SMA’s Senior Enlisted Council focuses on personnel

By Sgt. 1st Class Joy Dulen
U.S. Army Human Resources Public Affairs

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey led the first 2016 meeting of the Senior Enlisted Council recently at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with the focus set on managing the enlisted force and maximizing talent.

Because HRC’s mission is to optimize total force personnel readiness, Dailey said it was the perfect setting for the topic at hand.

“This time, we talked about our personnel and how we’re going to rearrange the talent management and leader development of our senior noncommissioned officers,” he said.

A new direction

Dailey changed what was once known as the Board of Directors under former Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler to the SEC shortly after taking over as the 15th Sgt. Maj. of the Army in January 2015. The council of senior sergeants major from throughout the Army meets monthly via video teleconference and in person quarterly to discuss issues that affect the welfare of Soldiers.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, right, talks with Command Sgt. Maj. James Sims, U.S. Army Material command, during a recent Senior Enlisted Council meeting at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. The SEC meets quarterly to discuss issues affecting Soldiers' welfare. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joy Dulen, U.S. Army Human Resources Public Affairs)
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, right, talks with Command Sgt. Maj. James Sims, U.S. Army Material command, during a recent Senior Enlisted Council meeting at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. The SEC meets quarterly to discuss issues affecting Soldiers’ welfare. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joy Dulen, U.S. Army Human Resources Public Affairs)

Topics may range from military pay and compensation recommendations to uniform changes. However, Dailey said the time has come to concentrate on Soldiers after more than a decade at war.

“The Chief of Staff of the Army has tasked me with taking a look at how we manage our enlisted force, how we maximize the talents and capabilities of our Soldiers, and really answer some of the questions that we’ve asked for a long time,” Dailey said.

Topics discussed during SECs can affect the force in as little as a month or result in ongoing talks into the future. Dailey said it depends on the issue.

“We get recommendations, and some of those start with one individual Soldier,” he said.

Making changes

He gave the example of a recent change in Army policy on the authorized wear of black socks with the Army physical fitness uniform. A Soldier stood up in a town hall meeting and asked why black socks weren’t allowed. Less than 30 days later, the policy was changed.

“We took that to the Senior Enlisted Council, had a unanimous vote that it was in keeping with the finest traditions of Army service, went to the Chief of Staff of the Army and we quickly made a decision,” Dailey said.

Some issues are much more complex. When you’re discussing working through the intricacies of military compensation and reform, it could take several months to affect the force, he said.

“The perfect example is the Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report that has just been launched,” Dailey said. “We worked on that for two years in the Senior Enlisted Council … and some of these things take a lot of work because we have to call in the professionals, like those people who work here at the Human Resources Command, to be able to inform us and do the analysis.”

Dailey reiterated the SEC’s biggest concern is Soldiers’ welfare. They don’t want to make decisions that could have a negative impact over the long term, he said.

“This is the Army, it’s a big organization and it’s hard to turn back,” he said. “Simple things like black socks — not a huge effect on Soldiers. But the Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report, that has a huge effect on the total population of NCOs, not just now, but into the foreseeable future.”

Dailey said the SEC will continue to meet with a fresh new focus on Soldiers and the Chief of Staff of the Army’s No. 1 priority — readiness.

“We’re an organization made up of people, and we’re the largest people organization in America,” he said. “Human Resources Command is one of those critical nodes that we have to invest in for the future and make sure we get it right because they’re here to take care of our people. And our job as an Army is to always get better.”

Green Beret posthumously promoted to sergeant first class

NCO Journal report

Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock, who was killed earlier this month in Afghanistan, was posthumously promoted to sergeant first class, acting Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy announced Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock
Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock

The 30-year-old Special Forces engineer sergeant was from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was a member of the Washington National Guard. He is survived by his wife, Alexandra, and their 3-month-old son, Declan.

In his statement, Murphy said that he had met with Alexandra and Declan McClintock. He said he “let them both know that their Army family will always be there for them — and that Declan would know that his Daddy is one of our Nation’s heroes.”

