|By David Vergun, Army News Service
FORT MEADE, Md. — The Master Resilience Training aspect of Comprehensive
Soldier Fitness is working well. That's the conclusion of an Army
report, released last month, covering a 15-month period of statistical
Spc. Gerald Schumacher of 2nd
Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th
Infantry Division, climbs a mountain Jan. 11, in Watapur
district, Kunar province, Afghanistan. The U.S. Army’s
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program helps prepare Soldiers
like Schumacher for the physical and emotional rigors of combat.
(Photo courtesy of U.S. Army)
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, or CSF, was launched in 2009 to
teach Soldiers how to be psychologically strong in the face of
adversity, such as combat.
The program, also available to Family members and Department of the
Army (DA) civilians, was designed at the University of Pennsylvania
by behavioral specialists using proven research-based methodologies.
Within CSF, all Soldiers, active and reserve component, are required
annually to take the Global Assessment Tool (GAT), an online
questionnaire which measures a Soldier's psychological health.
The GAT scores give Soldiers an indicator of where they are strong
and where they can improve. Those needing improvement could take
Comprehensive Resilience Modules, which are online help tutorials,
or seek professional counseling.
GAT scores are confidential but the results are aggregated for
statistical purposes, such as for use in the recently released
Longitudinal Analysis of the Impact of Master Resilience Training,
or MRT, on Self-Reported Resilience and Psychological Health Data.
MRT is the second aspect of CSF. Master resilience trainers are
Soldiers and DA civilians who are graduates of the 10-day MRT-C
course taught at University of Pennsylvania, Victory University, or
by the Mobile Training Team. They teach leaders to instill
resilience in subordinates — meaning they help fellow Soldiers learn
to bounce back from adversity.
The study evaluated GAT scores of eight randomly selected brigade
combat teams, known as BCTs. Four received MRT and four did not.
Over the 15-month period, scores of the four BCTs receiving the
training were significantly higher than the others, irrespective of
other variables, such as unit leadership and cohesion.
"This report represents a significant milestone with respect to the
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program and the Army's broader efforts
to develop a more resilient and capable force," wrote Army Vice
Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli (who now is retired), in the
report's forward. "It is my hope that this report will spark
fruitful discussions; leading to new and improved ways, we may help
our Soldiers, Army civilians and Family members to improve their
overall psychological health."
The study has demonstrated that the program is successful, concluded
Brig. Gen. Jim Pasquarette, the CSF program director.
"I believe this is something we're going to have forever, similar to
physical training," Pasquarett said. "I think in the future, even
under this budget, we're going to fund it. We believe this will save
us money through prevention (because) it helps our Soldiers, Family
members and Department of the Army civilians deal with adversity in
their life and more importantly — thrive in their lives."