In This Issue

President's message


By Rebecca I. Porter, PhD

I was recently asked to review the explanation of Division 19 activities for the American Psychological Association's (APA's) handbook on ballot apportionment. Members of the Executive Committee and I crafted a couple of options—making sure to capture everything possible in 100 words or less. It was a little more difficult than it sounds. Here is what we submitted:

Division 19 encourages psychological research and practice relating to military issues and the needs of military personnel, such as selection and classification, adaptability screening, training, performance appraisal, recruitment and retention, individual and group performance enhancement, mental health assessment and promotion, and clinical treatment. Clients include military personnel and their families, veterans, leaders, and policy makers. Members include uniformed and civilian psychologists working in the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, consulting firms, colleges and universities, and private practice. The Division publishes a bimonthly journal ( Military Psychology ) and a triannual newsletter ( The Military Psychologist ) and presents awards at the APA Convention.

I suspect that there are people reading this now who can point to aspects of their own work that are not captured in the brief paragraph above. Indeed, military psychology is a broad field and is written about widely. There are so many facets to who military psychologists are and what we do that numerous books have been written on the topic. Here are some volumes that were edited by Division 19 members:

  • Military Psychology, Second Edition: Clinical and Operational Applications , edited by Carrie H. Kennedy and Eric A. Zillmer
  • The Oxford Handbook of Military Psychology , edited by Janice H. Laurence and Michael D. Matthews
  • Military Psychologists' Desk Reference , edited by Bret A. Moore and Jeffrey E. Barnett

There are many more books related to military psychology—the ones above simply represent some that have “military psychology” in the title. These and other volumes and articles articulate the work of our profession. I encourage all of us as members of Division 19 (the Society for Military Psychology) to become familiar with the contents of such work, and here is why:

  • As professionals in the field, it is incumbent upon us to be as widely and currently read in our field as possible.
  • A broader knowledge of the aspects of military psychology will help us to explain what we do to others who may be interested in collaborating with us or becoming part of the profession.
  • A thorough understanding of some of the nuances of military psychology will help us to clarify our varied roles for individuals who do not have adequate information and subsequently attack or ridicule military psychology without basis.
  • Familiarity with the authors of our field's literature has the potential to broaden and strengthen our network and thus strengthen the field of military psychology.

This message may not be telling you anything new, but I hope it reminds you to consider reading about our field as part of your professional development and, perhaps more importantly, part of how you can further the understanding and practice of military psychology.