The OSC Team partnered with the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) conference planning committee to bring ‘real life’ testimony from humorists to commanders and family members about the tools they use to relieve stress. Our next few blog posts will feature highlights and stories from the conference. We encourage you to share them on Facebook and Twitter.
Combat Operational Stress Conference Kicks Off in San Diego
Release Date: 4/27/2011 4:56:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO (NNS) — Sailors and Marines are learning new ways to fight off the stresses of military life at the 2011 Navy and Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference in San Diego, April 26-29.
The theme of this year’s conference highlights “the critical role of junior leaders” and how their actions are vital in stress management.
“Operational stress increasingly affects our personnel; the stakes are high,” said Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, one of the conference keynote speakers. “Operational stress control is the foundation for combating that stress, therefore this conference is important. We, as leaders, are charged with the well-being of our Sailors, Marines and their families.
“The collective goal is to build an environment where our people have the skills, support network, and if necessary, the clinical health care to deal with psychological challenges—and succeed,” added Greenert.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West also addressed attendees at the onset of the conference and spoke about junior leaders.
“Leadership is not always about rank,” said West. “It’s the foundation of who we are. Those young leaders are our future and we have to invest in them. Our challenge in the military, for all these programs, is to make sure that our folks know what’s out there.”
MCPON said making sure the various programs are accessible and that service members are aware of them is important, but leaders should make sure both immediate and extended families are included in the information dissemination.
The annual conference focuses on practical tools leaders can apply to prevent or identify stress, and how early intervention with problems is critical to keeping the military fully operational.
“In my view this is predominantly a leadership issue,” said Greenert. “Leaders must be actively engaged in assuring subordinate psychological health and well being. It is complex– unlike our ships, aircraft and equipment, our people cannot run on ‘autopilot,’ nor can they be started up and ‘placed on a governor.'”
Greenert encouraged leaders to continue to engage their subordinates, to know what is going on in their lives, and added that leaders need to explain how everyone in the chain-of-command plays a vital role.
“Explain how their sacrifices have meaning and value,” said Greenert. “Extend the leadership to their families. Facilitate that family readiness and make sure they have the information they need while the unit is gone.”
Greenert mentioned ways military leaders can seek help for stress issues, such as the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery’s special psychiatric rapid intervention team, the Navy Operation Stress Control Leaders Course, and the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions.
A goal for the conference is for leaders at all levels to learn new ways to strengthen the force of the Navy and Marine Corps, along with recognizing stress injuries and effective ways to deal with them.
The conference is scheduled to provide specific information, such as how humor can be used to tackle stress, how sleep affects stress, post-traumatic stress disorder and stigmas of stress injuries.
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, visit www.navy.mil/local/pacensandiego/.