Tuesday August 11, 2009
What is it?
Today, the sergeant major of the Army will signal the new phase of health and fitness education at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) with a ribbon cutting for the USASMA Army Physical Fitness Research Institute (APFRI) Annex - the day after the official opening of Sergeants Major Course class 60. The APFRI program is a critical leader-development program contributing to individual leader development and sustainment, and reinforces the individual leaders' awareness of the complex interaction of leadership, health and fitness for themselves and those they lead. The Commandants of the Army War College (USAWC) and Sergeants Major Academy are co-hosting the ceremony, marking the fact that our senior enlisted leaders studying at USASMA now have access to senior leader health and fitness assessments and educational programs that have long been the hallmark of the Army War College education for senior officers. This annex opened as a result of the Year of the NCO year-long initiative.
Why is it important to the Army?
The Army recognizes that more and more leaders attending Army schools have multiple combat zone deployments. The APFRI program is proven to save lives, and participants report it enhances their ability, as leaders, to shape their units' health and fitness. The program allows the senior leadership to have the capability to target intervention programs that can sustain the performance of leaders and provide them with the opportunity to maintain optimum health and readiness across their life spans.
What has the Army done?
The initiative takes the Army War College's valued program and significantly expands its scope of responsibility to include other senior leaders in the Army. For 26 years, the APFRI program at the Army War College has dramatically improved USAWC students' hardiness and resiliency through aggressive assessments, interventions and follow-up programs. APFRI's multidisciplinary staff includes dietitians, exercise physiologists, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, clinical psychologists, organizational behavior and administrative staff.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Further expansion to other Army leader schools will optimize the link between leadership and education. Teaching Army leaders to recognize physical, mental and emotional factors in resiliency will contribute to comprehensive fitness, health and leadership. Army senior leadership supports APFRI's expanded professional development program to provide fitness and health assessments, identify leaders at risk for cardiovascular disease, provide effective interventions and gauge leader readiness for worldwide deployment in the contemporary operating environment.
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