Operation Warfighter: Career Transition Assistance for Wounded Warriors

For many Service members, dealing with an injury or illness can change the entire trajectory of their career paths, leaving them unsure of their future. According to the Government Accountability Office, over 200,000 military personnel leave the military annually. While most of these Service members leave on their own terms, many leave for medical reasons caused by their active-duty service. What happens when a military career ends unexpectedly and how do we take care of our recovering Service members?

Military Transition Challenges

In addition to experiencing anxiety and uncertainty around a new civilian career, some additional challenges veterans may experience with transitioning from military life to civilian life include:

Health Concerns: Health is a top concern for veterans after separating from military service. A Veterans Affairs study found that 53% of participants reported having chronic physical health conditions within three months of leaving the military. Additionally, mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may worsen during this period.

  • Identity Reevaluation: The abrupt end of a military career can lead to a profound identity crisis. Veterans may struggle with defining their sense of purpose and self-worth outside the military.
  • Navigating Services: Veterans transitioning out of the military may need to learn how to access civilian services such as healthcare, life insurance, and other benefits. These services were previously provided by the military, so adjusting to the new system can be challenging.
  • Social Network Changes: Leaving the military means losing the built-in social network that comes with military life. Veterans may find it difficult to establish new connections and maintain a sense of camaraderie.
  • Employment: While most veterans successfully transition into civilian jobs, others face difficulties in finding suitable employment. Adjusting to a different work environment and culture can be a significant challenge.
  • Paperwork and Benefits: Navigating the paperwork and processes involved in obtaining benefits and services from the Department of Veterans Affairs can be overwhelming. Veterans may need assistance in understanding their entitlements and how to access them.

Navigating the Transition to Civilian Employment

Magellan Federal helps solve the problems of Service members transitioning from the military to the civilian sector. Operation Warfighter (OWF) is a Department of Defense (DoD) internship program that provides opportunities for recovering Service members to participate in internships with Federal agencies during their medical board and rehabilitation process.

The main objective of OWF is to place recovering Service members in supportive work settings that positively impact their recovery. The program presents opportunities to facilitate the recovering Service members’ development and employment readiness by assisting in providing comprehensive resources that assist them with their transition and support their needs. This is done through resume building, exploring employment interests, and developing job skills through internship opportunities. Currently, there are over 533 participating Federal agencies that accept OWF interns.

Building Skills for a Civilian Career

Magellan’s Regional Coordinators (RCs) work with the recovering Service members to help identify areas of interest and hone in on transferable skills along with soft skills they have gained through their military service. Our Regional Coordinators coach them on how to build resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and make suggestions to assist them in learning how to navigate a civilian workforce setting. Our Regional Coordinators partner with all branches of service and work closely with Transition Coordinators, Recovery Care Coordinators, Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officers, Command Teams, Medical Providers, and Individual Disability Evaluation System staff to ensure participation is in the best interest of the recovering Service member.

The average Medical Board process lasts between 180 days (about 6 months) to 1 year. The OWF program is a valuable experience that lasts between 90 and 120 days (about 4 months). Participation in OWF can positively impact recovery time, provide valuable work experience in a non-military environment, and assist with developing new skills while providing benefits of career preparedness upon transition to civilian life.

All OWF Regional Coordinators have personal experience as military spouses or have served in the military themselves. They understand the military lifestyle and culture, and the stress surrounding transitioning out of the service.

Getting Started

Operation Warfighter Regional Coordinators are in 10 different regions throughout the United States. These individuals work with wounded, ill, and injured Service members at all military installations. A Service member can participate in OWF if they are on active duty and meet the basic criteria of being enrolled in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) and/or assigned to a service Wounded Warrior program. The first step in the OWF process is to obtain “medical and command approval” from the Service member’s recovery team and chain of command. Once they are determined to be ready to participate, a Regional Coordinator assists the individual in identifying an internship opportunity based on their interests and capabilities.