McClintock was killed by small-arms fire Jan. 5 in the Marjah district of Helmand province, according to the Department of Defense. Two other American troops and four Afghan soldiers were injured during the hours-long battle between coalition and Taliban forces.

Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy renders honors as a U.S. Army carry team moves the transfer case of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock during a dignified transfer Jan. 8 at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware. McClintock, 30, of Albuquerque, N.M., was assigned to 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, in Buckley, Wash. Murphy announced Wednesday that McClintock was posthumously promoted. (U.S. Army photo by John G. Martinez)
Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy renders honors as a U.S. Army carry team moves the transfer case of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock during a dignified transfer Jan. 8 at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware. McClintock, 30, of Albuquerque, N.M., was assigned to 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, in Buckley, Wash. Murphy announced Wednesday that McClintock was posthumously promoted. (Department of Defense photo by John G. Martinez)

Alexandra McClintock told the Army Times that her husband’s teammates told her that he abandoned his cover to find a landing zone so a helicopter could land and evacuate a wounded teammate.

“He ran out without even thinking about himself,” she told the newspaper. “When he got to really do his job and do the job he loved, he came home a happy man.”

McClintock and his fellow Green Berets, from 1st Battalion’s A Company, deployed to Afghanistan in July, according to information from the Washington Army National Guard.

McClintock joined the Army in 2006. After completing his training, McClintock was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, deploying to Iraq in 2007. He was chosen for selection in the U.S. Army Special Forces School in May 2009, according to information from the Guard.

He was assigned to 1st Special Forces Group, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, in November 2010. He deployed to Afghanistan from August 2012 to May 2013. McClintock left active-duty in December 2014 and was assigned to 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, which is part of the Washington Guard.

His wife told the Army Times that McClintock had begun the process to return to active duty.

“Staff Sergeant McClintock was one of the best of the best,” Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, commander of the Washington Guard, said in a statement shortly after McClintock’s death. “He was a Green Beret who sacrificed time away from his loved ones to train for and carry out these dangerous missions. This is a tough loss for our organization.”

NCO at forefront of new Army technology

By MARTHA C. KOESTER
NCO Journal

Official visits to the Army Research Laboratory-Human Research and Engineering Directorate Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center University of Central Florida begin at the memorial out front for the building’s namesake, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2005 for his actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Smith’s personal artifacts, donated by his family, as well as his Medal of Honor greet visitors who enter the building. The memorial instills the importance of the mission for the center’s scientists and engineers ─ to sustain and enhance the modern Soldier.

Sgt. 1st Class John C. Hardwick, senior enlisted advisor at the center, understands exactly how important developing technologies is to enhancing Soldiers’ readiness. As one of the few military personnel at the center, Hardwick works with more than 100 scientists and engineers in Orlando, Florida, advising and offering the Soldier’s perspective on projects.

Sgt. 1st Class John C. Hardwick, center, tells NCOs about Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith before the start of the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions in October at the Army Research Laboratory-Human Research and Engineering Directorate Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center University of Central Florida. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Sgt. 1st Class John C. Hardwick, center, tells NCOs about Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith before the start of the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions in October at the Army Research Laboratory-Human Research and Engineering Directorate Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center University of Central Florida. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

“The scientists and engineers have all been very welcoming and very receptive to any suggestions I might have,” Hardwick said. “It doesn’t really feel like I’m in the minority here. Everyone has treated me like we’re one big team, all working toward the same goals ─ developing better products for the young Soldiers and the future of the Army.”

Important role

The ARL-HRED Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center is housed under the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. NCOs play an integral role within RDECOM to maintain Army readiness.

“[NCOs] provide user-level input to our scientists and engineers so they can develop the best product possible to get to our Soldiers the first time,” said James P. Snyder, command sergeant major and senior enlisted advisor for RDECOM. “Sometimes our civilians are a little bit intimidated by a Soldier coming into the process because they are not used to working with Soldiers. [NCOs] have to show them the benefit that [they] can be to them in that [development] process.”

“It’s the NCOs who train Soldiers and deal with Soldiers on a daily basis,” Hardwick said. “We are the ones who train Soldiers on all the equipment they receive. The NCOs know how Soldiers are going to use a piece of equipment and they can help the scientist in the early stages of development, which in the long run saves money.”

