WASHINGTON (October 6, 2008)-Members of the Army community came together at the National Meeting of the Association of the United States Army to discuss how the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command approaches the human dimension concept. Facilitated by Brig. Gen. Peter Palmer of the U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center, representatives across TRADOC explained how the human dimension concept would shape and enhance Soldier development, from accessions to warfighting scenarios.

The human dimension is based on a holistic view of how humans function in a system. These systems include environment, culture, community, politics and society, among others.

The need for human dimension stems from what Soldiers are facing in today's conflicts. More is required of Soldiers in asymmetrical warfare, and the Army needs to prepare and guide Soldiers as they make decisions and cope with the demands of their missions as well as the environment in which they operate.

"We've never had a concept document for human dimension," said Palmer, "but senior leadership is recognizing the need to have a concept and developing capabilities to prepare Soldiers to deal in the environments that they're dealing with."

Palmer then highlighted three areas in which ARCIC is examining the possibility of capability development: moral, ethical and social. Traditional training focuses on the operations while the human dimension component involves physiological and psychological training.

Speaking for human dimension in recruiting, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, commander of the U.S. Army Accessions Command, described its use in initial military training. "The human dimension includes body, mind and spirit; it reaches all the way into American society and how we prepare our young people to come forward and serve with more precision in an age of information."

"We invest-pretty broadly-in the human sciences, including medical and learning technology," said Dr. Tom Killion, chief scientist for the Army. He continued to discuss how the scientific community would design the system. "We look to better train our Soldiers and treat psychological issues. The human dimension would be centered around the Soldier and providing them with the equipment that is designed with the Soldier in mind."

The human dimension has already been integrated in operations. A key characteristic of current and future operations is the cultural context. According to Maxie McFarland, deputy chef of staff for intelligence, G2, at TRADOC, this demands Soldiers to have cross-cultural competence and linguistics skills. Human dimension will work in symphony with the human terrain systems, a program designed to have Soldiers receive proper training and, in turn, work with cultural experts to communicate with indigenous people. While still a new program, human terrain systems have already proven to be a valuable asset to Soldiers abroad. "The goal is include human terrain systems into our core set of competencies," said McFarland.

Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence in Mental Health and Traumatic Brain Injury and Army psychiatrist, also sees human dimension as critical in preparing Soldiers to mentally handle the stresses of combat. "The human dimension is much larger than the medical model. We're moving from illness-based medical models to a foundation based on the human dimension, which is grounded in resilience," she said. Human dimension would also prepare Soldiers to handle the rigors of battle and would eventually contribute in reducing post-traumatic stress disorder rates.

Human dimension would permeate a Soldier's psyche beyond duty hours. Col. Clarke McGriff, TRADOC Chaplain, explained, "The human dimension gets into the moral, spiritual and ethical needs. We see an exciting opportunity to use this program to see what makes the Soldier move and respond." The human dimension opens up to include the wellbeing of the Soldier's family. "The family at home does well when they see that their Soldier is being cared for," said McGriff.

An unprecedented program, human dimension is designed to adapt to the changing demands and stresses that are unique to the current conflict. As the Army moves toward more integrated and focused training, the human dimension ties the individual Soldier's experience to training and preparing to operating across the spectrum of conflict.