The Operation Warfighter program is a wonderful opportunity for Service members to get real-world work experience to ease the transition to civilian life. Magellan Federal is proud to deliver OWF services that make a difference in the lives of recovering Service members around the nation.

Enhancing Soldier Wellness and Performance

As our understanding of soldier wellness evolves, it’s clear that a comprehensive approach is essential. In today’s military landscape, physical fitness alone isn’t enough – mental toughness is equally crucial. The U.S. Army Combatives Program serves as a prime platform to nurture this mental resilience, offering Soldiers a pathway to peak performance both on and off the battlefield.

The U.S. Army Combatives Program, which includes hand-to-hand combat training, offers a valuable avenue to promote mental well-being and overall performance among soldiers. Beyond its traditional role in honing physical combat skills, this program has evolved to encompass a broader mission – one that emphasizes the cultivation of mental resilience as a cornerstone of soldier effectiveness.

Building Mental Resilience

The benefit of combat sports is that they cultivate mental toughness like no other. Soldiers are pushed to their limits, not just physically but mentally, fostering adaptability, perseverance, and a steadfast attitude in the face of adversity. Studies, such as those published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, underscore combat sports’ profound impact on enhancing mental toughness – a cornerstone of soldier effectiveness in high-stress environments.

Fostering Unity within Units

Engaging in combat sports brings Soldiers together uniquely and intensely. It strengthens team members’ bonds, trust, and camaraderie, enhancing unit cohesion and morale. A 2020 study in the Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health found that Soldiers who participated in combatives training reported higher levels of cohesion and teamwork – vital components for mission success.

Providing an Outlet for Frustration and Stress

The rigors of military life often lead to pent-up frustration and stress. The Combatives Program provides Soldiers with a constructive outlet to channel these emotions. By engaging in controlled physical exertion, soldiers can mitigate stress and avoid detrimental coping mechanisms. Studies, such as those in the Journal of Military Psychology, affirm the therapeutic benefits of combat sports in stress management among military personnel.

Integration of Mental Performance Consultants

To unlock the full potential of combative training, the integration of mental performance consultants is paramount. Thes specialists offer soldiers cognitive tools and strategies to optimize their performance in combat and everyday life. From stress management to enhancing focus and resilience, mental performance consultants provide a holistic approach to soldier wellness.

Improving Decision-Making Under Stress

In high-stakes scenarios, split-second decisions can mean the difference between success and failure. Research in Military Psychology underscores how combat sports improve decision-making under stress. Mental performance consultants further refine this skill, equipping soldiers with the mental fortitude to think critically and act decisively in the heat of battle.

Enhancing Recovery and Resilience

Injuries and setbacks are a part of military life, and mental resilience is crucial for recovery. Mental performance consultants can guide soldiers in maintaining a positive mindset during rehabilitation, reducing the psychological impact of injuries, and facilitating a quicker return to peak performance. The U.S. Army Combatives Program offers a wealth of mental benefits essential for Soldier wellness and performance. By fostering mental toughness, unit cohesion, and stress management, this program contributes significantly to Soldier readiness.

Bridging the Cultural Divide: A Performance Expert’s Journey in Japan

As a Performance Expert (PE) working in Japan, my mission has been to enhance the performance and resilience of U.S. Army Soldiers, civilian employees, and family members by creating customized training based on needs and availability. Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Experts (MRT-PEs) work at Army Ready and Resilient (R2) Performance Centers to help soldiers understand and enhance the mental side of performance, maximize the benefits of training, and provide skills and techniques to develop strong teams.

When I arrived at Camp Zama, Japan, I sat down with several leaders in the community, including the Garrison Commander and several Brigade-level leaders. The leaders requested our help to bridge the communication and cultural gap between the U.S. forces and local and national employees. My experience provided me with a unique perspective I’d like to share on the strategies, struggles, and successes I used to foster mutual understanding and collaboration between U.S. Army personnel and Japanese local national employees. These tactics can be used in any personal or professional situation to help you communicate more effectively across diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Identify the Challenges

One of the initial hurdles I encountered was the stark contrast in communication styles between the U.S. Army Soldiers and Japanese civilians. The direct and assertive approach of American Soldiers clashed with the Japanese employees’ more reserved and harmonious communication style. These differences often led to misunderstandings, strained relationships, and hindered collaboration.

