of how we might better exercise our ‘sociological imaginations’ are significant here. To take this line of enquiry is to subscribe to the belief that ‘neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both’ and the ‘intricate connections’ between individual biographies, and the subjectivities that are realised, are connected to the ‘kinds of history-making in which they might take part’ (IBID 1959 p. 4). To take this line of enquiry is also to pay careful attention to the distinction between ‘the personal troubles of milieu’ and the ‘public issues of the social structure’ (Ibid p.  8). Encouraged by this approach, how might we place the military veteran at the centre of our sociological imaginations? Upon what epistemological premise should such imagining take place? Is it a matter of replacing dominant symbolism, discourse or aesthetics or adding to them? So where does this leave us? Through this collection we have sought to give the veteran the analytic attention it warrants in the hope that their position can be more critically understood. While not in any way exhaustive of its possibilities and features, we suggest that a critical veteran study includes but is by no means limited to the following broad characteristics: 1. A critical appreciation of how the veteran is shaped and shapes culture and society. Paying particular attending to how gender, ethnicity and sexuality might rework and disrupt the normative. 2. To render visible the connection between ex-military personnel as individuals and the State. Paying particular attention to the concerns of modes of intelligibility and the ‘truths’ which emerge through the policies formed. 3. A critical analysis of policy responses to the veteran. Paying particular attention to contested spaces and interests served through Veteran-State relations. 4. A further exploration of ‘military citizenship’ and ‘combat capital’ (see Trundle, 2013 and Wilkinson, 2017) in such a way that the political, legal, social, economic and cultural life of veterans and their transition are of equal intellectual concern. Paying particular attention to the multiple actors who dictate how each are experienced – referencing how conscription and professionalization feature – and demanding a recognition of agency for all involved.


Editor’s Conclusion

5. To ‘give voice’ to veterans through in-depth qualitative study which recognises participants as both constructed and constructing. Ontology seen this way recognises, as David Gadd and Jefferson (2007) did, the imperfect nature of thought of the human subject as an embodiment of culture and sentiment caught up in a nexus of personal meaning frames derived from biography, society and history. 6. To develop a conceptual and active dialogue with the public which moves discourses beyond strictly medical models and is attendant to how the veteran identity functions both socially and politically, ensuring that veterans’ activism is central to the debate.

References Burdett, H., Woodhead, C., Iversen, A. C., Wessely, S., Dandeker, C., & Fear, N. T. (2012). “Are you a veteran?” understanding of the term “veteran” among UK ex-service personnel. Armed Forces & Society, 39(4), 751–759. Gadd, D., & Jefferson, T. (2007). Psychosocial criminology. London: Sage. MacLean, A., & Elder, G. H. (2007). Military service in the life course. Annual Review of Sociology, 33(1), 175–196. Shapiro, M. (2001). Textualizing global politics. In M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. Yates (Eds.), Discourse theory and practice: A reader. London: Sage. Treadwell, J. (2016). The Forces in the Firing Line? Social Policy and the ‘Acceptable Face’ of Violent Criminality. In R. McGarry & S. Walklate (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Criminology and War. Palgrave Macmillan. Trundle, C. (2013). Memorialising the veterans body: New Zealand nuclear test veterans and the search for military citizenship. In K. McSorley (Ed.), War and the body: Militarisation, practice and experience. London: Routledge. Waller, W. (1944). The veteran comes back. San Francisco, CA: The Dryden Press. Wilkinson, H. (2017). No man’s land? Veterans’ experiences of 21st century warfare and the return to post-conflict life. Unpublished doctoral Thesis. Keele University. Wright Mills, C. (1970). The sociological imagination (2nd ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin.


A Abuse, 9, 64 Accidents, 78, 80 Accountability, 83, 110 Activism, 18, 23 Activists, 19, 82 Adaptation, 49 Addictions, 59 Adjustment, 17, 25, 63, 66, 88, 111 Advocacy, 17 Afghanistan, 8, 17, 21, 60, 61, 95, 109 Aftercare, 60, 66 Agencies, 2, 6, 11, 45, 88, 98, 100, 108 Aggression, 93, 94, 98 Anxieties, 2, 5, 80, 87, 110, 112 Austerity, 11 B Barracks, 48, 93, 113 Belonging, 5, 12, 45, 54 Biography, 125, 126 Bravery, 89, 113 Bullying, 9, 79 Bureaucracy, 1, 8, 9 C Camaraderie, 4, 11, 113 Capital, 12, 36, 44, 73, 93, 99–102, 110 Care, 6–12, 18, 22–24, 26, 27, 32, 34, 45, 52–54, 60, 61, 63, 83, 108, 112, 115, 118 Career, 2, 6, 7, 25, 48, 65, 76, 78, 88, 99, 116 Casualties, 7, 81 Civilians, 1, 17, 37, 43, 65, 71, 89, 109, 113

