FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - Officials from the Combined Arms Center here and the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., cut the ribbon to a new $1 million facility for the Army's Physical Fitness Research Institute (APFRI) Jan. 7. The annex, located in Eisenhower Hall of the Command and General Staff College campus, features some of the most technologically advanced diagnostic equipment available for fitness assessment.

The expansion of APFRI to Fort Leavenworth signals the Army's commitment to the health and welfare of its Soldiers and their families. Multiple operational deployments have created a downward trend on the overall physical fitness of the force over the past few years. Senior leaders are expanding APRFI leader education programs to address those trends, by increasing awareness and providing tools for individuals to manage their own health and make appropriate lifestyle changes. An APFRI annex at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy has been operational since 2006 and leaders at USASMA will hold a grand opening for an upgraded facility there later this year.

"This program is changing lives - we've seen it happen right here already," said Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV, commander, Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth. "We're excited to know the future impact it will have on the students and our entire force as they go out and share what they've learned with those they will lead in the future."

APFRI is the Army's center for Leader Education in Health and Fitness through research, education and outreach. In 1982, the commander of Training and Doctrine Command directed the establishment of APFRI in Carlisle, Pa., to develop a comprehensive health and fitness program for senior officers studying at the Army War College. A key focus was to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In 2006, General William Wallace, CG TRADOC, directed APFRI to expand their program to the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. Through the years, the APFRI leader education programs evolved to address the complex interplay of leadership, health and fitness as a component of professional military education.

Since then the Army has expanded the program at Fort Leavenworth to focus on the more than 1,200 mid-grade officers attending the Command and General Staff College annually, as well as the staff and faculty of CGSC. APFRI has also opened its services to the family members of Soldiers in order to increase awareness and to allow families as a whole to implement healthy lifestyle changes.

"It's about educating the force so they can be role models and they can go out and be those role models for their subordinates in the future," said Maj. Gen. Robert Williams, U.S. Army War College commandant. "To show them what health and fitness means, and carry that forward in a century where we're going to have challenges as a nation and a people."