A Hard Look at Casualty Numbers

Soldiering is a dangerous business -- even in peacetime -- and we mourn the death of any member of our armed forces no matter what its cause.  A new report for members of Congress from the Congressional Research Service provides some astounding statistics:

During the five-year period from March 19, 2003 to April 5, 2008, 4,005 members of our armed forces died in Operation Iraqi Freedom from all causes including illness and accident.  This averages 801 deaths per year -- and every one a tragedy.

But the CRS also reports that in 2003, the total number of deaths among members of the active-duty US armed forces totaled 1,410 -- which means that Iraq accounted for a bit more than 50 percent of the total.  The corresponding numbers for 2004 are 1,873, for 2005 up slightly to 1,941 and for 2006 down slightly to 1,875.

What's astonishing is that the corresponding number of active-duty deaths for 1982 -- President Reagan's first full year in office -- is 2,319.  In 1989 - when President Reagan left office in January to be succeeded by President George H.W. Bush - total military deaths were 1,693.

In short, what the CRS study shows is that each year between 1,000 and 2,000 members of our active-duty armed forces die regardless of whether we're at war or peace.

In case you were wondering, back in 1980 -- President Jimmy Carter's last full year in office -- the total number of active-duty military deaths was 2,392 - higher than the number in any year of George W. Bush's presidency.

Read the CRS report; it's an eye-opener.

Update from Dennis Sevakis:
                
 Some perspective on the number of military deaths during the Iraq/Afghanistan war years versus earlier periods 
 Figures in yellow are the rates per 100,000 of total full-time-equivalent (FTE) military personnel.  
 
  NUMBER OF MILITARY DEATHS BY CAUSENUMBER OF MILITARY PERSONNEL 
             SelectedTotal 
  CalendarTotal Hostile   SelfTerroristUnde-ActiveFull-TimeReserveMilitary 
  YearDeathsAccidentActionHomicideIllnessPendingInflictedAttackterminedDuty (a)Guard/ResFTE (b)FTE 
 REAGAN19812,3801,524 145457 241 132,093,03222,00091,7192,206,751 
  19822,3191,495 108446 254 162,112,60941,00097,4582,251,067 
  19832,4651,41318115419 218263192,123,90949,000100,4552,273,364 
  19841,9991,293184374 2256162,138,33955,000104,5832,297,922 
  19852,2521,476 111363 2755222,150,37964,000108,8062,323,185 
  19861,9841,1992103384 269 272,177,84569,000113,0102,359,855 
  19871,9831,17237104383 2602252,166,61171,000115,0862,352,697 
  19881,8191,080 90321 28517262,121,65972,000115,8362,309,495 
  TOTAL17,20110,652588603,147 2,027293164     
  AVG / YR2,1501,3327108393 25337212,135,54855,375105,8692,296,792 
  RATE/100k9458051701121     
 BUSH I19891,6361,0002358294 224 372,112,12874,200117,0562,303,384 
  19901,507880 74277 2321432,046,80674,250137,2682,258,324 
  19911,787931147112308 256 331,943,93770,250184,0022,198,189 
  19921,293676 109252 2381171,773,99667,850111,4911,953,337 
  TOTAL6,2233,4871703531,131 9502130     
  AVG / YR1,5568724388283 2381331,969,21771,638137,4542,178,309 
  RATE/100k7140241301101     
 CLINTON19931,213632 86221 2362991,675,26968,500105,7681,849,537 
  19941,075544 83206 232 101,581,64965,00099,8331,746,482 
  19951,040538 67174 250741,502,34365,00094,5851,661,928 
  1996974527152173 18819141,456,26665,00092,4091,613,310 
  1997817433 42170 159 131,418,77365,00094,6091,578,382 
  1998827445 26168101613141,381,03465,00092,5361,538,570 
  1999796436 3715013145 151,367,83865,00093,1041,525,942 
  2000758398 34138 15117201,372,35265,00093,0781,530,430 
  TOTAL7,5003,95314271,400231,5227599     
  AVG / YR93849405317531909121,469,44165,43895,7401,630,573 
  RATE/100k5730031101211     
 BUSH II2001891437349185114055211,384,81265,000102,2841,552,196 
  200299954718511906160 271,411,20066,000149,9421,627,142 
  20031,2284403443620716167 181,423,34866,000243,2841,732,632 
  20041,8746047394627019188 81,411,28766,000234,6291,711,916 
  20051,9426327394928172150 191,378,01466,000220,0001,664,014 
  20061,85846575330205238155 121,378,01466,000220,0001,664,014 
  TOTAL8,7923,1252,5962611,33835296055105     
  AVG / YR1,46552143344223591609181,397,77965,833195,0231,658,652 
  RATE/100k88312631341011     
   
 http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf  
   
 Source: Defense Manpower Data Center, Statistical Information Analysis Division, 
 [http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/Death_Rates.pdf], accessed on June 27, 2007. 
 Notes: As of February 28, 2007 (reflects preliminary counts for 2006 and revised figures for 2004 AND 2005). 
 a. Official Department of Defense end-strengths as of December 31 for military pay accounts. 
     Excludes full time Guard and Reserve. 
 b. Full time equivalent (FTE) is based on official Department of Defense fiscal year end selected 
     reserve strength (10% of the figure is used to estimate days on active duty). 
Soldiering is a dangerous business -- even in peacetime -- and we mourn the death of any member of our armed forces no matter what its cause.  A new report for members of Congress from the Congressional Research Service provides some astounding statistics:

During the five-year period from March 19, 2003 to April 5, 2008, 4,005 members of our armed forces died in Operation Iraqi Freedom from all causes including illness and accident.  This averages 801 deaths per year -- and every one a tragedy.

