Squad Overmatch Study

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What is it?

Squad Overmatch Study, the common reference for Design, Implement, and Demonstrate Integrated Training to Optimize Human Performance and Discourage PTSD and Suicide, is the top ranked study for the Army Study Program (ASP) in fiscal year 2013 (FY13) and FY14. Unlike studies that focus on treating PTSD, this study focuses on prevention of PTSD through the employment of virtual technology combined with learned techniques to manage psychological stress.

Why is this important to the Army?

This study supports four of the five strategic priorities set forth by the Chief of Staff of the Army in October 2013. Additionally, it supports ASP objective #4. The study has a potential to save Soldier lives as well as money. The rate of both PTSD diagnoses and Soldier suicide are particularly alarming for the Army. This study attempts to address and deter both of these major issues facing the Army today.

What has the Army done?

The FY13 study produced a training concept and technology insertion roadmap to enhance training techniques and technologies, successfully identifying resilience, mental and situational awareness skills that could potentially deter PTSD and suicide.

The FY14 Squad Overmatch Study team employed a study methodology using experimental learning and guided practice based on realistic cases to assess how advanced situational awareness skills, combined with stress management methods, facilitate recognition, perception, and adaptation to combat stressors.

  • The Stress Exposure Training (SET) model incorporated situational awareness and stress management with foundation skills and enhanced realism, consisting of four key experiential learning tenets:
  • -Continuum (when we train)
  • -Scenarios (what we train)
  • -Technology/cognitive realism (believable presentation)
  • -Integrated after action report (how we learn)

The methodology implemented accelerated two day study sessions that simulated opportunities to learn skills that would normally be spread over the two year warrior skill training continuum.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future?

The team concluded that implementing Human Dimension Training across multiple mission training areas can be enormously beneficial based on multiple factors including Soldier feedback. Implementation of the training will require a paradigm shift in Army training methodology. This presents a set of challenges itself. The next steps for this study are to mature the continuum, scenarios and technology; develop a skills task list with the related desired behavior development scenario; ensure that there are no simplicities and that the Squad must work as a dedicated cross-functional team; and the establishment of a Center of Excellence (CoE) for Overmatch Training: development, integration, testing, and implementation strategy.

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