By Spc. Shameka Edwards, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs OfficeJanuary 21, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. - The 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson Deputy Commanding General, Support, Brig. Gen. James Pasquarette hosted a leader professional development session at the "Ivy" Division Headquarters building Jan. 13.
Pasquarette invited Col. Darryl Williams, deputy director of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program to explain the Army's newest total health initiative to Mountain Post leaders and Department of Defense civilians.
"This is a program fundamentally about Soldiers helping Soldiers; it is a holistic health program," Williams said. "It is about readiness, getting better training and Soldiers helping one another; which will in turn increase communication skills and increase interpersonal skills, so the Soldier is able to deal with life's tough problems better."
CSF is a four pillar program comprised of five dimensions of strength, intended to help Soldiers, Families and civilians; physical, emotional, social, Family and spiritual fitness.
The first step in the program begins is the Global Assessment Tool, located at https://www.sft.army.mil/, a confidential online survey that every Soldier Army-wide will have to take by June of 2010. The GAT is the first pillar of the CSF program.
The assessment, which requires an AKO user ID and password, is also available to Family members who wish to participate in the program, said Williams. The GAT will be available to Army civilians in March 2010.
Soldiers, Family members and civilians answer approximately 100 questions and receive a score informing the individual where he or she stands in four categories; emotional, spiritual, social, and family fitness.
Once the participant completes the GAT they will be instructed to begin self-development modules tailored to enhance performance and build resilience in the four fitness categories, which is the second pillar, said Williams.
Resilience is the ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and overcome adversity, he explained.
The third pillar of the CSF program, Institutional Military Resilience Training is currently being implemented by the Army in military schools and mission-essential training for upcoming deployments.
Master Resilience Trainers, comprise the fourth pillar of the program. MRTs are specially trained noncommissioned officers who have received detailed and specialized training that enables them to develop Soldier resiliency in their units. They also teach Soldiers to help one another build the skills to become more confident, competent and self conscious of a deteriorated mental state.
The MRTs are trained in a train-the trainer setting and in turn disseminate the information to the battalion, company and platoon levels.
MRTs who act as the advisors to commanders and making recommendations to refer Soldiers to seek professional counseling or to meet with the chaplain, he explained.
"Soldiers will be empowered with the resilient skills to help out their wingman, battle buddy, to get better, to stay mentally and physiologically fit," said Williams.
The Army is investing millions of dollars into a program to improve the resiliency of Soldiers, Families and civilians so they will have the life skills and the ability to deal with life in general, said Pasquarette.
Mountain Post Soldiers should be confident they will have the support of their chain of command if they choose to discuss their GAT results, said Pasquarette in reference to the stigma Soldiers have faced in the past when asking for help.
"All we have done forever is worry about reaction to a bad event and suicide prevention programs," said Pasquarette. "We still need to have those, but what we want to do now is work on building the skills in our Soldiers, Families and civilians so they can deal with things and prevent a crisis event in their life."
The Army still needs the programs that react to crisis but in the long run the CSF program will reduce the amount of Soldiers who have a crisis situation because they will have the inherent skills to deal with everyday situations better, he added.
"Resiliency training is not for combat only," Pasquarette said
It is a tool to use everyday to help Soldiers, Family members and civilians deal with stress and stressful issues whether it is in their Family, at work or home, he added.
Soldiers and leaders seeking more information about CSF can visit the website at http://www.army.mil/CSF/index.html .