Senior Army leaders visited Fort Bragg Monday on a tour of six installations to assess the health of the force.
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, vice chief of staff of the Army; Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the Army surgeon general; Lt. Gen. Mike Ferriter, assistant chief of staff from Installation Management Command; and Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, Army chief of public affairs, looked at programs, services, resources and best practices pertaining to the health of the force.
The goal of the visit was to identify best practices on caring for Soldiers and their Families, and make sure they’re shared across the Army. Additionally, they looked at friction points in this service and identified ways to address them effectively.
After a full day of meeting with Fort Bragg health care officials, sensing sessions were held with different groups across the installation. At one sensing group hosted by Lanza, the discussion was lively and well attended. Regarding the prevention of suicide and sexual harassment and abuse, the general consensus of the audience seemed to be that more mentoring and hands-on leadership was needed for Soldiers who were troubled or in need of mental health care.
“Regardless of technology and social media communications, you can’t text leadership. Our Army is about people and as you leave here to day, I want you to think about this. ‘What are you doing to affect one Soldier? What are we doing that is not effective (in preventing/addressing suicides and sexual harassment and abuse)?’” said Lanza
Ultimately, the group will make recommendations to apply additional resources and affect policy changes where needed.
During the five-day trip the group will look at the integrated disability evaluation system process and installation-level programs and services specific to suicide prevention, wounded warrior care, sexual assault/harassment and other health and discipline-related issues.
“The health of the force remains our top priority. We are continuing to make progress in many areas and that is largely a reflection of leader involvement. That said, we recognize that we still have a lot of work to do and we must keep getting better,” said Austin.
Besides Fort Bragg, the group will visit Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Riley, Kan., and Forts Benning, Stewart and Gordon in Ga.
“We’re visiting these six installations because they represent a good mix of Reserve component, corps, division and TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command) units and they are home to a large population of Soldiers. As such, we believe we can have the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time at these locations. Ultimately, the goal is to make our Army better and to ensure we’re providing quality care and support to our troops and Families,” Austin said.