Composite Risk Management
What is it?
We recognize that our Soldiers and civilians are vital Army assets whether engaging the enemy, resetting at home station, or visiting family in their hometown. Composite Risk Management (CRM) is the Army’s primary risk management process for identifying and controlling risks across the full spectrum of Army missions, functions, operations, and activities.
CRM supplements a focus on the main operation with consideration of other risks to give a complete picture of exposure. There is no separation of tactical or accidental, deployed or garrison, field or work area, on duty or off duty risks—it is risk management 24/7. The enemy, materiel, the environment, and human factors—during a mission or outside of it—all interact. Commanders, leaders, and individual Soldiers and civilians apply CRM through the identification of all hazards then determining and applying appropriate control measures to mitigate those hazards.
What has the Army done?
The primary premise of CRM is that it does not matter where or how the loss occurs, the result is the same—decreased combat power or mission effectiveness. The guiding principles of CRM are:
- Integrate CRM into all phases of missions and operations, to include planning, preparation, execution, and recovery.
- Make risk decisions at the appropriate level. As a decision-making tool, CRM is only effective when the information is passed to the appropriate level of command for decision. Commanders are required to establish and publish approval authority for decision-making. This may be a separate policy, specifically addressed in regulatory guidance, or addressed in the commander’s training guidance. Approval authority for risk decision-making is usually based on guidance from higher headquarters.
- Accept no unnecessary risk. Accept no level of risk unless the potential gain or benefit outweighs the potential loss. CRM is a decision-making tool to assist the commander, leader, or individual in identifying, assessing, and controlling risks in order to make informed decisions that balance risk costs (losses) against mission benefits (potential gains).
- CRM is a continuous process applied across the full spectrum of Army training and operations, individual and collective day-to-day activities and events, and base operations functions. It is a process that is used to continuously identify and assess hazards, develop and implement controls, and evaluate outcomes. Because two thirds of Soldier losses occur off duty, leaders must truly know and understand their subordinates, then coach, teach, and mentor them to do the right thing even when no one’s watching.
- Do not be risk averse. Identify and control the hazards; complete the mission.
What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future?
While readiness and force preservation remain a commander and leader responsibility, we continue our efforts to create a culture in which everyone, down to the individual, applies CRM. CRM is an enabler of our success and the vehicle we are using to transform our mindset in how we address and mitigate risk. When this approach permeates how our Soldiers and civilian employees think, we have created a cultural change that views the preservation of human capital on a par with Army values. The Army will integrate these concepts into training in our schoolhouses, from initial military training to professional military education programs. In the operational force, the Army Readiness Assessment Program assesses unit safety climate and enables battalion commanders to improve integration of CRM in unit operations and activities.
Why is this important to the Army?
CRM links risk management to readiness and shifts our approach from accident-centric to people-centric. The lynchpin of successful CRM is engaged leaders at all echelons—engaged leaders who are actively involved with their formations’ activities on and off duty and who work tirelessly to preserve our combat power.