Military psychology as a discipline that is concerned with recruiting, training, socializing, employing, deploying, motivating, rewarding, managing, integrating, retaining transfer, learning, supporting, counseling, and healing military members.
(Lawrence and Matthews, 2012). It is an area of study and application of psychological principles and methods to the military environment (Gall and Mangeldorff, 1991). it is also defined as the application of research techniques and principles of psychology to the resolution of problems to either optimize the capabilities of ones on military forces or minimize the enemies’ capability to conduct war (Walters, 1968). Cronin (1998) goes on to define military psychology as the application of psychological principles to be a military environment regardless of who is involved or where the work is conducted. In common parlance, it is also defined as the application of research techniques, and application of psychological theories and empirical data towards understanding, predicting, design, and countering behaviors in either friendly or enemy forces or civilian populations that may be undesirable, threatening, or potentially dangerous to the conduct of military operations ( military psychology, n.d.). Moreover, Cronin (2003) goes on to equate it with a microcosm that embraces psychological disciplines and which affects almost all expects of military settings. Further, Kreuger 2003 highlights the following nature of psychological research in military settings:
1- Recruitment, selection, placement, training, and retention of military personnel.
2- prediction and enhancement of competent performance in harsh environments.
3- human engineering design of complex weapon systems for effective use of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.
4- training procedures to mold well- honda military teams by maximizing specialized differential skills to permit success on a tough mission.
5- soldiers coping mechanisms for deployment to foreign lands, or to carry out extended hours of work, or to work under austere conditions.
6- soldiers’ abilities to adjust to countless intricacies of the military lifestyle.
7- As a defense point of view, the collection and interpretation of large amounts of psychological data to assist military leaders and civilian authorities in making smart decisions and informed policies that affect millions of military members and their families.
Hence, it can be said that military psychology is both the science and art of understanding and employing the principles of organization, effect, and behavior in military contexts to optimize the selection, training, adaptation, and performance of soldiers in diverse roles of building peace and maintaining security.
A century of military psychology: concepts, Trends, and interventions
Although psychological practices were deep-seated in the military functioning since ages as is evident in the slokas (Sanskrit verses) of Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, Sun Tzu’s Art of war and the Clausewitz’s On war, etc. However, WW-1 can be considered as the defining moment for the official Inception of psychology to the military with the introduction of the first intelligence test for the selection of men in 1917. The episode will complete in hundred years in 2017. Since 1917, the discipline has traveled a long distance while experiencing many crests and troughs through its journey. There has been a war-wise spurt in the arena of military psychology largely depending upon the need of the Warring Nations, the development of soldiers to various operations, and military settings with changing geo-political and strategic milieu. Windlass and Vallence (1964) opine that military psychology might be considered an offshoot of Industrial Psychology, but one which has come through luxurious growth demands independent recognition. Consequently, newer concepts, trends, and interventions were witnessed in its Ambit. on the basis of the recorded history of soldiers’ deployment to operation/ wars and the associated deployment of psychology against emerging challenges.