Cohesion, 10, 11, 96 Combat, 4, 7, 9, 18, 20, 21, 24, 27, 32, 50, 80, 81, 93, 101, 110, 111 Commemorations, 12, 77 Comradeship, 65, 117 Counselling, 8, 48, 51, 56 Crime, 87–103, 116 Criminality, 89–91, 102 Criminalization, 102, 117 Cultures, 4, 5, 10–12, 25–27, 32, 33, 36, 44, 55, 72, 88, 92–102, 107–118 D Deaths, 6, 9, 32, 74, 75, 79, 81, 110 Decriminalized, 116 Demobilization, 20 Democracies, 8, 36, 37 Democratic, 23, 32, 35–38, 76, 78 Deployments, 2, 4, 8, 20, 21, 24, 46, 47, 49–51, 54, 55, 94, 109, 110 Desistance, 87, 91, 92, 95, 97–103 Disabilities, 9, 10, 18, 20, 22–24, 26, 27, 34, 111 Discipline, 4, 77, 78, 92, 98–100, 113 Discrimination, 26, 110 Disorders, 7, 21, 39, 81, 88, 90, 108, 110, 111 Drugs, 100 Duties, 5, 9, 26, 46, 51, 67, 73, 74, 116, 117 E Economy, 8, 17, 18, 20, 33–36, 50, 51, 55, 75, 115 Employment, 2, 8, 25, 33–35, 43, 44, 48, 59, 62, 78, 79, 87, 89, 92, 99

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 P. Taylor et al. (eds.), Military Past, Civilian Present, International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice,


128 Enlistment, 4, 92, 94 Exclusion, 97, 98 F Fears, 5, 115 Friendship, 51 G Gender, 3, 4, 17, 107, 113 Globalization, xxii Governments, 3, 6, 7, 11, 12, 17–24, 26, 27, 32, 34, 38, 44, 48, 61, 63, 64, 66–68, 71, 72, 74, 77, 82, 88, 110, 114, 115, 118 H Habitus, 5 Harassment, 6, 25, 26 Healthcare, 59, 62, 71, 83, 107, 110 Help-seeking, 88, 110, 112, 116 Homecomings, v Homelessness, 9, 17, 89, 110, 111 Honor, 116, 117 I Identities, 4, 5, 10, 31, 43–47, 55, 56, 65, 75, 89, 91–102, 107–109, 111–113, 116–118 Illness, 7, 9, 12, 21, 63, 80, 108, 111, 117 Impairments, 111 Income, 11, 12, 25, 35, 59, 62, 72 Injuries, 2, 7, 9, 18, 21, 24–27, 49–52, 54, 64, 68, 81, 108–110, 114 Institutionalised, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 37 Isolation, 9, 94, 101, 116 J Jail, 94 Justice, v, 6, 9, 87–103, 107, 110 L Labelling, 7, 60, 67, 93, 97, 98 Labor, 107–118 Life-threatening, 61, 63, 66 Loneliness, 64 Loyalty, 5, 9, 76, 77, 96, 97, 113, 116

Index M Maladjustment, 7 Marginalization, 76, 110 Masculinities, 20, 95–97, 102, 114 Media, 6, 17, 32, 34, 39, 45, 47, 64, 65, 67, 68, 89, 90, 102, 114 Memorials, 89 Militarism, 6, 9 N Navy, 4, 5, 24, 75, 94, 113 Neoliberalism, 18, 21 Nuclear, 75 O Oaths, 108, 111, 112, 114–118 Obedience, 4, 100, 113 Offender, 87–103 Officers, 4, 21, 48, 73, 75, 78, 79, 83, 93, 110 P Patriarchy, 5, 32 Patriotism, 2, 83 Peacekeeping, 20, 21, 49, 55, 60, 61, 80 Pensions, 7, 18, 20–24, 27, 33–35, 76, 82 Policy, v, 1, 9, 17, 18, 20–27, 43, 45, 46, 48, 49, 51–56, 60–63, 67, 68, 72, 73, 75, 82, 88, 107–109, 112–114 Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 7–9, 11–13, 39, 63, 64, 71, 79–81, 101, 110, 111 Prejudices, 108, 110 Pride, 47, 100, 113 Prisoners, 7, 24 Privacy, 110 Psychiatry, 7, 81 PTSD, see Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) R Race, 78 Ranks, 4, 11, 24, 46, 73, 79, 95, 113 Recovery, 75 Recruitment, 6, 24, 71, 74, 110 Reintegration, 9, 21, 39, 98, 102 Remembrance, 77, 89, 114 Reservist, 88 Resettlement, 2, 77, 88

Index S Sacrifice, 6–8, 12, 24, 32, 54, 77, 89 Safety, 50, 56, 77, 83, 112 Screening, 110 Self-esteem, 4, 45, 51, 54, 66 Self-harm, 107–118 Sexually, 25, 79 Shame, 9, 64, 99, 117, 118 Socialization, 1, 4–6, 97, 99, 101 Socio-economic, 34 Stereotypes, 4, 9, 26, 67, 108 Stigmatization, 108, 116 Stresses, 4, 5, 10, 21, 25, 35, 38, 39, 46, 48, 54, 64, 91, 108 Suicide, 1, 8, 10, 12, 39, 63, 107–118 T Taboos, 108 Therapies, 12, 112, 116 Toughness, 9, 95

129 Transitions, v, 1, 17, 19, 21, 25, 31–39, 43–56, 59–69, 71, 72, 77–83, 109, 116 Traumas, 2, 3, 7–9, 12, 13, 18, 24–27, 39, 81, 109, 110 U Unemployment, 9, 20, 34, 35, 54, 59, 62, 79, 110 V Veteranality, 31, 89 Veteranology, xix, xx Victims, 31–39, 89 Violence, 9, 25, 27, 39, 61, 64, 90–102, 110 Vulnerabilities, 33, 56, 108 W Warfare, 37, 74, 89 Well-being, 19, 21, 44, 50, 53, 55, 56, 62, 63, 96