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Army evaluates plan to synchronize readiness, resilience programs

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Dec. 06, 2012) -- The Army aims to take programs related to Soldier resilience and align them under one "governance structure" that is located at the top level of the Army and runs all the way down to installation and regional coordination councils.

Details for the "Ready and Resilient Campaign" plan were reviewed by Army senior leaders this week in Washington and their recommendations for going forward with R2C were briefed to the Army's vice chief of staff during the R2C symposium, Dec. 4-5, at the National Defense University here.

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As part of the Ready and Resilient Campaign, the Army aims to take programs related to Soldier resilience and synchronize them in a way that makes them more accessible to Soldiers and their commanders.

At the symposium, Army leadership from the surgeon general's office, manpower and reserve affairs, Installation Management Command, Training and Doctrine Command, the Judge Advocate General's office and others gathered to review and provide critical initial feedback on the R2C plan before its implementation begins early next year.

"The campaign plan is something we have recently developed, as a result of some of the things we've done over time and as a result of what we've seen on our trips out to the field," said Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III. "It helps us kind of synchronize the efforts of the total force and make sure we are focusing on the right things."

There are multiple programs that will be affected by R2C, all of which affect Soldier readiness, fitness, resilience and health. Some of those programs are the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, the Army's suicide prevention efforts, the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, transition programs and the Wounded Warrior care programs.

The vice chief said the Army plans to synchronize multiple Army programs -- any one of which may be successful on its own -- to make them more accessible to commanders, to eliminate potential redundancies and to make them easier for commanders to understand.

"As we look at them you know in some cases we need to refocus some things, make sure the resources are there, make sure that one entity is not competing with another entity for important resources -- that we are looking at this thing in a holistic fashion," he said. "I think if we do the right things, we will be successful in all of these programs."

Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, deputy chief of staff, Army G-1, said feedback from the field earlier this year, as part of the vice chief's "Health of the Force" tour of Army installations, showed that as more resilience and Soldier fitness programs are pushed to the field, commanders have had a difficult time in some cases knowing how the programs relate to each other. The R2C plan aims to provide clarity and understanding to commanders, Bromberg said.

"It will give them a single point of entry into Army programs that support improving, overall, taking a great Soldier and making him even better," Bromberg said. "By improving the individual Soldier's readiness, it is going to improve their unit, improving the unit is going to improve the Army."

Synchronizing these programs, Bromberg said, will also make it easier for commanders to incorporate "resilience" into their core training, "so it won't be seen as additional training, it's seen as complementary and supportive training to make their unit and individuals better."

Bromberg also said that as leaders discussed the idea of resilience, the talks also turned to "readiness." A Soldier who is resilient, he said, is a Soldier who is ready for the war fight.

"That means individual readiness; you'll hear us talk about if you have a ready individual, you'll have a ready unit. And ready units, you know squad-level, make ready platoons. Ready platoons make ready companies and ready companies make a ready Army," Bromberg said. "That's why we want to synchronize it that way."

While Army leadership was asked to evaluate and provide feedback on the R2C plan as it is written, the feedback itself will be evaluated as to how it can improve the R2C program.

"We'll collate what we heard with our planning team back in the [Pentagon], we'll come back together, start refining the words and then in January we'll go back to the leadership and say does this look about right to meet the chief and the secretary's intent," Bromberg said.

Bromberg said the R2C plan will begin fielding in February or March of next year.

In preparation for developing the R2C, Austin, Bromberg and other Army senior leaders embarked on a week-long series of visits to several Army bases in July to develop a better understanding of the health of the force.

"We did multiple sensing sessions at each installation just to talk about these different aspects of suicide prevention, sexual harassment, Army drawdown, families, readiness, resiliency and just an open dialogue about these concerns and how we need to pull the team together," Bromberg said. "When we came back we said we really need to look at how we synchronize these activities."

During the visits, commanders expressed concern with taking care of their Soldiers and were also concerned about having the right resources to do so. Finding ways for the Army to provide those resources was one of the goals of the visits.

When Austin and the senior leaders who accompanied him on the trip returned to Washington, they consolidated their observations from the trip, analyzed the needs of commanders in the field and looked for better ways to provide them with what they need to take care of their Soldiers.

What was learned from health of the force visit was instrumental in developing the R2C plan.

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