Mission readiness is an important factor in a Soldier’s career, but that can be interrupted when an individual is involved with certain high-risk behaviors.
The Fort Bragg Risk Reduction Program, part of the Army Substance Abuse Program, is a tool to help commanders identify and reduce high-risk behavior in their Soldiers.
These high-risk behaviors include: financial problems, child abuse, spouse abuse, crimes against property, crimes against persons, traffic violations, alcohol and drug offenses, absent without leave, suicide gestures and attempts, sexually transmitted diseases, injuries and safety accidents.
Marci Curry, coordinator, Risk Reduction Program, Fort Bragg ASAP is one of two coordinators who cover the entire post. The coordinators collect data from incidents that have already occurred on the installation and produce a shot-group report. The report lets battalion commanders know where they stand in their Soldiers’ highrisk behavior in relation to the Fort Bragg, U.S. Army Forces
Command or Army average. The shot-group looks like a dart board with 15 sections for each risk behavior. The closer the dots are to the middle of the target, the fewer incidents for that particular behavior.
“The shot-group report identifies trends for the battalion, and one trend early on in my unit was alcohol incidents,” said Lt. Col. Jarrett Thomas, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division.
“We focused our safety briefs on that topic and have since seen a reduction in that high-risk behavior. Even though we still have it, it seems to be getting a little better.”
Thomas, who has been using this program since he took command in November 2012, said the shot group report is a great tool for his unit of over 800 Soldiers to see themselves.
“I think this is just one tool that helps aid leaders in making us a little bit better, as far as our readiness and resiliency,” said Thomas.
“The Ready and Resilient Campaign and Risk Reduction Program all tie in. It’s all about readiness,
and identifying things like this and being able to bounce back from high-risk behavior you have as an individual,” he added.
Soldiers often partake in highrisk behaviors, especially after a deployment, but Thomas said they host quarterly, safety stand down days, as well as weekly safety briefs to try and mitigate these behaviors.
“Instead of taking that risk, do something more productive. I mean, what we do is pretty risky already — jumping out of aircraft, we don’t need to add to that,” said Thomas.
“If we can do things, like call a friend, a battle buddy or a taxi, those kinds of things help. I’m hearing that on a more frequent basis from my company commanders, first sergeants, and my command sergeant major as well. I know it’s working,” added Thomas.
Capt. Luis Flores, commander, Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division remembers several times he was approached
by a Soldier explaining to him about a situation that they were able to avoid because of a safety br ief.
“I had a Soldier who was in a motorcycle accident approach me and say that had he not heard about the motorcycle safety class during a safety brief and attended it, he would’ve been hurt more when he was in that accident,” said Flores. “Without the Risk Reduction Program, more serious incidences would occur.
“We’ve created an atmosphere as leaders, using the information from the risk factor shot group where Soldiers realize we really care about their well-being. They’re not afraid to come to the leaders for help, or to get their battle buddies help,” said Flores. “The program helps us to see an issue or trend happening within our units, and get a handle on it before it gets out of control.”
Commanders do not have to handle these discussions with their Soldiers alone. The Fort Bragg Installation Prevention Team has subject matter experts
from different agencies around the installation, such as Provost Marshal’s Office, Preventive Medicine, Army Community Service, Department of Social Work, Installation Safety Officer, and other agencies to assist as needed. The departments will teach classes on their respective subjects upon request.
“If we can look at trends like this, for example, suicide ideation, suicide attempts, or actual suicides, or where we lose a paratrooper drinking and driving, or by motorcycle accidents, things that affect mission readiness substantially, it will help keep us on the right track,” said Thomas.
“So when we are called to deploy, we can deploy with the maximum amount of paratroopers we have in the battalion.
“The shot-group report gives us as leaders, an opportunity to address those concerns, talk about them together, take the trends we see and use them in our counselings with our individual Soldiers,” said Thomas.