Fixed terms of service is a matter of health and efficiency

The need to fix military service terms was the main topic of the briefing “The impact of combat fatigue and uncertainty about the service terms on the effectiveness and motivation of military personnel in wartime.”

Combat stress is a psychological response to extreme and dangerous situations that fighters experience during combat operations and missions, the maximum strain of all body components for a fighter to be effective.

According to studies of combat stress during the Afghan and Chechen wars, after six months in the combat zone, only 20% of personnel have increased adaptive abilities that help them cope with their tasks. Instead, 36.1% have persistent social and psychological maladjustment. And after 7-12 months in the combat zone, only 5.8% of respondents retain their increased adaptive abilities. The data were provided by Natalia Karhapoltseva, a member of the organization of servicemen’s families “Clear Terms of Service”.

She says that besides maladjustment, which directly affects the military’s performance, the length of stay in the combat zone without a fixed timeframe affects motivation. Equally important is the subsequent perception of heroes in society.

“If soldiers, who have served their time return to society, become veterans and continue to live a social life, this will be the image of a successful veteran that we as a society need. The problem is burnout. It must be solved. Once it is solved, we’ll put an end to the issue of justice for the guys who voluntarily went to protect this country and are now among the most vulnerable segments of the population. Secondly, by fixing the terms of service, we will increase the army’s efficiency, which cannot effectively perform its duties due to the exhaustion of its physiological and mental resources,” Natalia Karhapoltseva added.

Head of the NGO “Therapy of win!” Oleksandr Kolesnichenko believes that soldiers do not want to leave the army. On the contrary, many want to return to it after rehabilitation. When talking to the guys, he repeatedly heard that they are waiting for recovery and want to return to the units to join their brothers-in-arms.

Supporting the idea of fixing military service terms, Oleksandr Kolesnichenko noted that when our defenders raise this issue, they think, first of all about, the effectiveness of the army.

“We were attacked by one of the most powerful armies in the world with colossal human resources, equipment, aviation, and missiles. They have been using all this for three years now, and as they say, there is no end in sight. Therefore, we must take care of our defenders, think about them so that they are as effective and healthy as possible,” emphasized the head of the NGO “Therapy of win!”.

Psychologist and active serviceman Andriy Kozinchuk touched on the topic of emotional burnout in wartime.

“People are exhausted emotionally and physically. We can shed blood to the last fighter, as was the will of Taras Hryhorovych, but it is simply ineffective. There is a notion called emotional burnout. And although it has not been considered a disease until recently, now it  is included in the new version of the International Classification of Diseases. One of the contributing factors to emotional burnout is precisely the lack of deadlines, when we do not understand when all the trouble will end. People simply burn out emotionally, feel severe discomfort,” the psychologist noted. According to him, everyone burns out, including the commanders who make decisions – the commanders of brigades, battalions, that is, the middle command echelon. Because of this, their decisions can be irrational.

“We will say to them, “God, what terrible butchers you are.” However, they do not know the service terms either. Besides, no one knows the limit of his own physical resources – neither Syrskyi nor Zelenskyy. These are laws not so much of psychology as of biology.There is a service life for human heart, lungs, and liver. The same is true of the psyche, which is very strongly connected with biology. If we can’t fix the service terms, it would be really nice to have some kind of schedule. Now the country is suffering from blackouts and people are ready to accept it, but they need to know when electric power will be turned off and turned on. It is very important for our psyche to be able to somehow predict our lives,” concluded Andriy Kozinchuk.