|By Gary Sheftick, Army News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of the Army John McHugh directed that
programs from resilience training to suicide prevention be part of a
wide-ranging “Ready and Resilient Campaign” plan, which will launch
later this month.
During a press conference at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., McHugh
said he’s looked at 47 recommendations from an Army-wide Behavioral
Health Task Force, which he stood up last year.
Secretary of the Army John
McHugh signs a directive at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.,
Feb. 4. McHugh is directing the development of a “Ready and
Resilient Campaign” to integrate and synchronize the multiple
efforts and programs designed to improve readiness and
(Photo by Spc. John G. Martinez)
While McHugh said findings of the task force have not yet been
staffed and are not yet ready for release, he did divulge one of the
recommendations: that all programs dealing with resilience come under a
single command authority, the G-1 or Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff
“They felt the disparity of command authority over all of these various
programs tended to diffuse things rather than make them more
accessible,” McHugh said of the Behavioral Health Task Force
recommendations. He explained that the abundance of programs, and
redundancy of services, could sometimes be confusing, making it
difficult for commanders or Soldiers to know where to turn.
To eliminate that confusion, McHugh signed a memorandum directing that
“multiple efforts and programs” be integrated and synchronized under the
Army Ready and Resilient Campaign plan, or R2C. R2C programs will
include those aimed at eliminating sexual assault and sexual harassment,
bullying and hazing, substance abuse, domestic violence, and any stigmas
or barriers associated with seeking help, according to the memo.
McHugh charged Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal, Ph.D., and
Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III to finalize
plans for the campaign and present them to him by Feb. 15. The campaign
“must be a top priority for all Army leaders,” he said.
The R2C will make improvements to the Integrated Disability Evaluation
System, known as IDES, and shorten case-processing times, according to
the memorandum. And it will improve methods to help leaders understand
high-risk behaviors that could lead to suicide. The campaign will make
resilience training a key part of all professional military education,
according to the establishing memo. And it will promote healthy
lifestyles that are based on the triad of physical fitness, nutrition
Finally, the campaign will strive to eliminate stigma that might keep
Soldiers from seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress or brain
“We’re trying to teach Soldiers it’s OK to reach out for help,” McHugh
said. “You don’t just do that in a class or two to a young Soldier. It
really has to be a career-long progression.”
The R2C will seek to institutionalize education to promote resilience
and build it into professional military instruction at various levels of
a Soldier’s career, McHugh said.
“We’re trying to instill into virtually every level of training, it’s
your responsibility to take care of your buddy,” he said.
McHugh lamented the record 325 suicides committed by Soldiers last year.
“All of us in the Army are deeply concerned about this,” he said. His
announcement was made at Joint Base Lewis-McChord because his Armywide
Behavioral Health Task Force review was initiated as a result of
Soldiers and veterans there having post-traumatic stress disorders
diagnoses downgraded last year at Madigan Army Medical Center.
McHugh said the problems stemmed from a “forensic diagnosis” method
which is no longer used in the Army. Forensic diagnosis is a
“legitimate” procedure, McHugh said, but one that analysis found to be
“not workable” in the Army.
For information about resiliency training for Family Members and
civilian employees in the Fort McCoy community, call Army Community
Service at 608-388-3505.