Gold Book report: 'Leaders must be fully engaged in lives of Soldiers at all times'
October 12, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Maj. Gen. David Quantock, U.S. Army provost marshal general, met with Fort Bragg leadership Sept. 26, at Old Bowley Elementary Auditorium to cover the Army 2020 Generating Health and Discipline in the Force, Report 2012, referred to as the Army Gold Book.
The briefing and discussion focused on major crimes and trends, important health issues such as PTSD, comorbidity and suicide and prevention.
During the discussion phase, Quantock not only emphasized the need to continue the Army's campaign to counter the stress associated with more than decade of war, but he also challenged Army leaders to be more present in the lives of Soldiers.
"To ensure Soldier health and discipline, leaders must be fully engaged in the lives of their Soldiers at all times," said Quantock. "While we want to certainly afford Soldiers a certain level of 'down time' and privacy, Army Gold Book analysis clearly demonstrated the significant risks involved when leaders are not engaged. For example, the majority of crime occurs on the weekends -- a period when Soldiers have more time to themselves and leadership presence and oversight are diminished."
Quantock went on to commend the Army for its advances in information technology, but stressed that face-to-face discussion was vital to the everyday mission of leadership.
"It's that one-on-one discussion that best (help) identifies Soldiers who are at-risk or engaging in high-risk conduct," said Quantock. "Further, it conveys to the Soldier a climate of trust and care -- an environment that is critical in reducing stigma and encouraging help-seeking behavior."
The briefing shed light on the goals of the Army, but also put the onus back in the hands of leaders to invest more in getting to know the Soldiers who serve under them.
Understanding how Soldiers perform while they work is only a part of the solution, said Quantock.
"While the large majority of our Soldiers conduct themselves in accordance with the Army values, we need to take back the barracks as this is critical to Soldiers health and discipline.
Army Gold Book analysis clearly demonstrates the magnitude of crime occurring in high density housing such as barracks. Sustained NCO presence in our barracks and policies that shape conduct such as visitation hours and limits on alcohol quantities are critical in mitigating crime-conducive conditions. Left unchecked, the unsupervised barracks can lead to significant health and discipline concerns such as excessive drinking, drug abuse and other crime," Quantock said.
"Leaders also need to become more involved in how and where their off-post Soldiers and Families are residing. Simply stopping by their homes to check on our Families can be very informative and shows care and helps to get to the left of problems before they develop."
Taking care of Soldiers and Families starts at the top and the challenge is not just the responsibility of a few.
"Critical to leaders being engaged is ensuring they have 360-degree awareness of issues impacting their Soldiers," said Quantock.
"For that reason, the Army is implementing a number of initiatives that leverage technology to better inform commanders of health and discipline issues involving their Soldiers."