As the Army decreases in size and Soldiers and Families can expect longer dwell times, much of the service’s operations will take place on American soil. In order to accommodate the Total Army Family that has experienced frequent deployments and a high operations tempo for the last 13 years, leaders realize the need to help ensure the battle-ready community can remain ready and resilient for potential future conflict.
The Army recognizes that the resilience of the force depends on the ability of its people to cope with the cumulative effects of stress and the challenges in a world of increasing complexities.
Soldiers and Family Members aren’t the only ones to see changes, however. Civilians also are included in the Army’s efforts to spread readiness and resilience, according to Lt. Col. Brian Clarke, 10th Mountain Division (LI) R2 director. This effort, known as the Ready and Resilient Campaign, or R2C, was created to help pave the way to a more ready and resilient force.
“The purpose of the Ready and Resilient Campaign is to establish an enduring cultural change that integrates resilience into how we build, strengthen, maintain and assess total Soldier and Family health and fitness, individual performance and unit readiness,” Clarke said. “Intuitive leaders understand the value of viewing their Soldiers in a holistic way. They realize that Army Physical Fitness Test scores, weapons qualification scores and military occupational specialty proficiencies are no longer adequate measures to fully assess a Soldier’s readiness.
“Leaders must see their Soldiers and Civilians through the lens of resilience, understanding whether their people are mentally and emotionally prepared and ready to conduct their assigned mission,” he continued. “The aim is to make this consideration deliberate in nature.”
The R2C umbrella encompasses nine programs of special emphasis that are all aimed at improving Soldier, Family and Civilian readiness.
The Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP, mission is to provide nonclinical alcohol and drug-related education, prevention services, training and support to leaders and community members.
The mental well-being of Soldiers and Family Members is a top priority. Behavioral Health programs provide services to promote a healthy mental state of mind.
A healthy state of mind also can be reinforced by Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, or CSF2, training. CSF2 provides resilience-based instruction to help Soldiers stay focused and battle-ready, and it can help Family Members and Civilians stay resilient at home and on the job.
For those Soldiers who are injured, the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, or IDES, is used to determine whether they are able to continue serving. The system was established by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense to provide examinations to determine disability ratings.
For Soldiers who are victims of sexual assault and / or sexual harassment, the Army’s Sexual Harassment / Assault Response Program, or SHARP, provides victim advocates and prevention-focused training from the unit level to division level. Victims are treated with respect and receive support from partner services such as medical professionals, chaplains, law enforcement, legal and advocacy agencies.
For Soldiers who are transitioning from Army to civilian life, the Soldier for Life: Transition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Army Career and Alumni Program, provides guidance to help make the transition process easier. Service members, retirees, veterans and Family Members learn about everything from benefits to employment resources to help make the process less stressful.
Soldiers and Civilians who are relocating due to a permanent change of station have access to the Total Army Sponsorship Program. This is a commander’s program to help assist Soldiers, Families and Civilian Employees during a move. Incoming personnel are assigned a sponsor who has significant time on station and welcomes newcomers with information and referral services on the installation.
The Army also offers Strong Bonds to single and married Soldiers. Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain-led program that builds individual resiliency and strengthens the Army Family through relationship education and skills training.
The Army Suicide Prevention Program is an integral part of R2C that helps improve the readiness of the entire Army Family through training, data collection and analysis, and education to decrease suicidal behaviors and recognize warning signs.
Clarke said that while each program has a specific purpose, they are interrelated and are part of a large network of services that are available to support leaders in maintaining and improving readiness and resiliency.
Clarke referenced Pfc. Robert Hickey, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, who recently completed U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga. The six-week physically and mentally demanding course has a graduation rate of about 50 percent.
“It is exceptionally rare for a private first class to graduate Ranger School,” he said. “Not only is the school exceptionally challenging physically and mentally, but the students’ leadership skills are evaluated and they are expected to perform as a mid-grade noncommissioned officer or higher.”
Clarke added that Hickey is an example of resilience among the division’s Soldiers.
“In respect to the resilience required, it brings up a great point for developing resiliency in our formations,” he said. “While we do conduct annual formal resiliency training taught by unit master resiliency trainers, the best way to hone and test those skills is through tough, demanding, realistic training that challenges Soldiers and leaders – whether that be a unit-level training like demanding physical fitness training, field training exercises, etc. – or in this case, external schools such as Ranger School.”
Leaders are not the only ones who are tasked with looking out for the force; Soldiers are also responsible for looking out for their battle buddies, Clarke added.
“Leadership plays a major role in building resilience and sustained unit readiness; likewise, peer relationships can provide important sources of support,” he said. “Peer relationships are more likely to reveal problems or concerns before leaders have a chance to recognize warning signs. All personnel should act as responsible peers and utilize the education, training, assistance and treatment provided by the R2C programs and services.”
All of the R2C programs are available at Fort Drum, and agencies are ready and eager to assist community members.
“Our R2C end state is achieved when 10th Mountain Division’s culture embraces readiness and resilience as part of the profession and as a critical component to force readiness,” Clarke said. “Our efforts are focused (on) building stronger and more resilient Soldiers, Families and Civilians, and enhancing individual and unit readiness, now and in the future.”
For more information about the Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign, visit the official site at www.army.mil/readyandresilient