Based on existing evidence of public health initiatives, any single intervention is likely to have only a small impact on creating and sustaining the behavioral changes required to both optimize human performance and enhance personal readiness. A comprehensive strategy that includes a range of interventions, that can be delivered to scale, will be required to make the health choice the easy and desired choice.
“Readiness is #1, and there is no other #1.”
General Mark A. Milley, 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and served as the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army.
To succeed in the Human Dimension, the Army requires that Soldiers and leaders have physical, cognitive, and emotional dominance to ensure squad overmatch.
- Leaders create the command climate, physical environment, and provide the resources to enhance physical, emotional, and cognitive fitness.
- Leaders must coach, teach, mentor, and model optimal personal readiness.
- Proper facilities, policies, and procedures can operationalize personal readiness.
- Choice architecture, built environment, and behavioral economics can help make the healthy choice the easy choice.
- Like professional athletes, realistic training requires that units leverage the latest science in Sleep, Activity, and Nutrition to optimize performance in austere environments.
- Soldiers must maintain a high degree of personal readiness.
How does leadership help to optimize human performance and personal readiness?
“All Army leaders are responsible to set conditions for a culture encouraging help seeking behaviors.”
General Daniel Allyn, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 2014 until 2017.
Leader engagement is fundamental to driving the cultural changes required to achieve Human Dimension’s goals. In addition to ensuring adequate resourcing for the Human Dimension, leaders need to model the appropriate behaviors in a deliberate effort to influence unit and Army culture. Leaders influence Soldiers’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors by developing and shaping perception, judgment, and decision-making. The P3 provides leaders a framework and developmental counseling tools to effectively coach, mentor, and teach those they lead.
How does realistic training help to optimize human performance and personal readiness?
“Our challenge is to optimize the performance of every soldier and civilian through innovation and investment in education, training, professionalism, leader development, holistic health and total fitness, talent acquisition and precision talent management of our human capital.”
Lieutenant General Robert B. Brown, Commanding General, Combined Arms Center, Ft Leavenworth, Kansas
Operational assignments and institutional training remain the backbone of how Soldiers receive and retain information and skills. Training encompasses not only the material being learned but the delivery model that includes an active and participative process, as well as material that are tailored as much as possible to the learner and the environment. This training curriculum must leverage technology, tools, and leading practices in the form of training support packages that facilitate the teaching, learning, retention, and demonstration of knowledge, skills, and abilities.
How does institutional agility help to optimize human performance and personal readiness?
“No nation has ever survived, and no nation ever will survive, whose people are not physically, mentally, and morally fit for survival.”
United States Army Training Manual No. 1, Studies in Citizenship For Recruits (1922)
Proper environments (e.g., the “Go for Green” initiative in Army DFACs) can enable action or inaction through availability or convenience. Facilities and policies that leverage behavioral economics and what public health experts refer to as the ‘built environment’ can facilitate behavior change. Infrastructure is traditionally thought of as physical structure such as the location/accessibility of dining facilities and gyms, public spaces for exercise and physical activity such as trails and parks, and availability of healthy food such as grocery stores. Infrastructure also includes processes and policies in place such as menu standards and labeling in dining facilities, density and composition of vending machine products, and other resources that make use of the built environment.
How does development of cognitive dominance help to optimize human performance and personal readiness?
“A healthy lifestyle can lead to a better life with more engagement, energy, and fulfillment.”
Lieutenant General Patricia D. Horoho, was the 43rd United States Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, United States Army Medical Command
As a member of the Profession of Arms, Soldiers must be motivated to change their behaviors and set goals that align with the Solder’s Creed and the Profession’s standards. They must learn how to internalize incentives and personal motivation. Cognitive dominance facilitates goal setting, incentives for change, and commitment to self-development to ensure personal readiness. The professionalism and self-development of each Soldier is modeled and developed through leader engagement, taught and reinforced through training processes supported by evidence-based tools, and facilitated by local infrastructure, facilities, and programs to provide a comprehensive strategy towards readiness.
How does this apply to the P3?
P3 provides and leverages a systematic portfolio of initiatives that reinforce existing efforts and can be delivered to scale to optimize human performance. Success of the P3 is linked to leader buy-in, training of the curriculum, infrastructure support, prioritization of resources, and the personal commitment of Soldiers. Together these will provide the cultural changes required to achieve the vision outlined in Force 2025 and Beyond. Recognizing these requirements, one of the fundamental goals of the P3 is to synchronize existing efforts to optimize human performance while improving health readiness of the Total Army Family.
REFERENCE: Dobbs R, Sawers C, Thompson F, Manyika J, Woestzel J, Child P, McKenna S, Spatharou A, “Overcoming Obesity: An Initial Economic Analysis”, Nov 2014; McKinsey Global Institute, McKinsey & Company.