Strong Bonds Program

Tuesday October 27, 2009

What is it?

Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain-led program which assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening the Army family. The core mission of the Strong Bonds program is to increase individual Soldier and family member readiness through relationship education and skills training. Strong Bonds includes four subprograms applied across the Army Force Generation model: single-Soldier, couple, family, and deployment. Strong Bonds is conducted in an offsite retreat format in order to maximize the training effect. The retreat or "get away" provides a fun, safe and secure environment in which to address the impact of relocations, deployments and military lifestyle stressors.

What has the Army done?

Since its modest beginnings in 1999, starting with four events and 90 couples in Hawaii in the 25th Infantry Division, Strong Bonds has spread throughout the active and reserve components of the Army. In 2004, the U.S. Code was amended to allow support for "chaplain-led programs to assist members of the armed forces building and maintaining a strong family structure." During Fiscal Year 2009 more than 160,000 Soldiers and family members participated in over 2,600 Strong Bonds events.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The Army will continue to provide relationship training tools and make them available to more Soldiers and family members. Fiscal Year 2010 is the third year of a five-year longitudinal study evaluating the effectiveness of the Strong Bonds program. Also, commanders from the Active Army, the National Guard and the Army Reserve plan more than 4,000 Strong Bonds events in 2010 to include Soldiers geographically dispersed from military installations. To accomplish this commanders across the total Army have requested more than $103 million in support of Strong Bonds.

Why is this important to the Army?

Healthy relationships contribute to the maintenance of a healthy Army and a secure future force. With increasing demands placed on Soldiers, couples and families, to include both frequent deployments and duty relocations, intimate relationships are fully tested. Research shows that training in communication skills, intimacy and conflict management increases marital satisfaction and reduces rates of family violence. Building Army family resiliency is part of a strategic approach to cope with the high operational demand placed on today's Army.


Strong Bonds Web site





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2009 Commemorations :

Year of the NCO

Year of the Military Family

100th Anniversary of the Chaplain Assistant

October 2009

Army Domestic Abuse Prevention/Awareness Month
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
National Depression Education and Awareness Month
Energy Awareness Month

November 2009

Military Family Appreciation Month
National Native American Month
Warrior Care Month
Veteran's Day Week

Nov. 11: Veteran's Day


"And while I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests, I also promise you this -- and this is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan: I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm's way. I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary. And if it is necessary, we will back you up to the hilt. Because you deserve the strategy, the clear mission, and the defined goals as well as the equipment and support that you need to get the job done."

- President Obama, promising a military audience that he will not rush on decisions as he rethinks his strategy in Afghanistan of sending in more troops

The finest military in the history of the world


Year of the Noncommissioned Officer

"I think that the easiest way to transfer from being an NCO to a leader is for one, you have to be humble. In the grand scheme of life, you're not better than anybody else. Yes, you're a higher rank. You've probably been in longer than your troops. But to really be a leader, you have to take the needs of your Soldiers before the needs of yourself. Once your troops figure out that you're there for them and not the other way around, that's when you become a leader. That's when they give you the respect."

- Army Sgt. 1st Class Chris Edwards, a wounded warrior, chose to remain on active duty to continue to lead Soldiers at U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder, Germany

Wounded warrior continues to lead


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