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Resilience Programs Have Mushroomed in Military, But Do They Work? Cont.
Durgin said the need for more rigorous program evaluation is an issue that DCoE had also recognized.
“There are multiple resilience programs, and they are very well intentioned, and some are anecdotally believed to be great programs, but the issue was how do we validate or what are the metrics that you have a good program?” he told U.S Medicine. “I think that is what the RAND program provides us, this piece that you don’t have metrics, and we knew that.”
He said that Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness already has metrics and has been collecting data. The Air Force is developing an Air Force-wide resilience program and is working to make sure it has tools to validate what it is doing, he said, adding that the Navy’s Operational Stress Control and Marine Corps’ Combat Operational Stress Control are engaging in a similar process.
Resilience programs were not as common in the past, but with prolonged combat engagements since 9/11, the need for them was recognized by DoD leaders and policymakers, Durgin said. with significant funding for these types programs coming from Congress three years ago.
“As a result of prolonged combat engagements, we have recognized the need for robust resilience and prevention programs,” he said in a written statement. “As the services have moved forward with a variety of programs, it was to provide immediate support, and there may have not been a process for validation for these new programs. Now we know we need to validate.”
The key to strengthening programs must be an “ongoing collaborative effort between the Defense Department and the service,” he explained. Continual evaluation and refinement of existing programs and processes will continue to help the Defense Department identify the best-of-breed programs and initiatives across the force.” DCoE has taken a multi-pronged approach to identifying research-supported best practices for resilience programs, according to Durgin.
“Our approach includes directly assisting promising resilience programs with their program evaluation efforts, conducting site-visit evaluations for red-cell-funded programs, developing program effectiveness toolkits to disseminate with programs and advising DoD workgroups and agencies conducting research and program evaluations.”
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