Additionally, cultural differences permeated every aspect of work, from decision-making processes to leadership styles. U.S. Soldiers were accustomed to hierarchical structures and authoritative decision making, while Japanese civilians valued consensus and a collective approach. Bridging this gap required a comprehensive understanding of both cultures and a nuanced approach to cognitive performance enhancement. Once I had identified the challenges, I was able to employ the following strategies to help me successfully communicate and collaborate across cultures.

Strategies for Success

Cultural Immersion: I immersed myself in the daily lives and traditions of both American Soldiers and Japanese civilians to develop a deep understanding of both cultures. This involved attending social gatherings, participating in cultural activities, and engaging in open conversations to grasp the intricacies of their perspectives.

Customized Training Programs: I recognized the need for tailored solutions and designed training programs that integrated cultural empathy and cross-cultural communication skills. These programs focused on enhancing emotional intelligence, active listening, and the ability to adapt communication styles to meet the expectations of diverse audiences.

Collaborative Workshops: I organized interactive workshops that brought together U.S. Army Soldiers and Japanese civilian employees to foster mutual understanding and collaboration. Participants gained valuable insights into one another’s perspectives and developed a shared sense of purpose through facilitated discussions, role-playing exercises, and team-building activities.

Mentorship and Coaching: I embedded myself in existing mentorship and coaching programs, such as a U.S. Army cooperative education (co-op) program that partners leaders with their Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) counterparts. I observed how JGSDF leaders learn from their U.S. counterparts and organized facilitated workshops to introduce the JGSDF co-op program participants to U.S. Army performance and resilience training.

Continuous Evaluation and Adaptation: I recognized that cultural empathy is an ongoing journey and consistently evaluated the effectiveness of our training programs and adapted them based on participant feedback. This iterative approach ensured that our services remained impactful and relevant.

Achieving Cultural Empathy

Meeting client demands for cultural empathy training required perseverance, innovation, and a commitment to delivering tangible results. As a Cognitive Performance Enhancement Specialist, it has been an enlightening experience bridging the cultural divide between U.S. Army Soldiers and Japanese civilian employees. We successfully fostered collaboration and mutual respect through understanding, empathy, and tailored training programs. We can pave the way for harmonious and effective working relationships that benefit both individuals and organizations by recognizing the importance of cultural empathy and continuously adapting our strategies.

Together, we can bridge divides and create a future of cultural understanding and cooperation. I hope this helps you do the same.

The appearance of the Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not apply or constitute DoD endorsement.

New Youth-focused Certificate Program Enhances Counseling Service for Military Children and Youth

The Military & Family Counseling (MFLC) Child/Youth Behavioral (CYB) Program was created to expand supportive services to military families by providing non-medical counseling opportunities to their children. Magellan offers CYB counseling positions only to independently licensed clinicians who possess education and experience in counseling children in age groups and environments similar to those of their MFLC counseling assignment. CYB MFLC services are utilized frequently. During a one-year period (October 2022 – 2023), Magellan CYB MFLC counselors provided approximately 1,071,000 counseling or consultation sessions focused on child issues.

Military life is complex, challenging, and dynamic. The government and Magellan continue to conduct research and identify new issues impacting military children and families. Best practices continue to emerge or be augmented to address difficulties that may negatively impact military children’s functioning levels and wellbeing. To maintain our commitment to providing the highest level of care for our military children, Magellan has developed a voluntary certificate program for CYB MFLC counselors to:

  • Build on foundational knowledge of child development theories and emotional, behavioral, and psychological challenges that may occur in each stage,
  • Provide information on challenges unique to military children and how they are manifested in day-to-day living, and
  • Enhance knowledge and application of evidence-based protocols to address specific internal and environmental factors that may negatively impact healthy childhood development.

