Secretary of the Army John McHugh spoke of the urgency of Soldier wellness, and announced a new, holistic approach to the programs and policies that address it during a visit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord Monday,
Taking care of Soldiers is one of our top priorities, McHugh said. It is not just a necessity but a moral imperative.
At a press conference ending the first day of an installation tour, McHugh said a comprehensive, Armywide review of behavioral health was completed recently. Analysis of the findings is in progress, and will lead to diagnoses to be used to improve the behavioral health care system, with emphasis on communication and coordination.
I am ordering the development of an Armywide Ready and Resilient Campaign Plan to standardize and synchronize effective support programs, McHugh said.
The new plan will integrate key services, provide leaders with new tools and timely information, and assist in the identification of at-risk Soldiers, McHugh said.
We have accomplished a great deal, but recognize there is more to be done. We remain committed to creating a culture of awareness, encouragement and acceptance for personnel seeking help, he said. It is our duty to assist them in every way and rest assured I and the entire Army leadership are dedicated to getting this right.
The 7th Infantry Division hosted McHugh, the 21st Army secretary in history, during his third visit to JBLM since his appointment in 2009.
Chats with newly redeployed Soldiers from Afghanistan were first on his agenda upon arrival at McChord Field. He listened to members of 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and chatted over lunch at the Courage Inn dining facility.
Soldiers with 16th Combat Aviation Brigade then showed McHugh the Flight Simulator Training Center and discussed the progress of the brigade since moving to JBLM in August 2011. The secretary also got a look at AH-64E and UH-60M flight simulators at the FSTC and received a rundown of Army aviator capabilities developed through training at the FSTC.
Next, McHugh went to the Mission Training Complex, where the 17th Fires Brigade provided a firsthand view of 21st century training.
Through the use of the blended live, virtual, constructive training concept we were able to replicate the entire brigade, even though about 70 percent were unavailable, and execute effective multi-echelon training, Col. Ken Kamper, the 17th Fires Bde. commander, said.
On Tuesday, McHugh visited with members of I Corps, the Army Medical Command at Madigan Army Medical Center, and toured the facilities at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology.