By Spc. James Kennedy BenjaminOctober 4, 2010
BASRA, Iraq - The Army's senior noncommissioned officer met with United States Division-South Soldiers at the Basra Resiliency Center Sept. 29.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, who is scheduled to retire in March after seven years as the 13th SMA, talked to approximately 200 Soldiers about how the Army is ensuring its Soldiers' well-being through Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, whether at home or deployed.
"That is what Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is all about," Preston said.
When Soldiers are faced with adversity, Preston said Army leadership wants Soldiers to come out of those stressful situations stronger than when they were before.
Preston talked about the four tools to enhance CSF and how Soldiers can become more resilient toward the different changes and challenges in life.
The first tool is an online assessment that gives Soldiers an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses based on the five dimensions of CSF.
The Global Assessment Tool, or GAT, is designed to show Soldiers their strengths and weaknesses in the physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family pillars of strength, Preston said.
He elaborated on how the GAT is for self-improvement, and the results are private.
"I said 'Sergeant major, no you don't,'" Preston said, as he recalled a sergeant major who asked for the results of his Soldiers' answers. "That is not the purpose of the Global Assessment Tool."
"The GAT doesn't replace good leadership," Preston said. "The GAT is designed as an individual tool to show individuals where they stand."
"Nobody sees how you answer those questions," Preston said. "It is confidential. That is because we want you to be honest with yourself so that you can see yourself exactly how you feel inside."
Preston said more than 800,000 of the 1.1 million active duty, reserve and National Guard Soldiers in the Army have taken the GAT.
Preston also recommended Soldiers complete the 20 online resilience modules available through CSF, the second tool of the program.
Preston said the modules were interactive and had good vignettes.
The third tool of CSF that Preston talked about was the Master Resilience Trainer course, which is now offered at Victory University in Fort Jackson, S.C.
The 10-day course teaches Soldiers resiliency techniques on how to solve challenges within the five dimensions of CSF.
It teaches Soldiers how to ask the right questions so they can understand problems from a bigger perspective, Preston said. From there, they come up with their own solutions to fixing problems.
"Nobody can fix your own problems or challenges except you," Preston emphasized.
The last tool is the incorporation of resiliency training into other Training and Doctrine Command schools, Preston said.
Soldiers will receive CSF training from the time they start their careers to the time they leave, Preston said. All levels of leadership schools will have this training, from Warrior Leadership Course to Basic Officer Leadership Course.
"It is very important right now that we take everything that we are doing and learning from Comprehensive Soldier Fitness," Preston said, "and really get that out through professional development throughout the Soldier's career."
"It is a tool out there to help you to make you a better Soldier and to make you a better person."