Sgt. 1st Class John C. Hardwick, senior enlisted advisor for the Army Research Laboratory-Human Research and Engineering Directorate Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center University of Central Florida, explains what ARL and STTC contribute to the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command and to the Army during the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development training sessions in October. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Sgt. 1st Class John C. Hardwick, senior enlisted advisor for the Army Research Laboratory-Human Research and Engineering Directorate Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center University of Central Florida, explains what ARL and STTC contribute to the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command and to the Army during the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development training sessions in October. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

The scientists and engineers can handle the technical side of product development, but it’s the NCO who provides his or her input on its usability, Snyder said.

“I bring all the technical and tactical expertise that I have learned over the past 20 years through all my deployments and duty assignments,” Hardwick said. “I bring that end-user expertise. I know what the Soldiers on the ground want. I know what they need. I know what they are going to use things for. I know how they are going to use them. I can translate that to the scientists when they are building their products and their simulators, so they have a better understanding of how stuff is going to be used and by whom.”

Contributing to the team

Skills gained as a drill instructor as well as training in Germany have served Hardwick well at the center.

“Being on the operational side for most of my career, I learned what the equipment is used for,” he said. “In Germany, I learned a lot about training Soldiers, so I also know what tools are good for training and ways to train so that Soldiers get the most out of it.

“A lot of the simulations that we’re using [at the center] are going to help reduce costs and training for the Army,” Hardwick said. “For example, the Engagement Skills Trainer [virtual skills training system] is a tool to help marksmanship. You can work on a lot of small skills on the computer simulator before you get to an actual range and start using real bullets. The time you save in the simulator working on your skills will translate into less time and fewer bullets wasted out on the range. I think all of those things and my knowledge and experience will translate into building better products for Soldiers.”

Hardwick said the scientists and engineers first had to get used to seeing him around the center because they were not accustomed to having a noncommissioned officer on staff.

Sgt. 1st Class John C. Hardwick, far right, senior enlisted advisor at the Army Research Laboratory-Human Research and Engineering Directorate Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center University of Central Florida, demonstrates an Engagement Skills Trainer prototype for Gen. Dennis Via, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command during Via’s visit in September to the center. The center is working in collaboration with PEO-STRI on adaptive marksmanship research training using the small arms trainer system, donated by Meggitt. (Photo courtesy of Army Research Laboratory-Human Research and Engineering Directorate Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center University of Central Florida)
Sgt. 1st Class John C. Hardwick, far right, senior enlisted advisor at the Army Research Laboratory-Human Research and Engineering Directorate Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center University of Central Florida, demonstrates an Engagement Skills Trainer prototype for Gen. Dennis Via, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command during Via’s visit in September to the center. The center is working in collaboration with PEO-STRI on adaptive marksmanship research training using the small arms trainer system, donated by Meggitt. (Photo courtesy of Army Research Laboratory-Human Research and Engineering Directorate Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center University of Central Florida)

“The job was created right before I got there, so I am the first one to really do this job on a permanent level,” he said. “Before me, they would occasionally get NCOs there on a temporary basis.”

Once Hardwick arrived, he quickly got to work, offering project feedback and serving as the liaison between the scientists and engineers and Soldiers during testing. He reached out to nearby Army Reserve units as well as the ROTC department at the University of Central Florida in Orlando when testing subjects were needed at the center.

“I can translate what the Soldiers are trying to say to the scientists and [vice versa],” he said. “Every culture has its own terminology.”

Not that he doesn’t miss the military environment he is accustomed to. Hardwick sees RDECOM’s NCOs during Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions, such as the most recent one in October at the center.

“For me, it’s good to be around this many NCOs,” he said. “It’s a familiar culture. It’s one of the things that I miss in this job ─ that I don’t have other NCOs and a lot of other Soldiers to hang out or socialize with. With these NCOs, we get to talking and we learn about different projects.”

Valuable commodity

It’s at the center that scientists and engineers are forging new paths in live and virtual training for the future Army force, and Hardwick has a front-row seat.

