Resilience is a beneficial attribute when facing everyday challenges of military life, especially in times of transition and heightened adversity such as the deployment cycle. Deployment Cycle Resilience Training is a series of operational resilience training modules designed to prepare Soldiers, leaders, and Soldiers’ Circles of Support for the unique challenges at each stage of the deployment cycle to include pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment reintegration. The goal of DCRT is not to deepen knowledge about resilience but to promote productive, resilient behaviors and actions throughout the deployment cycle. The practical application-based training aims to enhance resilience and well-being of Soldiers and Circle of Support members, strengthen personal relationships and unit cohesion, and increase mission effectiveness.
DCRT has been offered within the Army for over a decade but has recently undergone some key revisions. From 2018-2020, the Research Transition Office of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research conducted a Quality Improvement Evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the DCRT curriculum and implementation. In April 2020, WRAIR’s RTO team began an extensive rewrite of the DCRT curriculum that was largely based upon the data and feedback collected from the QIE.
ARD rolled out the revised DCRT curriculum, DCRT v.3, in August of 2021. There are four overarching themes that underlie each revised module. First, there is greater emphasis on the deployment cycle rather than three stand-alone phases. Recognizing the interdependence of the phases can increase motivation to “control the controllables” in each phase because it will impact the next.
The second theme is a greater emphasis on growth and the positive gains from employing resilience skills and strategies. The DCRT modules encourage Soldiers and Circle of Support members to see how the deployment cycle challenges can lead to personal, professional, and relational growth for themselves and others. If Soldiers and Circle of Support members take deliberate action to utilize the skills, strategies, and support discussed in the modules, then their actions can positively impact their deployment cycle experience.
The third theme is a greater focus on practical application. Practical exercises allow participants to develop their competence and confidence in utilizing the skills and strategies. Furthermore, each module includes intentional discussions of how the participants might implement the material throughout the deployment cycle. The new material also includes supplemental handouts such as informational content and practical exercise worksheets.
The fourth overarching theme of the DCRT revisions is inclusivity, which involves being more inclusive of Soldier demographics, all types of deployments (i.e., combat, humanitarian, operational), all Army-components (i.e., Active Duty, National Guard, Reserves), and modern technologies and connectivity capabilities. An especially noteworthy change is rather than solely focusing on spouses at pre-deployment and reintegration, DCRT is now more inclusive of the Soldier’s entire Circle of Support. This includes anybody who has a vested interest in supporting the Soldier, such as parents, siblings, spouses, significant others, friends, mentors, battle buddies, and other Family members.
In accordance with AR 350-53, DCRT is a mandatory requirement for all United States Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard Soldiers who are deploying or have recently deployed away from their home station for 90 days or more for purposes other than training. In accordance with AR 350-53, it is mandatory that each Circle of Support module is made available during applicable phases should Circle of Support members wish to attend. DCRT is trained at the unit-level by DCRT-certified Master Resilience Trainers. All MRTs must receive training on the new material and are encouraged to contact their local R2 Performance Center, the Fort McCoy MRT Schoolhouse, or WRAIR at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. To learn more about or schedule DCRT and other R2 Performance Center training, visit https://www.armyresilience.army.mil/ard/R2/R2-Performance-center.html.