Commentary: Fort Jackson ready for CSF role
February 12, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- In case you haven't been following this story line, it's worth repeating. Fort Jackson is playing a major role in the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program with the opening of the Master Resilience Training school this spring.
Beginning in April, Fort Jackson will offer a 10-day course in master resilience that will equip our leaders with the knowledge so that they can teach coping skills to members of their units.
Resilience -- which in this context refers to the ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back from adversity -- is a key term in defining the vision of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program itself. Master Resilience Training is one of four elements of the CSF program.
The mission of the CSF program is to develop and institute a holistic fitness program in order to enhance and build resilience. The Army believes that an emotionally and physically healthy force will result in a reduction in rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, domestic violence, and the list goes on.
I might add that this program is not only for Soldiers, but family members and Army civilians, also.
To borrow the words of CSF director Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, "Being Army Strong is, in fact, being more than just physically fit." She is absolutely on point.
We are arming our Soldiers with the mental tools and capabilities so that they can successfully deal with any challenges that they may face. The CSF program in itself is unique in that it is linked to the Army Career Tracker and the requirement for guided self-development.
A Global Assessment Tool will gauge five elements of Soldier fitness: physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family strength. In turn, assessments will help create the type of individual resilience training that each Soldier requires.
According to the CSF director, resiliency techniques have resulted in measurable improvements in other places where they have been implemented. For example, the Navy has provided 45 minutes of resiliency training a week in its basic training. The results are a higher number of graduates and a fewer number of psychological discharges.
I am a firm believer in the CSF program because it will teach Soldiers, family members and civilians to confront challenges in a positive way so that they will grow from these experiences. Resilience training will assist in analyzing more optimistic and realistic choices, rather than falling into a negative thought process. Having the lead in the Master Resilience Training will help Fort Jackson grow, as well.
The bottom line is that we will probably learn as much as we teach.