By ELISABETH BUMILLER NEW YORK TIMES Published: January 19, 2012
WASHINGTON — Suicides among active-duty soldiers hit another record high in 2011, Army officials said on Thursday, although there was a slight decrease if nonmobilized Reserve and National Guard troops were included in the calculation.
“This is unacceptable,” Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the departing vice chief of staff of the Army, said at a news conference, referring to the jump in violent sex offenses. “We have zero tolerance for this.” General Chiarelli said factors driving the increase in sex crimes were alcohol use and new barracks that offered more privacy. He said it was also possible that reporting of the offenses had increased.
General Chiarelli said that 164 active-duty Army, National Guard, and Reserve troops took their own lives in 2011, compared with 159 in 2010 and 162 in 2009. The increase occurred even as the Army expanded suicide prevention efforts and drug and alcohol counseling, in large part in response to a steady rise in Army suicides that began in 2004.