|By C. Todd Lopez, Army News Service
D.C. —The Army has extended its concern about the mental fitness of
Soldiers and their Families to the civilians that serve stateside,
abroad and in combat zones.
Department of the Army (DA) civilians are encouraged now to have their
psychological resilience evaluated by the civilian version of the
“Global Assessment Tool” or GAT, which is part of the Army’s
“Comprehensive Soldier Fitness” program.
Three versions of the GAT are available now, through Army Knowledge
Online. One version for Soldiers, one for their Families, and now one
for civilians. All three measure the same things, though with different
questions, said Capt. Paul B. Lester, a research psychologist with the
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Office.
“The factors are pretty much the same — we’re looking at social,
emotional, spiritual and Family fitness,” Lester said. “A lot of the
same things that are important to resilience to Soldiers are absolutely
as important to civilians.”
The military version of the online evaluation is mandatory for Soldiers
— so far more than 700,000 Soldiers have completed it.
Army civilians, however, are not required to take the GAT though they
are encouraged to do so, Lester said. Civilians can expect to spend
about 15 minutes completing the online survey, and afterward they are
given feedback about how they did.
“It’s a self-awareness tool to help them get an idea of where they are
strong, and also where they can improve,” Lester said. “It gives you an
idea of where you are on the resilience continuum.”
After that, he said, GAT participants will have access to “comprehensive
resilience modules,” the same ones that Soldiers are doing, to help them
improve their mental toughness.
“The skills we are providing are life skills,” Lester said. “It’s not
only how to respond to and be resilient in the face of extreme
adversity, as in combat setting, but how to deal with everyday stressors
in Family, at work, and in your personal and professional life.”
There are some DA civilians who are deployed now to combat zones like
Iraq or Afghanistan, Lester said. And while those civilians are not
supposed to actually be participating in combat — that’s the job of
Soldiers — life in the combat zone is stressful. So assessing mental
fitness and working to improve it is critical for both Soldiers and
“Psychological resilience in a deployment situation is absolutely
critical,” he said. “The work there is hard, the hours long, and the
separation from Family and friends is challenging.”
Even Army civilians at work stateside or at Army installations overseas
can benefit from participating, Lester said.
“We train people, at an individual level, how to be a better team
member,” he said. “At the leader level, how being a better team member
impacts the overall team. It’s not only individual performance but the
additive effect of better individual performance leading to better team
Lester also said that the results of the GAT are confidential, and that
supervisors “will never see” the results of an employee’s participation
in the assessment.
Soldiers, Army civilians and Family members can all participate in the
GAT by visiting the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness website at: