Military Social Work is extremely important. Social workers that focus on the military provide services for numerous diverse issues such as substance abuse, family violence, mental illness and overall health, coping and wartime trauma. They have also provided indirect services through policy development, screening of recruits and advocating for increased social services for military personnel and their families (Daley 437-438). Furthermore, military social workers offer intra-military perspectives to improve service functioning, ensure the highest quality of professionalism within their field, and spread cumulative historically effective technologies (Daley 439). All of these direct and indirect services hope to better the lives of individuals in the military, families of individuals in the military, and ultimately hope to increase awareness of how important it is to have these services provided at all military levels.
With an annual military budget of $272.9 billion and a military force of 1,481,760 personnel, it is no doubt that the United States carries a huge investment in the military (Daley 439). Here are some important facts to know about military social work in the United States:
- Social workers have provided services to the United States military since 1918.
- The U.S. has increased social work in the military from solely mental health clinicians to providing services for violence prevention, mental health, substance abuse treatment, medical social work, support and wellness programs, combat stress response teams and many more.
- The first enlisted army social workers were in 1945.
- There are currently 150 army social work officers, 31 navy social work officers, 215 air force social work officers and around 600 civilian social workers who work directly with the military programs (which is miserably understaffed for its mission!!!!).
- Military and civilian social workers are required to have at least an MSW degree (but many also have a PhD).
Sources: Daley, J. G. (n.d.). Military Social Work. International Social Work.