“Sgt. 1st Class Hardwick’s tactical expertise and operational insight were critical in the development of a next-generation prototype sand table known as the Augmented Reality Sandtable,” said retired Lt. Col. Joe Lisella, former military deputy. “ARES integrates the traditional sand table with new, low-cost technologies in image generation and machine vision that will enhance realism and provide a more immersive and interactive experience over the traditional sand table.”

During a September visit to the center, Gen. Dennis Via, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, said NCOs like Hardwick are an essential component in research to help evaluate and provide no-nonsense feedback for projects that will advance Army readiness.

“As a drill sergeant, you learn to spot the common issues, but you don’t see the details, especially when you are monitoring a group of trainees,” Hardwick told Via. “This research gives the drill sergeant, instructor or even the trainee immediate feedback … allowing adjustments to be made rapidly.”

The skills learned during his stint at the center have given him an appreciation for RDECOM and a broader understanding of how the Army works, Hardwick said.

“Being on the operational side of the Army meant basically getting the equipment and using it but nothing about how it was developed,” he said.

For his successor at the center and NCOs new to RDECOM’s units who are unsure of their duties, he has some advice.

“Learn as much as you can about everything that [RDECOM and the ARL-HRED Advanced Training and Simulation Division, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Center] do and to remember that they have connections throughout the Army,” Hardwick said. “Reach out to your buddies wherever they are and help educate them on RDECOM and the things that they do. And reach out and ask them for advice.”

As he fights PTSD, former NCO continues climb up boxing’s welterweight division

By PABLO VILLA
NCO Journal

Sammy Vasquez Jr. scored a convincing win over Aron Martinez on Saturday in a nationally televised welterweight boxing match. But another manner in which the former Army sergeant was a victor is just as momentous.

The bout at Staples Center in Los Angeles was the first time Vasquez had been in the ring since revealing that he is living with post-traumatic stress disorder. He told reporters last month when the fight with Martinez was announced about his condition and the difficulty it has posed. As it was during his days directing Soldiers as an NCO, Vasquez hopes he can help lead others grappling with PTSD toward help.

“I have PTSD,” Vasquez said in December. “That’s something I’ve been dealing with for a couple months. It’s hard to talk to somebody about what you’ve been through. You can explain it to them and they can tell you, ‘Oh, I know what you’re talking about.’ In my mind, I’m like, ‘You have no idea what I’m talking about. You can’t touch the surface of what I’m talking about.’ But to talk to somebody, like a counselor that’s been through it, that knows what I’ve been through, and that I can share my stories with, it helps me vent it out and get it off my chest. It’s 10 times easier and 10 times better talking to somebody than holding it in.”

Vasquez certainly held nothing back against Martinez. The fight, which was a Premier Boxing Champions co-feature, was a one-sided affair. Vasquez (21-0, 15 KOs) used his quick footwork and hand-speed to confound Vasquez (20-5-1), peppering him with jabs and straight lefts throughout the first few rounds. Martinez was on the defensive most of the fight, covering up and making very few attempts to attack the much quicker Vasquez. It was an uncharacteristic fight for Martinez who fought Robert Guerrero to a standstill last summer before losing by a controversial split decision. Guerrero fought Danny Garcia in Saturday’s main event for the WBC welterweight title. Nonetheless, Vasquez’s pressure wore his opponent down. Martinez quit on his stool after the sixth round complaining of an elbow injury to give Vasquez a technical knockout win.

“A victory feels good of course, but I wanted more,” Vasquez said after the fight. “I wanted to go 12 rounds, if it would have lasted that long. I wanted a very decisive win. Unfortunately, he got hurt, but every fight is a learning experience for me.”

What we’re learning about Vasquez, the current World Boxing Council Central American Boxing Federation, or WBC/FECARBOX, champion, is that he is a gritty contender. His win Saturday was a WBC welterweight semifinal eliminator, putting him in line to contend for a WBC Silver welterweight title against Amir Khan.

“My name is starting to get tossed around and that’s the main goal,” Vasquez said.

His quest for that lofty title is one Vasquez says he wants to share with his fellow service members.