The CYB Professional Certificate program is comprised of two tracks and was designed, sponsored, and administered by Magellan to meet the evolving needs of today’s military youth. MFLC counselors may complete one or both tracks depending on professional development interests and learning needs. Completion certificates are available for each track. All training modules within the program are approved for continuing education units (CEU) for maintaining counselor professional certifications.

The goals of this youth-focused counseling training program are to:

  1. Develop healthy military children,
  2. Reduce the probability of problem escalation to clinically significant levels and
  3. Assure service and family members’ readiness and resilience.

The success of the program is dependent on MFLCs’ abilities to provide developmentally appropriate evidence-based interventions that engage and support military children, their families, and others involved in children’s lives. The CYB Certificate Program enhances the level of expertise among CYB MFLCs and the likelihood of positive outcomes among military children/families, thereby meeting or exceeding program goals and ensuring a resilient, ready military workforce.

Standing up to Bullying: Bullying-prevention strategies for military children

April is the Month of the Military Child, which celebrates and acknowledges the children of our service members. While living with a military family member can make children resilient and strong, this lifestyle can sometimes make them more susceptible to bullying in a school setting.

The Army’s Adolescent Support and Counseling Services (ASACS) program is a wonderful resource for military families looking for bullying awareness and prevention tactics. The ASACS program provides confidential counseling for adolescents and families to help them thrive while supporting a loved one stationed overseas.

Magellan Federal provides 23 ASACS counselors and four Clinical Supervisors at 22 Department of Defense schools worldwide and is intimately familiar with bullying issues that are prevalent within the military adolescent population. If you are a teacher, counselor, parent, or caregiver, here are some effective techniques our counselors have used to educate and help safeguard military children against bullying.

Educate with Games with Prizes

Create a bullying awareness event to open a discussion about what bullying looks like and how to take action. Have students write down what they would do if their friend was bullied on a sticky note wall and participants spun a wheel to answer questions about bullying scenarios to win a prize. This helps children understand how to identify bullying and actionable skills they can call upon to get help.

Bullying awareness event
Have students write down what they would do if their friend was bullied on a sticky note wall.


Encourage Role Play
We have also found success with conducting lessons on healthy communication through role play. Ask kids to create skits to demonstrate different communication styles. These will help participants identify assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and passive communication, body language, and appropriate social filters to promote healthy communication and dialogue.
Then discuss how other communication styles could be hurtful and why social filters help to improve relationships and decrease instances of bullying.

Organize a Kindness Event
Organizing a school-wide prevention activity can help promote kindness and gratitude on a greater scale. Encourage students to write notes to friends, students, teachers, and staff about what they appreciated about that person. One of our recent events had about 700 messages written!

Kindness Event
Students to write notes to friends, students, teachers, and staff about what they appreciated about that person.


Schedule Ongoing Discussions
Conduct mini lessons on topics such as bullying prevention and empathy building. Setting aside a scheduled time to chat about bullying-related topics will keep it top of mind and build trust. These talks can also be used as an alternative to detention.

Bullying is a serious issue for military children, who may be more vulnerable in school settings due to their unique lifestyle. As caregivers, educators, and advocates, we must collaborate to provide resources and support to create a safe and inclusive environment for all children. By implementing these effective techniques, such as educating through games, encouraging role play, organizing kindness events, and scheduling ongoing discussions, we can equip military children with the necessary skills to identify and stand up to bullying. Let’s continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of our military children, not just in April — but every day.

A Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness

What is it and how to get started

Mindfulness has become a popular topic over the last decade, and for good reason. A growing body of research is showing incredible health, performance, and relationship benefits to adopting the practice. But what exactly is mindfulness and how does one practice it?

