Successfully bridging the gap from the war to peace must be our highest priority.

For many warriors, isolation, a loss of purpose and a general unease stemming from a sense of ‘not belonging’ are staggering. We must also respect and accept that maladaptive behaviors are often the product of survival skills used under the most horrible conditions imaginable. Unfortunately, current Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs services have had limited success reintegrating many Exceptional Warriors back into their family, community, and unit after their service.

The results of the first-ever survey of Special Operations Forces from all four military branches show a highly trained force where small sectors are struggling with alcohol and drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, anger and an emotional disconnect. These results echo concerns raised in recent years by the commander of the nation’s 66,000 Special Operations Command, Navy Adm. William McRaven, who states that his force has become “frayed” after more than a decade of persistent conflict.

“I think that’s a gentle way to articulate what’s happening,” says Navy SEAL Capt. Thomas Chaby, appointed by McRaven to lead an effort to restore the force. ”‘Frayed’ I don’t think, captures how dire some of the findings are.”