Strong Bonds Program

Tuesday January 8, 2008

What is it? Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain-led program that helps Soldiers and their Families build strong relationships. The program's mission is to build Soldier readiness by providing skills the Soldier can use to strengthen his or her marriage and other relationships. It includes four sub-programs: a single Soldier programmed at helping warriors choose wisely and build life-long relationships; a couple program; a Family program which trains couples with children to stay close and parent well; and a program specifically for couples preparing for or returning from deployment. In order to maximize training effect, this relationship training is done in a retreat format, where Soldiers and Family members can "get away" in order to focus on their important relationships.

What has the Army done? Provided training to over 60,000 active, Guard, and Reserve Soldiers to help build strong relationships among single Soldiers, couples, and Family members.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? Continue to refine the training tools and make available to more Soldiers and Family members. In 2008, this will include fielding a complete program to enabling Families of deployed Soldiers to thrive through the stresses of deployment, including training for children of all ages, and for spouses. This program will nest with the complete Strong Bonds-Deployment program to create a complete package that provides relationship-sustainment training prior to, during, and after return from combat deployments.

Why is this important to the Army? Healthy marriages contribute to the maintenance of a healthy Army and secures the future force. With increasing demands placed on Army Families and Soldiers, including frequent deployments and relocations, intimate relationships are tested and many marriages end in divorce. Research shows that training in communication, intimacy and conflict management increases marriage satisfaction and reduces rates of Family violence. In addition, about 30 percent of first-term Soldiers drop out of the Army. Data suggest that this drop out rate is significantly reduced when the Soldier had strong support from his or her Family and loved ones. Strong Bonds helps build Family support for Soldiers.

INFORMATION YOU CAN USE

- 2007 Strategic Communication Guide - Read the 2007 Army Strategic Communication Guide for key messages and updates

- Strategic Communication Coordination Group (SCCG) Workspace

- Army Public Affairs Portal

- Stories of Valor

NEWS ABOUT THE ARMY

  • New helmet sensors to measure blast impact (AFIS)
  • Army launches new recruiting ads during All-American Bowl (ARNews)
  • Wounded Fort Hood troops receive laptops (AFIS)
  • Partnership program paying off for Army, Soldiers (ARNews)

WAR ON TERROR NEWS

  • New leaders of Sunnis make gains in influence (EB | WP)
  • Violence eases in southern Iraq, brigade commander says (AFIS)
  • Sunni security unit leader, colleagues killed in attack encouraged by Bin Laden (EB | WP)
  • Sheik meeting leads to information on al Qaeda in Iraq (AFIS)

OF INTEREST

  • Many troops openly gay, group says (EB | USA)
  • Arabs share Bush's concerns over growing power of Iran (PI)
  • Opinion: Iran 1, U.S.A. 0 (NYP)
  • Deployed brothers enjoy holiday reunion (AFIS)

WORLD VIEW

  • Baghdad armed volunteers seized (BBC | Story)
  • Ahmadinejad loses favor with Khamenei, Iran's top leader (IHT | Story)
  • U.S. considering international force in West Bank (JP | Story)
  • Al Qaida is on the run in Iraq (AA | Story)
  • Are these regimes victims of religious extremism? (AA | Story)

WHAT'S BEING SAID IN BLOGS

  • Final post (AO)
  • Darfur crisis: too few peacekeepers (OF)
  • Filmmaker depicts the good works of troops (SM)

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