Comprehensive Soldier Fitness addresses mental fitness, resilience
February 25, 2010
By Lori Newman
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- In today's Army, mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness.
Master Sgt. Thomas Barone, Noncommissioned Officers Academy, briefed Soldiers and civilians on Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and Master Resilience Training Feb. 18 during Leadership Call at the U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School.
"Even though you have the word fitness in the title, (Comprehensive Soldier Fitness) is talking about emotional fitness not physical fitness," Barone said.
Gen. George Casey defines Comprehensive Soldier Fitness as, "A structured, long-term assessment and development program to build the resilience and enhance the performance of every Soldier, Family member and DA civilian."
The four pillars to the CSF Program are:
The Global Assessment Tool - An online 240-question survey that is completed upon initial entry into the Army, annually, and 80-120 days post-deployment. There are four dimensions covered within the GAT - emotional, social, spiritual and Family. The online assessment takes about 13 to 15 minutes to complete and the scores are confidential. The GAT is mandatory for Soldiers and voluntary for Family members and DA civilians.
Self Development Modules - Online training modules that allow Soldiers the opportunity to important on each dimension of the GAT; helping Soldiers build on their strengths and improve on weaknesses. Level one module's are already in place, other modules are being developed.
Institutional Military Resilience Training - Soldiers will receive instruction on specific mental and physical skills to enhance performance when facing challenges in their professional or personal life, whether in garrison or in combat. This training will be taught in all U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command schools.
Master Resilience Trainers - Live the skills they have been taught; use the skills during formal and informal counseling; teach the skills they have learned; serve as the commander's adviser regarding CSF related issues and know when to refer Soldier for professional counseling. MRTs currently receive training at a civilian institution. In the long-term, the training will be taught at Fort Jackson, S.C.
There are three levels of Master Resilience Trainer. Level one is a company level representative who attends a 10-day course. Level two is a facilitator who has an additional five days of training and must serve as an MRT facilitator for at least one MRT course. The third level is a primary instructor who attends additional training and must serve as an MRT facilitator on at least two MRT courses before they titled as a primary instructor.
"MRT gives Soldiers, Family members and DA civilians the tools to overcome adversity and be resilient in our ever-changing Army," Barone said.
It is not a screening program for any physical or psychological disease or dysfunction or suicide.
"Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is a long-term strategy; it's not a stand down or a chain teaching program," Barone said.
"Physical fitness is not achieved by going to the gym one time; psychological fitness is not achieved by going through one lesson or one brief. You learn things throughout life and through lessons learned you become a better person in general," he said.
"We are not counselors we just have tools that we teach individuals that they can apply to themselves to help with problem solving within their Family lives and within the Army," Barone explained.
"[MRTs] will be working with company commanders, battalion commanders and brigade commanders to develop a good plan of resilience training pre-deployment, during deployment and post-deployment," he said.
After Soldiers are trained they will have self awareness, self regulation, learn to be optimistic, have mental agility and strength of character.
"The tools learned can be used in any situation whether it is military or civilian in nature," Barone said.