Category Archives: OSC Background

Meet the Trainers!

Over the past few months, OPNAV N171 has fielded a number of questions abouttraining the recent Operational Stress Control (OSC) training mandate for deploying units and gathered great, tangible feedback. As we make our way around the fleet and to your command, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce our OSC trainers and answer some of the commonly asked questions.

What is OSC training? Is it new?

Since 2009, stress training has focused on assisting Navy leaders in identifying and applying practical stress navigation tools. Two courses are offered: Navy OSC for Leaders (NAVOSC-Lead) and Deckplate Leader OSC (DPL-OSC). NAV-OSC Lead was designed by warfighters with warfighters in mind, assisting them in assessing individual and unit stress responses while providing tools to help their Sailors better navigate operational stress. While NAVOSC-Lead is targeted for E7 and above, DPL-OSC mirrors this dialogue-led interactive course for mid-level supervisors E4- E6. These courses are a vital part of any command’s efforts to foster a supportive climate, whether preparing for deployment or trying to strengthen readiness and cohesion. As of March 2014, NAVOSC-Lead has been delivered approximately 350 times to 9,000 Sailors, and DPL-OSC has been taught about 320 times to 12,000 Sailors.

How is OSC training delivered?

Both courses are delivered in-person by our Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) at no cost to your command. There are two teams, one based in Norfolk, Va. And the other in San Diego, and each team is comprised of nine individuals. Most of the trainers are Master Training Specialists. The team is mainly comprised of retired military, representing a mix of warfare communities and services, including a retired Army drill sergeant who also happens to be a Navy spouse. The former ranks of these trainers include everything from junior enlisted to chief petty officer.  Combined, the MTTs have a total of 405 years of military experience!

Where is the training held?

Our MTTs know first-hand the stress of being in the Navy and are flexible with operational demands. MTTs travel to you, whether underway or ashore, CONUS or OCONUS, and can work within available training spaces.

How long will training take?

For a unit of 350 Sailors, with proper space and 4-6 MTTs available, training can be completed within 1-2 days. Each course is designed to take about 3-4 hours, with class sizes maxing out at 35 for NAVOSC-Lead and 50 for DPL- OSC.

How should my unit prepare for the training?

The best preparation for OSC training is to attend with an open mind. The training centers around frank discussion among attendees. When leaders talk about what they see as stress-related issues and how course tools could be applied in their commands, OSC becomes more than a concept – it becomes a way of doing business every day. For more information, see the OSC MTT fact sheet. 

How do you schedule training?

MTTs will prioritize scheduling OSC training with all deploying commands to meet the six-month objective mandated in NAVADMIN 262/13.  Commands are then responsible for documenting completion of training in the Fleet Training Management and Planning System (FLTMPS) prior to deployment.

For specific questions, or to schedule OSC training at your command, you can reach our MTTs as follows:

MTT West at (619) 556-6640, or via email at oscmttwest@navy.mil

MTT East at (757) 445-7353, or via email at oscmtteast@navy.mil

Last, and certainly not least, we are excited to announce that we have begun to launch our OSC web site! As we continue to populate the site with static, program-specific information, such as the history of OSC, the Principles of Resilience, Five Core Leader Functions, etc., we will continue to use this blog to provide you with the tools and resources to apply OSC skills to thrive, not just survive, in both your Navy career and personal lives.

Operational Stress Control (OSC) and Resilience

Operational Stress Control
The first step in building a more resilient and mission ready Navy

We know a Sailor’s life isn’t easy. It involves meeting a myriad of professional requirements while working long hours in the face of manning issues and family challenges. The Navy acknowledges these stressors and has taken a holistic approach to help Sailors, their families, our civilians and commands become more psychologically resilient.

Resilience for us means our ‘capacity to withstand, recover, grow and adapt’ to stressors and changing demands.

The foundation of our resilience building effort is our Operational Stress Control Program. Since 2008, our OSC program has made significant strides in promoting understanding of operational stress and increasing awareness of where to go for help before stress issues become problems.

In addition to developing and delivering extensive awareness training to Sailors, our OSC team members have joined with researchers, medical professionals and deck plate leaders to develop practical mitigation tools.

The Stress Continuum provides us with a tool to help us talk about psychological health and our leader-focused training emphasizes the importance of leadership in changing our culture to one that rewards help seeking behaviors.

