Toward a Ready and Resilient Army -- Leaders' Responsibilities in R2C
November 12, 2013
Our Army Family has demonstrated remarkable strength fighting two wars over the past 12 years, and has built resiliency dealing with challenges from combat stress, illness, injury, and the strain placed on relationships. To arm Soldiers Families and Civilians with resources essential to maintaining resiliency and overcoming these challenges to the health of our force, the Army launched the Ready and Resilient Campaign (R2C).
The Army Resiliency Directorate executes R2C, and integrates existing programs such as the Army Suicide Prevention Program (ASPP), Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) and the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program to address specific issues. This campaign synchronizes our efforts to increase individual resilience and improve unit readiness by encouraging positive activities and reducing or eliminating harmful behaviors. R2C also focuses on eliminating stigma associated with getting help to address issues such as suicide and suicidal thoughts and ideations, sexual harassment/sexual assault, bullying and hazing, and substance abuse.
The campaign includes the Total Army -- Active, Army National Guard and Army Reserve -- and provides resiliency support to Soldiers, Army Civilians and Family members. R2C seeks to influence a cultural change in the Army by directly linking personal resilience to readiness, emphasizing individual responsibility to maintain resilience necessary for unit readiness.
The Army is focusing its resources along four lines of effort. First, we have begun a program capabilities assessment to determine how well existing Army programs address high risk behavior. The results of these assessments will drive how we refine policies and prioritize resources to improve available programs and services. Second, we are reviewing training and deployment requirements and incorporating resiliency training into institutional and unit level training to ensure our Soldiers build and maintain resilience from entry into the Army family through retirement. This integration emphasizes resiliency-focused training while affording leaders "white space" on training calendars. Third, we are conducting an Army-wide communications campaign to inform and educate the Total Army about Ready and Resilient efforts and supporting programs. The communication effort also focuses on reducing stigma for those seeking help, retaining public confidence in the Army, and informing and educating audiences about Ready and Resilient plans, policies and initiatives in order to help strengthen and maintain a healthy force. Developing policies, prioritizing resources, instituting resiliency training and communicating the campaign only go so far in developing a Ready and Resilient Army. Our most important line of effort is instilling resilience as an integral part of Army culture.
Effecting cultural change requires both institutional transformation and individual commitment to Army professionalism. We are incorporating the concepts of readiness and resiliency in the definition of the Army profession, to reinforce individual and institutional responsibility to maintain a profession committed the readiness and well-being of its members. Currently, Army organizations are implementing the "America's Army -- Our Profession" education and training program which emphasizes Army values, standards and discipline, customs, courtesies and traditions, military expertise and trust as cornerstones of Army professionalism. Building a culture of resiliency, combined with our other lines of effort, will allow us to increase individual resilience and improve unit readiness -- and all members of the Army Team have a role in the successful execution of this effort.
WHERE YOU FIT
I need your help to effect cultural change at the individual level. Without active engagement by leaders at all echelons, we cannot achieve Total Army Readiness and Resiliency. Army leaders are responsible for the readiness of their units; a cornerstone of a ready unit is the resiliency of the personnel within the unit. Leaders have a responsibility for influencing their team members' behavior, effecting cultural change, and encouraging team mates get help when they need it, all of which contribute to increased resiliency and improved readiness. There are five areas in which leadership focus will help us achieve a more ready and resilient Army.
First, every Army leader must know, and promote the use of, Army resources such as CSF2, Suicide Prevention Program and Hotlines and Substance Abuse Programs. Leaders must understand and articulate links between support programs and readiness and ensure that Soldiers, Families and Civilian personnel are aware of resources available.
Second, leaders must lead by example. We say this frequently, but I challenge you to ask yourself "what example am I setting?" Fostering a climate which exemplifies trust, respect, responsibility and self-discipline and which reinforces the idea of personal accountability and professionalism as core values is an essential enabler to building readiness and resiliency. The climate you set will also promote positive behaviors and will help eliminate stigma for those in need of behavioral health support because Soldiers, Families and Civilians know you value them personally and professionally; they know you care. They know you're committed to supporting their path to well being.
Equally important is how you convey the Army's values and standards. Leaders must consistently reinforce that inappropriate behaviors, such as sexual harassment/assault, hazing, and drug and alcohol abuse, will not be tolerated and are detrimental to unit readiness. All Army team members -- but especially leaders -- have a duty to intervene if they observe inappropriate activities, as such behaviors destroy unit cohesion and have no place in the Army Profession. Leaders who model the Army Values and live the Army Profession, and who ensure their leadership team does the same, will establish an environment in which their subordinates will be ready, resilient and Army Strong.
Additionally, Army leaders must know their personnel. As the Army shifts from an environment of multiple combat deployments to one of preparing for unknown contingencies, supporting regionally aligned forces and increasing home station training, leaders will face challenges keeping up with Soldiers and their Family. Senior leaders will need to mentor younger leaders on how to successfully operate in the training setting. Walking military and local living areas, engaging with personnel and keeping a finger on the pulse of the unit must be a regular and deliberate activity for leaders to maintain unit cohesion and to keep an eye out for warning signs of someone who may be struggling with personal or professional issues. Leaders should ensure all members of their unit are trained to look for indicators of a teammate in trouble and to know what to do if they suspect someone needs help.
Finally, leaders must take care of themselves. Ready and resilient units need ready and resilient leaders. Leaders who live a balanced life provide a model for their Soldiers to emulate. All leaders need to take time to decompress, get enough sleep, make an effort to eat healthy, and integrate physical fitness into their lives and the activities of their units. If you need help, seek it. Readiness, resiliency, and stigma reduction begins with you as an Army leader.
We have an opportunity to leverage your talent to make us a better team. As General Odierno has stated, "We have a window of opportunity here to make our Army better and stronger if we focus on the right things and resiliency is one of the right things that will make the Army stronger and more effective." As members of the Total Army Team, we must commit to investing in building enduring strength, resiliency and readiness, so that our Army is prepared to rapidly deploy and sustain a force which can prevent conflict, shape the security environment and win the Nation's wars. In leading the way in readiness and resiliency, Army leaders can reinforce the trust of Soldiers, Families and Civilians and retain the confidence of the American people in their Army.