By email@example.comMarch 29, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (March 27, 2013) -- Last year, there were 324 suicides in the Army -- active, Reserve component and National Guard. That's 41 more than the year before. This year, there were 68 suicides as of March 18, 19 more than last year, Maj. Gen. Michael Tucker, assistant deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, told Fort Benning's brigade commanders and command sergeants major during a briefing in McGinnis-Wickam Hall.
Tucker's visit to the Maneuver Center of Excellence was one of five trips Army leaders planned in March to discuss health of the force issues and roll out the Ready and Resilient Campaign.
Known as R2C, Army Secretary John McHugh signed the directive on Feb. 4 to integrate and synchronize the multiple efforts and programs designed to improve the readiness and resilience of the total force. During a press conference at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., McHugh said taking care of Soldiers is a moral imperative for the Army ... a big part of that is the challenge of behavioral health.
"We need to get left of the boom," Tucker said. "Let's stop being consequence managers -- treat (behavioral health issues) like IEDs and get left of the boom."
Resilience is a lifetime skill that can be learned, Tucker said, citing 40 years of scientific study proving it can be taught. It is closely linked to performance, which is a form of measurement.
The R2C plan includes:
• Teaching resilience throughout a Soldier's career;
• Building resilience as the foundation of Army readiness and developing a reportable metrics;
• Resilience programs that focus on healthy lifestyles including physical fitness, nutrition and sleep;
• Using key Army programs that focus on building resilience and preventing and eliminating negative behaviors, such as suicide, sexual harassment and assault, bullying and hazing, substance abuse, domestic abuse and any stigma or barriers associated with seeking help;
• Ensuring the effectiveness and reducing redundancy of Army programs;
• Providing methods for commanders to identify Soldiers with "at risk" and "high risk" behaviors for early intervention.
There are 103 Army programs, including Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, the First Sergeant Barracks Program 2020, the Army Continuing Education System, intramurals, Strong Bonds and the Soldier and Family Assistance Center, that build resilience. Tucker said the Family Covenant precluded cutting programs, but a way to capture trends is necessary to show the efficacy.
"This must be a top priority for all Army leaders," McHugh wrote in the R2C memo. "How well we do in this critical and shared endeavor will determine the level of readiness and the overall capability Army for the foreseeable future."
A year ago, Sam Rhodes, Maneuver Center of Excellence's Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program manager, saw the draft executive order for the Ready and Resilient Campaign and started putting it in action.
Fort Benning already completed three inprocessing pilot programs for resilience training last year. Now all inprocessing Soldiers receive two days of Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness training instead of four hours. CSF2 enhanced performance training is taught at the middle school and spouse enhanced performance is taught monthly. In July, a master resilience course pilot will be taught here, Rhodes said, with the course going live in October.
Tucker said the Army has trained 14,000 Soldiers to be master resilience trainers, but hasn't done a good job in tracking them through PCS. This will change with R2C because the Army needs these trainers mentoring others -- part of measuring outcomes and being more efficient. On Fort Benning, there are 467 master resilience trainers.
The R2C is online at www.army.mil/readyandresilient. The executive order is due to be published within the next 30 days.