“I’m just thankful for where I am at today,” Vasquez said in December “A lot of my brothers and sisters in arms who are amputees and can no longer live out their dreams, I’m trying to do the best that I can to help them live through me and still find hope and success to keep going and feel motivated. Regardless of their condition, there’s always something else that you can do. The impact that Iraq had on me, it just showed me how grateful I am to be in the position I’m in.”

Vasquez, a native of Monessen, Pennsylvania, deployed to Iraq in 2005-06 and in 2008-09. His first deployment took him to Camp Habbaniyah, Iraq, where gunfire was a typical part of the day during missions that took Soldiers from the base near Fallujah to the outskirts of Ramadi. Vasquez’s second deployment saw him split time between Fallujah and Taji.

“When I was over there, boxing was the last thing I thought about,” Vasquez said. “If I didn’t think about my brothers in front of me that could be that chance that they get shot or killed. So, when I was overseas that was my main focus — being overseas.”

Upon returning home Vasquez returned to boxing, a sport he had engaged in since age 9. He won the 152-pound title at the 2010 All-Army Championships and was invited to join the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. While a member of WCAP, Vasquez earned a berth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Though he missed being a part of Team USA — he lost the spot to Errol Spence Jr., himself a rising professional boxing star — Vasquez knew fighting would remain in his life. What he didn’t know was he would be engaged in another fight that didn’t involve gloves or ropes.

“When I came back home it was very difficult,” Vasquez said. “[In Iraq] you walk around with an M4 for a whole year or more, every day. You eat with it, you do everything with it. You’re used to that. You have mortars going off in the middle of the night so you don’t get a full night’s rest. When you go back home, you’re tossing and turning. You wake up startled all the time. You’re reaching for a gun you don’t have. I couldn’t go to Walmart because there’s too many people in there, I had to watch my back. Even still to this day, I go sit in restaurants and I can’t sit with my back to the door.

“Boxing is a huge outlet for me. There’s thousands and thousands of people there to watch me fight and it doesn’t bother me … until after the fight. After the fight, the high comes down, that’s when everything gets surreal for me and then it’s like, ‘OK, I’ve got to go.’ Now I’m getting edgy and a little antsy. It’s tough to deal with. I just get away from everybody except for maybe the people that are real close to me.”

While Vasquez said he’d rather not divulge specific details about his ordeal, he encourages fellow Soldiers and veterans who are going through similar struggles to seek help. He said it has been a cathartic experience for him, one that has now vaulted him to heights he couldn’t imagine.

“I can only thank God,” Vasquez said. “There were a lot of guys around me that aren’t here today. A lot of things happened and it just didn’t happen to me. It just wasn’t my day. I’m just blessed to be here. It’s an honor.”

Lack of sleep leads to lack of readiness, experts say

By DAVID VERGUN
Army News Service

Looking back on the long duty hours required of him as a drill sergeant, sometimes 26 in a stretch, Staff Sgt. Jacob Miller said he realized he has put himself and others in danger more than once.

Miller, who was named the 2015 Drill Sergeant of the Year, spoke at the Army Office of the Surgeon General-sponsored Performance Triad Sleep Summit on Dec. 9.

Staff Sgt. Jacob Miller, the 2015 Drill Sergeant of the Year, discusses how lack of sleep degrades performance. He spoke during the Army Office of the Surgeon General-sponsored Performance Triad Sleep Summit, Dec. 9, 2015. (Photo by David Vergun / Army News Service)
Staff Sgt. Jacob Miller, the 2015 Drill Sergeant of the Year, discusses how lack of sleep degrades performance. He spoke during the Army Office of the Surgeon General-sponsored Performance Triad Sleep Summit, Dec. 9, 2015. (Photo by David Vergun / Army News Service)

Since those long days “on the trail,” Miller said Army guidance has directed more time for sleep for drill sergeants, but enforcement of that is still needed. He added that a shift in culture and leader engagement are also necessary to change old thinking that going without sleep is the mark of a dedicated worker.

Col. Ramona Fiorey, acting director of Quality and Safety, U.S. Army Medical Command at the Pentagon, said senior Army leaders are taking sleep, along with activity and nutrition, seriously now. Those three things are termed the Performance Triad and are considered key factors to increasing performance and resilience and reducing injuries and accidents.