Other tools include the OSC and Suicide Prevention Program’s informational products that are available, free of charge, from the Naval Logistics Library.

Visit this OSC Blog for links to our videos and contact our OSC Mobile Training Teams to schedule training that can be delivered to your command. We ask our leaders and shipmates to find innovative ways to mitigate stressors and then use this Blog to share their successes or lessons learned with the entire fleet.

We need everyone to help us build a more resilient, mission-ready Navy especially as we transition to a leaner and more focused force.  Let us know how we’re doing and/or send us ideas about how we can do better.

Captain Kurt Scott,
Director, Behavioral Health

Saying ‘Trust me’ isn’t always enough…

How do you know?  Who told you that?  Where did you get THAT information?  Few of us take news or information at face value anymore.  We often gauge the credibility of information by how we feel about its source.

The Navy Operational Stress Control (OSC) team wants to earn your trust. The OSC Program is based upon feedback from the fleet about the effectiveness of our communications and the value of our training programs. We know from our focus group participants that Sailors and their families want an authoritative source of information that is easily accessible and trustworthy.  Our polls tell us that operational stress in on the rise, and that manning issues and increased mission requirements are major sources of stress. Leaders tell us that new requirements must be balanced with available time and that the psychological health of our force is a priority for mission readiness.

Finding proven ways to better prepare the fleet requires an understanding of the ever changing challenges of military life and the practical application of the latest relevant research.   Through polls, surveys and focus groups, the OSC program continually monitors the pulse of the fleet.  By building collaborative networks of relevant efforts, researchers and concerned leaders, the best information is being shared and used to find ways to build resilience and mitigate the negative effects of excessive stress.

Our upcoming Blog Posts will highlight some of these efforts.  We’ll bring you up to date on the latest Behavioral Health Quick Poll results and what they mean to you.  We’ll give you an interesting review of a sleep study conducted by the Naval Post Graduate School and how changing the watch schedule on one ship made a real difference in Sailors’ effectiveness and outlook.

The Navy’s Operational Stress Control (OSC) Program’s success depends upon you, our Sailors and your families trusting the information we provide.  We want you to have the information you need to understand why the Navy has chosen a particular strategy and help you trust the practical tools and training we recommend.

Write to us and let us know what you think.

Operational Stress Control Serves As Key Resource For Sailors, Families

Navy’s Operational Stress Control – helping to create an environment where Sailors, commands and their families are able to thrive during stressful operations

“Leaders are our first line of defense…”
Click here http://www.navy.mil/swf/mmu/mmplyr.asp?id=15465 to find out about how leaders can make a difference in Sailors lives..”

Operational Stress Control Serves As Key Resource For Sailors, Families (NAVY NEWS SERVICE 09 FEB 11) … Defense Media Activity – Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Preventing and limiting the effects of operational stress on Sailors is a top priority for the U.S. Navy, a priority being met through the Operational Stress Control (OSC) Program.

Established Nov. 2008, the program seeks to help create an environment where Sailors, commands and their families are able to thrive during stressful operations.

All military services are feeling the strain of war, decreased unit manning, extended deployments, and myriad situations brought on by the country’s current economic crisis. These coupled with the normal stresses of household moves, deployments and separations, family issues and job responsibilities, magnify the stress Sailors and their families are experiencing.

“We work cooperatively with other Navy and family, and personal readiness programs to build a foundation of prevention to be able to mitigate and prevent [stress related] injuries and illnesses before they ever affect our Sailors and their lives,” said Captain Lori Laraway, OSC coordinator.

The program aims to teach Sailors that asking for help and guidance for stress issues is not a sign of weakness, but is instead a sign of strength. It accomplishes this mission by educating Sailors, families and command leaders to take care of themselves by remaining fit and healthy, to look after one another, and to take action if they see others reacting negatively to stress. Read more

Related links:

DoDLive: Stressed Out?

OSC Coordinator Participates in the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable

Operational Stress Control Coordinator, Capt. Lori Laraway recently joined bloggers and online journalists in a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable to discuss the OSC program, its success in increasing awareness of operational stress and the need to build psychological resilience.

Listen to the interview.
Read the transcript.