But the CRS also reports that in 2003, the total number of deaths among members of the active-duty US armed forces totaled 1,410 -- which means that Iraq accounted for a bit more than 50 percent of the total.  The corresponding numbers for 2004 are 1,873, for 2005 up slightly to 1,941 and for 2006 down slightly to 1,875.

What's astonishing is that the corresponding number of active-duty deaths for 1982 -- President Reagan's first full year in office -- is 2,319.  In 1989 - when President Reagan left office in January to be succeeded by President George H.W. Bush - total military deaths were 1,693.

In short, what the CRS study shows is that each year between 1,000 and 2,000 members of our active-duty armed forces die regardless of whether we're at war or peace.

In case you were wondering, back in 1980 -- President Jimmy Carter's last full year in office -- the total number of active-duty military deaths was 2,392 - higher than the number in any year of George W. Bush's presidency.

Read the CRS report; it's an eye-opener.

Update from Dennis Sevakis:
                
 Some perspective on the number of military deaths during the Iraq/Afghanistan war years versus earlier periods 
 Figures in yellow are the rates per 100,000 of total full-time-equivalent (FTE) military personnel.  
 
  NUMBER OF MILITARY DEATHS BY CAUSENUMBER OF MILITARY PERSONNEL 
             SelectedTotal 
  CalendarTotal Hostile   SelfTerroristUnde-ActiveFull-TimeReserveMilitary 
  YearDeathsAccidentActionHomicideIllnessPendingInflictedAttackterminedDuty (a)Guard/ResFTE (b)FTE 
 REAGAN19812,3801,524 145457 241 132,093,03222,00091,7192,206,751 
  19822,3191,495 108446 254 162,112,60941,00097,4582,251,067 
  19832,4651,41318115419 218263192,123,90949,000100,4552,273,364 
  19841,9991,293184374 2256162,138,33955,000104,5832,297,922 
  19852,2521,476 111363 2755222,150,37964,000108,8062,323,185 
  19861,9841,1992103384 269 272,177,84569,000113,0102,359,855 
  19871,9831,17237104383 2602252,166,61171,000115,0862,352,697 
  19881,8191,080 90321 28517262,121,65972,000115,8362,309,495 
  TOTAL17,20110,652588603,147 2,027293164     
  AVG / YR2,1501,3327108393 25337212,135,54855,375105,8692,296,792 
  RATE/100k9458051701121     
 BUSH I19891,6361,0002358294 224 372,112,12874,200117,0562,303,384 
  19901,507880 74277 2321432,046,80674,250137,2682,258,324 
  19911,787931147112308 256 331,943,93770,250184,0022,198,189 
  19921,293676 109252 2381171,773,99667,850111,4911,953,337 
  TOTAL6,2233,4871703531,131 9502130     
  AVG / YR1,5568724388283 2381331,969,21771,638137,4542,178,309 
  RATE/100k7140241301101     
 CLINTON19931,213632 86221 2362991,675,26968,500105,7681,849,537 
  19941,075544 83206 232 101,581,64965,00099,8331,746,482 
  19951,040538 67174 250741,502,34365,00094,5851,661,928 
  1996974527152173 18819141,456,26665,00092,4091,613,310 
  1997817433 42170 159 131,418,77365,00094,6091,578,382 
  1998827445 26168101613141,381,03465,00092,5361,538,570 
  1999796436 3715013145 151,367,83865,00093,1041,525,942 
  2000758398 34138 15117201,372,35265,00093,0781,530,430 
  TOTAL7,5003,95314271,400231,5227599     
  AVG / YR93849405317531909121,469,44165,43895,7401,630,573 
  RATE/100k5730031101211     
 BUSH II2001891437349185114055211,384,81265,000102,2841,552,196 
  200299954718511906160 271,411,20066,000149,9421,627,142 
  20031,2284403443620716167 181,423,34866,000243,2841,732,632 
  20041,8746047394627019188 81,411,28766,000234,6291,711,916 
  20051,9426327394928172150 191,378,01466,000220,0001,664,014 
  20061,85846575330205238155 121,378,01466,000220,0001,664,014 
  TOTAL8,7923,1252,5962611,33835296055105     
  AVG / YR1,46552143344223591609181,397,77965,833195,0231,658,652 
  RATE/100k88312631341011     
   
 http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf  
   
 Source: Defense Manpower Data Center, Statistical Information Analysis Division, 
 [http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/Death_Rates.pdf], accessed on June 27, 2007. 
 Notes: As of February 28, 2007 (reflects preliminary counts for 2006 and revised figures for 2004 AND 2005). 
 a. Official Department of Defense end-strengths as of December 31 for military pay accounts. 
     Excludes full time Guard and Reserve. 
 b. Full time equivalent (FTE) is based on official Department of Defense fiscal year end selected 
     reserve strength (10% of the figure is used to estimate days on active duty).