By Mr. Edward Lopez (IMCOM)August 1, 2013
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (August 1, 2013) -- In an effort to ensure that the "Total Army" has the resilience and readiness to handle the stresses of military life and persistent warfare, the Army is highlighting its campaign to determine how its programs and policies can adequately support that goal.
On July 31, Picatinny Arsenal became the first among five installations to be visited by some of the Army's highest-ranking officers who are seeking candid feedback from Soldiers, military families and Army civilians who support the Army mission at various levels.
Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. John Campbell, said that he wants to hear what was good and what was working. He added, "I want to hear the bad, too, and what is not working."
Amid the backdrop of 12 years of persistent conflict and declining funding, the Ready and Resilient Campaign (R2C) plan is a holistic and strategic effort to ensure that many existing, but separate, programs are improving unit readiness on various levels.
The Ready and Resilient Campaign Plan is intended to bring about an enduring change to the Army culture. Ultimately, the Army must maintain its capability to rapidly deploy and sustain ready and resilient forces to prevent conflict, shape the security environment, and prevail in wars.
For the purpose of the plan, ready and resilient refers to a collaborative, coherent, and inter-disciplinary approach to maintaining Army readiness for the Total Army -- a term that encompasses Soldiers, civilian employees and family members.
The R2C plan tailors prevention and response measures to promote physical, moral and mental fitness, emotional stability, personal growth, dignity and respect.
Aside from Campbell, other top Army officers who came to Picatinny Arsenal July 31 included U.S. Army Installation Management Command and Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter; Director, Human Resources Policy Directorate, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, Brig. Gen Henry L. Huntley, and Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, and U.S. Army Medical Command, Brig. Gen. Patrick Sargent.
They were briefed on Picatinny's readiness and resilience programs and led focus-group discussions, which lasted more than one hour.
Among the goals of the focus groups is to determine what is effective, what is not, where is there duplication and where might be some gaps.
Potential issues and questions might be: Is it a funding or resource issue? Is it a lack of expertise, inadequate facilities, or lack of responsiveness? Where are the friction points? How can Army headquarters help?
While Campbell led a "sensing session" with Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians, Ferriter led a focus-group session with family members, Huntley led a focus group with readiness and resilience-related program managers and Sargent led a group of Soldiers and Army civilians.
At some installations, a separate session will be held with their top leaders. Aside from Picatinny Arsenal, other visits are scheduled for Fort Drum, N.Y., Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Jackson, S.C., and Joint National Guard Base McIntire, S.C.
Because Picatinny Arsenal is primarily engaged in a research and development mission, the ratio of civilians participating will likely be higher than at other locations.
Picatinny Arsenal is the Joint Center of Excellence for Armaments and Munitions, providing products and services to all branches of the U.S. military. Nestled in the northern New Jersey skylands, the team of 5,000-strong specializes in the research, development, acquisition and life cycle management of advanced conventional weapon systems and leap-ahead ammunition. Learn more at www.pica.army.mil.
"What you do every day is saving Warfighters, so I thank you for that," said Campbell at the briefing session.
The four key objectives of the campaign are:
1. Structure policies, systems, and processes to provide effective support to Soldiers, Soldier families, and Army civilians.
2. Integrate resilience support across the spectrum of recruitment, training, development, and transition.
3. Strengthen Army professionals and promote trust among the Soldier, leaders, civilians, and the Army.
4. Communicate the campaign to leaders, Soldiers, Soldier families, civilians, and external audiences.
Resilience is a key concept for the Total Army as a variety of stress factors are common in a military environment. Maintaining and strengthening resilience are important for several reasons:
• A healthy mind and body are essential to individual and unit readiness.
• Resilience combines mental, emotional, and physical skills to generate optimal performance (i.e. readiness) - in combat, healing after injury, and in managing work and home life.
• Resilient persons are better able to bounce back and overcome adversity by leveraging mental and emotional skills and behavior by seeking out training.
• Individual resilience can be built, maintained, and strengthened when viewed as an enduring concept and acquired through regular training.