Fort Bragg, N.C. –Army leaders responsible for the force being combat ready and capable, came together the first two days of December, to talk about and share initiatives that serve to strengthen and enhance readiness in the ranks. The Commander’s Forum is hosted by U.S. Army Forces Command, and educates top leaders while allowing for shared ideas and collaboration vital to the success of our Army both on and off the battlefield.

Gen. Michael X. Garrett, FORSCOM’s commanding general, addressed attendees in his opening remarks saying our Army is making “great progress in many areas,” but in order to ensure continued progress, there must be a willingness to grow.

“It will take a generation of leaders attending courses to learn all they need to know,” Garrett said. “We can also take lessons learned and retrain Soldiers on critical tasks.”

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Throughout the two day forum, attendees were briefed on various topics by some of the Army’s most senior leaders as well as subject matter experts. Gen. Paul E. Funk, Training and Doctrine Command commander, kicked-off the first day with an overview of how the Army has adapted to help recruits be healthier from the get go.

“We started making changes for a generation that is very different; that isn’t as active, doesn’t sleep well and that can’t get off the couch,” said Funk, “and we started at Basic Combat Training and changed the whole program.”

Part of that change meant the implementation of a holistic health and fitness regime that reduced injury attrition rates by 58%. Funk is confident that results at Fort Polk; the first installation to successfully implement the holistic approach, will be as successful at all of TRADOC’s basic combat training locations.

Another important forum presentation was by Special Agent Deric Palmer, Army Criminal Investigation Command. Palmer explained how despite social media being an effective means of connecting with Soldiers to inform and educate them, it also has a dark side.

“Social Media is a new paradigm to contend with,” said Palmer. “People on social media have gone from being consumers to the products themselves, and Soldier’s digital identities are constantly targeted in a number of ways.”

“Doxxing” is a popular and nefarious method used to gather information. The word grew out of hacker culture in early 1990, where someone’s online data became a “dropped dox” [document] which was captured and then publically released on the Internet. Palmer said social media sites are great sources of personal information for Doxxers.

“Just from a Soldier’s Facebook page I can tell where he likes to go, where he’s been, when he’s home and even his dog’s name,” Palmer said. “Leaders need to ensure their Soldier’s keep their Personally Identifiable Information secure by using password phrases instead of just names or words,” he said, adding, “and maybe they should consider using a service that completely scrubs your name and information from the Internet.”

Another topic of discussion at the forum was the Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention program implemented in 2008, to educate Soldiers to prevent both sexual assault and sexual harassment. This spring, major reforms to the program will be implemented to increase transparency and accountability.

The FORSCOM Commander’s Forum is an annual gathering hosting leaders from various Army corps, divisions, the Army Reserve and Army National Guard.