Thursday, May 20, 2010

'Taking Action, Measuring Results:' Navy, Marine Corps Address Combat, Operational Stress Control

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

May 20, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Navy and Marine Corps leaders, along with medical and mental health professionals, chaplains, combat veterans, and family members convened in San Diego for the start of the Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference May 18. The three-day symposium, organized by the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) to address combat, operational and daily stress, marks the first time the Navy and Marine Corps have dealt with the issue from a joint perspective.

"Our country soon will enter a tenth year at war, and there is no abatement in the psychological challenges that come with the prolonged combat and highly demanding operational environments faced by our warriors," said Capt. Paul Hammer, NCCOSC director. "This conference delivers a clear bottom line: training for mental resilience and stress management are an essential part of military life."

With the theme "stress is not only a warfighting issue, but an everyday military issue," the NCCOSC has brought together individuals and organizations from around the world to discuss the new combined Navy/Marine Corps COSC doctrine, as well as new policies, programs, and interventions redarding combat and operational stress control.

The areas of focus at the conference include combat and operational stress control challenges for leaders, caregivers, clinicians, researchers and families.

One highlight was the presentation of the potential new COSC doctrine. This doctrine promotes effective leadership in enhancing the mission capabilities of caregivers and empowers all leaders to perform the five core functions of combat and operational stress control: strengthen, mitigate, identify, treat and reintegrate.

Psychological stress, according to this new concept, is plotted and measured on a continuum of severity, duration and impairment. This paradigm ranges from "ready" to "reacting" to "injured" to "ill."

"The COSC doctrine clearly outlines the responsibility that leaders, individual service members, their health care providers and their families must share in order to promote psychological wellness," said Hammer. "It is now the job of each of us to take these concepts, develop them to successfully reach the many different communities in which our Sailors and Marines serve and incorporate them into all facets of our everyday work."

NCCOSC is a Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery program created to improve the psychological health of Navy and Marine Corps forces by helping to build and promote resilience. Its goals are to provide service members, combat veterans and their families with educational programs to effectively address combat, operational and daily stress, reduce the stigma in seeking mental health treatment and facilitate research in psychological health.

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