U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program
The U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program (CSF) was established in August 2008 by then-Chief of Staff of the Gen. George W. Casey, Jr and was lead by Brigadier General Dr Rhonda Cornum, adviser to the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre. The CFS program, based on over 30 years of scientific evidence, was established to provide all US Army community members with the psychological resources and skills to cope with adversity and thrive in their lives.
BRIGADIER GENERAL RHONDA CORNUM ON PSYCHOLOGICAL FITNESS IN THE US ARMY
Desired Outcomes of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program (CSF):
- A Total Army team of physically healthy and psychologically strong Soldiers, Families and Civilians whose resilience and total fitness enables them to thrive in both the military and civilian sector and to meet a wide range of operational demands.
Giving Soldiers, Civilians, and Family members the tools for success:
- Comprehensive Soldier Fitness intends to help healthy people stay healthy while facing the challenges common in Army life. It is designed to teach skills and provide tools that help all members of the Army Family through all phases of the Soldier life cycle.
Two components within the CSF are:
- Global Assessment Tool – a psychometric instrument administered as an electronic survey. Provides an overall resilience and psychological health score based on emotional, family, social and spiritual fitness.
- Master Resilience Training – usually, experienced soldiers are chosen to partake in an intensive 10-day course where they are trained by positive psychology experts to a) become more resilient themselves and b) qualify as Master Resilience Trainers so that they can return to their specific army unit to train other soldiers/spouses/army civilians.
Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness is effective:
- An evaluation completed by Army and civilian scientists showed that Soldiers who received Master Resilience Training reported higher levels of resilience and psychological health over time than Soldiers who did not receive the training.
The SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre have adapted a similar model to measure and build the wellbeing and resilience of the population at scale.
Evaluations of resilience training amongst soldiers in the US Army showed that those exposed to resilience training had significantly lower rates of substance abuse than those who did not receive the training. Soldiers who received resilience training self-reported higher levels of resilience and psychological health. This was in turn linked to lower rates of diagnoses of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as a result of the improvement to optimism and adaptability.