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field notes


In 2019, the OneOp Community Capacity Building concentration area will be focused on how the Cooperative Extension Service serves as a force multiplier in military family readiness and resilience, as it relates to Total Force Fitness. For our first Friday Field Notes of 2019 we are featuring our land grant partner Purdue University  and their Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) as it relates to the Social component of the Total Force Fitness hub.

Total Force Fitness hub - social

An extensive review of the literature establishes that the most common operationalization of the concept of “social fitness”  is the concept of social cohesion. Social cohesion is, in the language of military sociology, a “strength multiplier”: the military strengthening and psychologically protective effect of stable, socially cohesive units is not scientifically speculative, ambiguous, or uncertain  (for more on this, see here).

In 2015, MFRI convened diverse, high-ranking individuals to discuss and distill lessons learned about serving military families after 9/11. Participants included top U.S. policymakers, representatives of Congress and Department of Defense leaders. Leaders in the fields of corporate, philanthropy, behavioral health, higher education and research also attended. The result?  “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families” (Hughes-Kirchubel, MacDermid Wadsworth & Riggs, 2018),  now available at Springer publishing.

A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families

This is the fourth book in MFRI’s “Risk and Resilience in Military and Veteran Families” series. It offers key insights that focus on how organizations can produce powerful support for military families during war. Furthermore, contributors integrated knowledge gained during their work with families after 9/11 and distilled recommendations into practical, experience-based chapters. For additional information about “Battle Plan,” please download the fact sheet.

In addition, “Battle Plan” acts as a roadmap for support of military and veteran families by addressing how to:

  • Integrate family support systems into defense strategy.
  • Anticipate issues and challenges that are likely to affect military families.
  • Adopt policies that help, not hinder, military families during times of conflict.
  • Ensure that military families have a voice in the conversation.
  • Identify urgent gaps in support systems.
  • Navigate the rapidly changing world of service organizations.
  • Plan more effectively for medical and caregiving needs.
  • Provide the resources military and veteran families need after military conflicts wind down.

Most importantly, service members need to know that their families are taken care of during deployment. When they do, they can focus on their military mission. “Battle Plan” provides an action plan for future leaders and organizations committed to supporting these families.

For media inquiries and other questions, contact Linda Hughes-Kirchubel, MFRI’s director of external relations.