Navy Operational Stress Control Program Quick Poll Reveals Some Progress
By Lt. Jennifer Cragg, Defense Media Activity
Release Date: 12/2/2010 5:48:00 AM

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The coordinator of the Navy’s Operational Stress Control (OSC) program discussed with bloggers and online journalists the Navy’s OSC program and its success in increasing awareness of operational stress and the need to build psychological resilience during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable Dec. 1.

U.S. Navy Capt. Lori A. Laraway, Coordinator, Navy’s Operational Stress Control (OSC) Program

Capt. Lori Laraway, coordinator of the Navy’s OSC program, also discussed the latest Quick Poll survey results.

While high operational tempo and manning issues continue to remain in the forefront for deployed Sailors, the Navy’s OSC program is having success assisting Sailors and their families deal with related stresses, said Laraway.

“Feedback from our 2010 Behavioral Health Quick Poll, Naval Personnel Command poll, other surveys and focus groups indicated growing awareness of the Navy’s Stress Continuum Model and the importance of leaders and individuals recognizing stress at work and home,” said Laraway. “However, while awareness and stress issues are improving, this year’s Quick Poll respondents also indicated that longer deployments and manning issues continue to contribute to increasing levels of their stress.”

Laraway said based on the Quick Poll they did see a larger percentage of Sailors reporting positive ways they are coping with stress in their day-to-day lives. Based on the survey, they were certainly talking to family, friends, shipmates, Fleet and Family Support Centers, their chaplains and using their chain of command to constructively solve problems, said Laraway.

While awareness of stress issues is improving, OSC supports an aggressive, education, training and communication campaign that integrates policies and initiatives under one over-arching umbrella.

“Training has expanded this past year to include eight new e-learning courses designed for Navy leaders,” said Laraway.

These web-based offerings are part of the Navy’s effort to embed OSC concepts across all education and training programs. This new curriculum builds on courses already taught to 176,000 Sailors, family members and healthcare providers to navigate stress for day-to-day operations.

While OSC is about helping commands, their Sailors and families to become more resilient by increasing their ability to prepare for, recover from and adjust to life in the face of stress adversity, trauma or tragedy, their curriculum has also been advanced to assist families cope with stress.

“A mission-ready Sailor incorporates a mission-ready family. When things are going on in the home or in the family that are causing stress, it has an impact on the Sailor’s ability to perform the mission,” said Laraway.

Laraway added that the OSC program developed training and formal curriculum, working with the Fleet and Family Support Centers, specifically tailored for families that would complement and support existing programs. Additionally, Laraway explained other ways they are disbursing the vital information to family members.

“Our curriculum has been translated into Spanish and American sign language, recognizing that English is not only the primary language to get information out to families,” said Laraway.

The OSC program is also working with the Navy Medicine Focus Program to develop relationships with families who deploy more frequently, said Laraway. By doing so, the OSC training components includes, recognizing what stress zones our Sailors and their family members may fall into all in the same, common language, which is vital to understanding our stress points.

“What we are teaching or presenting to Sailors and Marines is the same language that family members here at the Fleet and Family Support Centers,” said Laraway. “That common language is very important when looking to change our culture.”

The OSC has developed four distinct color-coded categories to assist in classifying and recognizing stress – green indicates a “ready” status, yellow indicates a “reacting” status, orange indicates an “injured” status and red indicates an “ill” status.

“We recognize that for the most part, our Sailors and families are in the green zone. They are physically fit, they have had good training, they have good communication skills, they know what to do and how to go about doing it,” said Laraway.

If our Sailors and their families have the resiliency and life experience, as well as the training and knowledge, they can move back into the green zone, said Laraway. She also said that occasionally something happens to shift the stress in the family, and it is perfectly normal to move across the continuum.

An important ingredient of OSC success is increasing the acceptance of seeking help for stress related injuries and illnesses, said Laraway.

“Our work to change attitudes has begun with promoting Navy’s leadership belief that asking for assistance and guidance is a sign of strength and not weakness,” said Laraway.

She added that they are dedicated to using humor as a method to teach leaders and Sailors to recognize their stress zones and established a social media presence with their blog and Facebook accounts.

For navigating stress tips and OSC information, visit www.navynavstress.com.

Connect with OSC through Facebook at www.facebook.com/navstress and Twitter, www.twitter.com/navstress.

For more news, visit www.navy.mil._