Effects on Performance

Dr. Thomas J. Balkin, a scientist at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, described findings from his research on sleep deprivation.

Participants were divided into groups, with some getting nine hours of sleep, others seven, five and three over a seven-day period. Participants were then given psychomotor vigilance tests each day to determine their reaction time to visual stimulus, he said.

The results showed marked declines for the five- and three-hour groups each day. After the seven-day trial period, the participants in all groups were allowed eight hours of sleep and tested again each day. Performance for all groups shot back up very quickly, especially on the first day. However, performance didn’t recover to pre-trial levels, except for those who “banked” sleep, or had nine hours of sleep the week before the deprivation.

Balkin noted that other studies from Department of Defense research laboratories have “demonstrated the significant effects of sleep deprivation and fatigue on cognition, attention, reaction time and moral reasoning, all of which are critically important for operational effectiveness.”

Research also suggests, he said, that “more is better” when it comes to sleep and that getting more than eight hours of sleep a night establishes a sleep reserve in case sleep is lost one or more nights in the future.

Sleep Disorders

One in 20 active-duty Soldiers are on sleep medications, according to the Army Office of the Surgeon General, or OTSG, “Health of the Force” report released in December.

Lt. Col. Jacob Collen, a sleep-medicine physician who also specializes in pulmonary issues on Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, told the summit that physicians usually prescribe Ambien, or zolpidem, to Soldiers suffering from insomnia. While it does work in getting Soldiers to fall asleep, zolpidem is a sedative, and it’s also known as a hypnotic.

Collen said that since there are only 24 sleep specialists in the Army, serving more than 1 million troops, an attending physician may not realize that there are non-prescriptive treatments that are effective for sleep issues.

Currently, the most effective treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBTi, he said.

Lt. Col. Ingrid Lim, sleep lead for Performance Triad, OTSG also described BBTi, or brief behavioral therapy for insomnia. BBTi is not only effective in treating sleep problems, but can also be used with patients who have medical and psychiatric conditions, and it can be delivered in a primary care setting.

CBTi treatments last several weeks and BBTi less, she said. Both involve encouraging change to thought patterns and behaviors that are the underlying causes contributing to poor sleep.

While CBTi and BBTi are evidence-based and clinically proven to be effective, there are, unfortunately, “watered-down versions” of those therapies that are out there, Collen said. These pseudo-versions cherry-pick from the manual rather than using the full approach.

“We want Soldiers to get the rigorous, evidence-based version,” he said. “It would be better to have no treatment at all than to get the wrong one.”

The solution, Collen said, is to provide more physicians — not just the 24 sleep specialists — training in CBTi and BBTi. Mobile training teams could be used to educate health care providers, including integrated behavioral health consultants.

Lim said that another common sleep disorder Soldiers suffer from is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when breathing stops and then starts in cycles. She said the treatment for that is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP device, which pumps oxygen into the nasal passage to restore normal breathing.

Inadequate Sleep

Lim said inadequate sleep, meaning less than seven or eight hours, is a huge concern.

The Health of the Force report notes that one-third of Soldiers get five hours or less of sleep per night, and 62 percent of Soldiers get less than seven. The report lists possible effects of inadequate sleep:

– Increased musculoskeletal injuries

– Risk of behavioral health disorders

– Greater susceptibility to illnesses

– Likelihood of developing symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress

And finally, the report notes that “individuals who routinely get five to six hours of sleep perform much like a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08.”

Lim said there are many steps Soldiers can take themselves to get better rest. The three prongs of the Performance Triad – sleep, activity and nutrition – interact with each other. Limiting junk food and not drinking caffeinated beverages before going to sleep are two examples of how to positively impact sleep, she said.

If Soldiers are not eating right or exercising, sleep quality suffers, so they might want to change what they’re doing, she said.

“Sleep needs to be a Soldier’s resource like ammo,” Lim said. “Are you going to go across the line without adequate fuel for your vehicle, ammo and food? Why are we going to cross the [line of departure] without sleep?”