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Misconduct forces more soldiers out

By Associated Press
Published On: Feb 18 2014 06:50:44 AM CST

WASHINGTON, D.C. -

Data shows a decade of war that put a greater focus on battle competence has resulted in a spike in soldiers forced out of the Army because of misconduct.

The information obtained by The Associated Press shows the number of officers who left the Army for drugs, alcohol, crimes and other misconduct more than tripled in the past three years. The number of enlisted soldiers forced out shot up from about 5,600 in 2007 to more than 11,000 last year.

The data also underscores the strains of long, repeated deployments.

It also reflects the Army's decisions to relax standards a bit to bring in and retain tens of thousands of soldiers during the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's top officer, tells the AP it wasn't a case of tolerating bad behavior but that "we might have lost focus on this issue."