FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Aug. 5, 2013) — Vice Chief of Staff of the Army General John F. Campbell spoke with several groups here on Aug. 1 about the Ready and Resilient Campaign as well as other key issues facing Soldiers and families today.
Campbell, the former commander of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) attended focus groups with Army leaders, Soldiers, civilians, families, and program managers at the Kinnard Mission Training Complex.
In a separate briefing with members of the local media, Campbell expressed his feelings on returning to the division he once commanded.
“It’s pretty awesome to come back and see the Screaming Eagles and Fort Campbell and talk to many of the Soldiers, great civilians, and leadership here,” Campbell said.
Campbell discussed his impressions of the installation’s resiliency and wellness programs, as well as the way forward on other important Army matters.
“I’ve seen a lot of great initiatives here at Fort Campbell; they’re leading the way on many things in the Ready and Resilient Campaign,” he said.
The Ready and Resilient Campaign is a recent initiative from top Army leaders to promote physical, moral, and mental fitness to maintain Army readiness and bring an enduring change to the Army culture, according to the official campaign order.
The program uses a holistic approach to address suicide prevention and health promotion and gives leaders the tools and resources to reduce or eliminate the stigma associated with suicide.
“When we have a problem, it’s in our DNA to go after it,” Campbell said. “Some problems like suicide are frustrating because we continue to work at it hard and we haven’t found that silver bullet that will stop it. So we’ve gotta continue to go at it.”
Fort Campbell recently introduced a number of measures to address suicides and resiliency through improved programs and infrastructure.
Incoming Fort Campbell Soldiers attend 16 hours of Master Resiliency Training, and two hours of additional quarterly training. The installation also has Military Family Life consultants and Embedded Behavioral Health Care clinics located at the unit level.
In June, a gathering of Army leaders broke ground on Fort Campbell’s National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) Satellite Center. The center will treat Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).
Campbell said he and his staff were very interested in the feedback received from the focus groups that attended, and that he looked forward returning to Washington D.C. with recommendations for best practices to implement Army-wide.
The Vice Chief and his team looked at a number of operations to include in-processing, sponsorship, and governance. Campbell had high praise for the reporting practices utilized by leaders to the Senior Mission Commander, Brig. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, and called it the standard for the Army.
“He’s able to bring in all of the stakeholders on a frequency where they’ve met and he makes decisions on those issues at his level, and it’s a really integrated approach. He’s able to take that information and make the best decisions for Fort Campbell,” he said.
Campbell also talked about the Soldier for Life program, an initiative that builds Soldiers’ resiliency from initial entry training, throughout their career, and into civilian life as productive members of society.
“If they have issues, then we have to take care of those issues,” he said. “[We] give them those toolsets to help them deal with the stressors in their life, and help them transition out of the Army, whether that’s after one enlistment, or after 20 years.”
Campbell also spoke about the future of retention practices in the Army for both uniformed personnel and civilian employees.
“It’s gonna be a smaller Army, and the quality of that Army has to be the very best,” Campbell said. He explained that the decision to keep the best Soldiers employed in the Army would fall on unit commanders, who would make retention recommendations to senior commanders.
Campbell also addressed possible cuts in the coming years, but couldn’t commit to any specific numbers. He explained how uncertainty about the fiscal year 2014 budget was holding back the Army from giving any numbers beyond the cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Without a guaranteed budget, Campbell said he couldn’t predict if furloughs would continue beyond this fiscal year, but he expressed gratitude for the civilians that continued to work hard across the installation.
Campbell also said his concern wasn’t the lost eight-hour day, but rather the decreased productivity and passion civilian employees invested into their jobs, previously working overtime, despite the 40-hour work week.
“I’m thankful that we have great civilians that continue to have patience with us,” he said. “There’s a magnitude of more than just that one day that we’re losing by not having our civilians, and it impacts our readiness.”
Campbell’s visit to the base was one of many on his ‘Health of the Force’ tour this week. He had recently visited Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. and Fort Drum, N.Y. He and his staff will continue gathering resiliency training feedback at Fort Jackson, S.C., before eventually returning to the Pentagon to discuss lessons learned with high-level officials.