General: Army has a 'discipline problem'

By ROBERT BURNS | October 5, 2011 | 10:20 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Army's top commander in Europe says discipline among soldiers is a problem that if not addressed could become "cancerous."

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling told a small group of reporters Wednesday that only a small percentage of soldiers lack proper discipline, but he stressed his concern that it be fixed, now that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down and more troops are returning to their home bases.

Hertling said soldiers need more training in the Army's professional values. And he said officers and commanders are guilty of too frequently overlooking what he called "acts of indiscipline." He cited as an example a failure to adequately punish soldiers for offenses such as drunken driving.

And he said discipline problems exist across the Army.