Comprehensive Soldier Fitness:Strong Minds, Strong Bodies

By U.S. ArmyOctober 1, 2009

Today, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh announced the formal beginning of an Army-wide implementation of a $125 million program focused on enhancing the performance and improving the overall strength and resilience of Soldiers, Family members, and Army civilians.

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) is a holistic fitness program offering mental and physical resilience assessments and training that increase physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family strengths.

"Being 'Army Strong' is more than just being physically fit," said CSF Director, Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum. "We're not just preparing Soldiers for the battlefield. We're preparing them for life. We're changing the culture of the Army with this program by training to enhance psychological health and fitness as we have always done with physical health. We are elevating mental fitness to the same level where we have held physical fitness," said Cornum.

The purpose of the CSF program is to enhance the performance and readiness of the force by giving Soldiers, their Families and Army civilians the skills to be resilient and thrive in the face of challenges. CSF arms members of the Army with skills to more fully live the Warrior Ethos-a creed inspiring Soldiers to never accept defeat and never quit, whether it be in combat or in their daily lives.

The Global Assessment Tool (GAT) is the first element of CSF. Within the next six months, all Soldiers will take this on-line confidential assessment that has been developed by some of the finest minds in the United States. The GAT will provide individual feedback in the five domains of fitness-physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and family. Based on the results of the GAT, the Soldier will be directed to the second element - tailored self-help training modules for individuals.

The GAT is available for Soldiers today. The Army plans to make versions of the GAT available to Family members on January 1, 2010, and to Army civilians on April 1, 2010.

The third element of CSF is mandatory resilience training-formal, instructor-led-as part of Army professional education every level from Basic Combat Training to the Army War College, and as part of their pre- and post-deployment training.

The fourth element of CSF involves Master Resilience Trainers (MRTs). The Army has been working with national mental health experts on a curriculum for developing MRTs. These are the specially-trained and certified experts who will advise commanders in the field and design and facilitate unit-level resilience training across the Army. The Army has 100 certified MRTs already, and expects to certify an additional 1,800 within the next year.

"There's a perception out there that everyone who goes to combat gets post-traumatic stress. That's just not true. Science tells us that the majority of people who go to combat have a growth experience. They're challenged by something very, very difficult, and they succeed," said General George W. Casey, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Army. "The whole purpose of this program is to increase the number of people in the Army who have that growth experience when facing difficult challenges."

For more information about the Army's CSF program, visit