Defender 6 Sends: Army taking steps to build more resilient families

| November 19, 2010 | 0 Comments

Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch
Commander, Installation Management Command

WASHINGTON — Given the Army’s 235-year history, resiliency is a relatively new word in our vocabulary.

We hear it often nowadays, from the highest levels of leadership on down, as we talk about how we are addressing the effects of nine years of conflict.


There may be a danger that someone will hear the word once too often and tune it out as the latest “buzz” word. However, we need to keep talking about resiliency until every Soldier, civilian and family member hears it and gets the message that we want them not only to survive, but to thrive.

A dictionary definition of resiliency is “the ability to recover from misfortune or adjust easily to change.” When the Army talks about resiliency, we are talking about more than the ability to bounce back from adversity. We are also talking about the ability to realize personal growth and development in the face of challenging situations.

Resiliency is rooted in physical, mental and spiritual fitness. It is about finding the balance in life between work, family and self, and living life to the fullest.

During the last nine years of persistent conflict, our Army family has faced challenging situations, and in too many cases, tragedy. Multiple deployments and too little dwell time have strained our relationships. We can see the stress in rising rates of divorce, domestic violence, suicide and other destructive behaviors.

We have to reverse the trends. We owe it to our Soldiers, civilians and family members to help them build the resiliency they need to cope with their challenges and come out stronger and better.

The Army is recognizing the stress and strain on our forces and families. We are making resiliency a priority and a part of Army culture, and have taken a number of steps to assess and build resiliency in our Army family.

One of the initiatives is the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program, which is designed to enhance the resilience, readiness and potential of Soldiers, civilians and family members by building strength in every area of life: physical fitness, emotional, social, spiritual and family.

CSF is mandatory for Soldiers, but geared to the whole Army community, with components for family members and civilians as well. Participants begin with the Global Assessment Tool, which measures strength in each of the five areas. The GAT is located at

The results of the assessment direct an individualized training plan, which includes virtual training, classroom training and support from resiliency experts. The program is long-term, meant to help every member succeed and grow personally.

Another resource that helps Soldiers, civilians and family members build resiliency are the Army Wellness Centers. They focus on prevention and helping people identify their problem areas and make positive changes for their health and well-being. Wellness Center programs include metabolic and fitness testing, nutrition education, weight management, stress management and tobacco cessation.

One challenge for the Army is to make sure that every member of the Army community has access to the resources needed to build resiliency. Every member needs to know what support exists and where support can be accessed. We have plenty of great programs and services, such as the CSF program and Army Wellness Centers, but we need to make sure we are effective and efficient in delivering them to members who can use them.

The Army’s focus on resiliency is important. It puts mental, emotional and spiritual fitness on par with physical fitness, all of which we need to perform successfully. It also acknowledges that Soldiers who make up our all-volunteer Army and their family members need and want balance in their lives.

It is easy to get knocked off-balance by the challenges we face, which is why I encourage you to take the time to build your resiliency and find your balance.

As I said, you have to live your life. For me, this signifies not only serving my country, but even more importantly, being a husband and father and making time for friends.

Especially during the fast-approaching holiday season, take the time to do what recharges you, to spend time with those important to you, and ultimately, to live your life well.

Defender 6.

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Category: Leadership, Standing Columns

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