Strong Bonds transforms to meet Soldier and family needs of tomorrow

By Paul StampsOctober 6, 2022

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

In September of 2021, the Office of the Chief of Chaplains released a memorandum to Army leadership entitled "Reforming the Army Strong Bonds Program," which announced the vision and intention to transform Strong Bonds. Effective Oct. 1, 2022, that vision became a reality as Building Strong and Ready Teams, or BSRT, replaced the Strong Bonds program. As the name implies, BSRT is team centric – with a dual focus on strengthening Army teams and strengthening Soldiers and Families through a team approach.

BSRT is not simply a rebranding of Strong Bonds. Instead, it builds on the success of what was the Army's premier relationship training program for more than 20 years. With a broadened scope and reduced overhead costs, BSRT is positioned to meet the holistic spiritual readiness needs of more Soldiers and Families than ever before.

BSRT Transformation Highlights:

1.  BSRT places the commander in the driver's seat: Maximizing command input will enable Unit Ministry Teams (UMTs) to tailor programming according to the commander's vision.

2.  BSRT increases unit throughput: Reducing overhead costs will allow more soldiers and family members to attend training, maximizing overall unit impact and team cohesion.

3.  BSRT provides increased scheduling flexibility: Enabling commanders to schedule training to accommodate their training calendars will increase unit participation.

4.  BSRT broadens scope: Training objectives will focus on spiritual readiness and holistic health, in addition to relationship enhancement.

What Has Changed:

1.  Broadened scope from relationship training to spiritual readiness and holistic health in accordance with Army Field Manual 7-22.

2.  Reduced overhead expenses from overnight training in order to train more Soldiers.

3.  Ability for commanders to apply funds to the central logistics contract for overnight or additional training.

4.  Emphasis on community partnerships with organizations inside and outside the Army that support soldier and family holistic health.

5.  Streamlined process for requesting, resourcing, and executing all chaplain-led training in One Stop 56 (OS56).

What Has Not Changed:

1.  BSRT remains one of many UMT activities that support the local Commander’s Religious Support Plan (CMRP).

2.  BSRT continues to offer relationship training from previously approved curriculum sources.

3.  The central contract continues to provide event planning and logistical services in support of BSRT training.

4.  OS56 remains the system of record for planning, resourcing, and executing BSRT training events.

These changes empower commanders to leverage UMTs in promoting spiritual readiness through creative and impactful training. The future is wide open as BSRT will better enable the Chaplain Corps to "Care for the Soul of the Army."