Resilience is the ability to bounce back in the face of adversity … it’s mental toughness.
Webster defines resilience as, “the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress” and “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”
The strength of our nation is only as strong as the Soldiers, families and civilians who courageously support and defend it.
Over the last eight years, more than one million Soldiers have deployed to combat, more than 3,900 Soldiers have sacrificed their lives, and more than 25,000 have been wounded in service to our country.
In addition, Army units and families across the globe are relocating in compliance with the Base Realignment and Closure Law.
To remain strong in this dynamic environment, leaders must proactively maintain and develop resiliency programs and services to enable the total Army community (Soldiers, civilians, families and retirees) to maintain healthy relationships and happy lives.
Our approach to supporting resiliency in the Army community is to enhance individuals’ ability to adapt to stress by supporting, maintaining and developing programs and services that promote total wellness.
We will use the Public Health Model of assessment, education, intervention and treatment to integrate and deliver services.
By applying this model before a crisis happens, we will be better able to keep the Army community strong in all dimensions of resiliency.
I am convinced that the Army spends too much time fixing Soldiers after they break, evidenced by the rise in suicide and substance abuse rates. We should be spending our time, energy and resources to make the Army community resilient, to prevent them from breaking.
Individuals must be fit mentally, physically and spiritually to achieve optimum resilience.
The installation management community will provide the best care, support and services for the Army community through initiatives including the Army Family Action Plan, Army Family Covenant, Army Community Covenants, the Installation Management Campaign Plan and the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program.
When I was the senior commander at Fort Hood, Texas, I built a Resiliency Campus to enable the Army community to become resilient before and during deployments, and to solve many other challenges.
Other IMCOM garrisons are also focusing on resilience.
Fort Bliss, Texas, has a Restoration and Resilience Center that offers a Warrior Resilience Program and a Family Resilience Program.
Fort Jackson, S.C., is opening a Master Resilience Training school to equip leaders to teach coping skills.
At Fort Campbell, Ky., the Family Resiliency Council has teamed up with key organizations to be one of the first installations to publish an online resource guide.
The strain of multiple deployments and other stress factors may continue into the future.
I challenge leaders and personnel throughout the Army community to think of new ideas to enhance installation resiliency initiatives and send them to installation leadership or myself.
I also challenge each of you to take advantage of existing programs and services in your community to remain mentally, physically and spiritually fit.