Mindfulness is a particular way of focusing on the present moment without judgment. It is a skill, a practice, and a state that helps counteract our brain’s natural tendency to time travel back into the past or ahead into the future. Being in the present moment more often is what enables us to build meaningful relationships and perform at our best.

Unfortunately, most of us are more familiar with not being in the present moment. Research suggests we spend nearly 50% of our time thinking about something other than what we are doing. It’s when you arrive home from work excited to see your family and just as you sit down at the dinner table you remember an email you forgot to reply to and suddenly you’ve missed your kid sharing the best part of their day. Or it’s the moment you’re at work trying to focus during a meeting and your mind wanders back to an argument you had with your spouse that morning. It can also be the moment when you are sitting down to finish a report, but you begin daydreaming about your upcoming vacation. And it’s a hundred moments in between.

Understanding Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of catching our minds when they wander and intentionally bringing them back to where we are—put simply: it’s the practice of being present. The more we practice, the more quickly we’re able to reestablish our mind in the present moment before it impacts relationships or performance.

To be truly mindful is to be able to recognize as your mind wanders away from the here and now, accept the wandering, and recenter your mind back to the present to be where your feet are.

Mindfulness has a long and rich history dating back more than 2,500 years. While this may activate images of ancient monks in stillness and solitude, in the last 15 years, an enormous amount of rigorous research has been conducted supporting the benefits of a mindfulness practice—many that are particularly relevant to thriving in our fast-paced, always-on culture.

Mindfulness Benefits
Mindfulness has been shown to act as a buffer against cognitive anxiety, improve memory and learning, improve sleep, and reduce fatigue. It is also associated with increased frequency in optimal performance states, improved performance in high-intensity contexts, and better regulation of emotion and stress. Importantly, these benefits can be realized without spending hours upon hours a day in silent meditation. Mindfulness training research suggests that 8-20 minutes a day is all you need to see meaningful benefits. If you want a more exact prescription, Dr. Amishi Jha, one of the leading mindfulness researchers, has determined that 12 minutes a day, five days a week is the most effective “dose.” It balances what time-pressed people will actually commit to and it benefits their attention.

Getting Started
Magellan Federal is the world’s largest single employer of professionals with specialized training in performance psychology coaching. Our cognitive performance coaches have delivered education and training to more than 2.7 million within the Army population in the past five years. Here are some simple exercises our coaches teach to help build positive mindfulness habits:

  • Practice 1 minute of mindful breathing. Set a timer for one minute and simply turn your attention to your breath. What does it feel like to inhale? What does it feel like to exhale? Try pausing at the top and bottom of each breath. If you find 1 minute too easy, aim for 3 minutes or more.
  • Practice mindfulness during everyday activities. For example, while washing the dishes focus on the temperature of the water, the slipperiness of the soap, the sound of the dishes. Every time your mind wanders to something else (as it naturally will), gently guide it back to the dishes. Surprisingly, even for menial tasks like dishes, people who focus on the task, instead of daydreaming, report greater levels of happiness.
  • Conduct a brief body scan. Find a quiet place to sit, start with a few mindful breaths, and then turn your attention to your body. Start at the top of your head and work downward, just noting what your body feels like. Don’t get stuck in any particular place; just notice comfort or discomfort and move on until you get to your toes. Finish with a few mindful breaths.

Know that as you try any of these activities, your mind will wander; it is completely natural. Mindfulness is the practice of gently bringing your mind back to your target. Each time your mind wanders, think of it as a repetition to strengthen the skill of returning to the present moment.

Making it Stick — Find or Build a Community of Support
Like most new habits, developing a mindfulness practice can be tricky. Research has shown that learning with and from others on a similar path has a staggering effect on success.

Magellan Federal believes in a human-centered approach when building new habits like mindfulness. We are currently developing a solution that models the success we have found through our work with the Army, which will incorporate live coaching sessions and a community of support to further enhance successful habit change. Finding or building a group or partnership that supports your mindfulness goals and offers encouragement and motivation along the way will make you more likely to succeed in creating mindfulness habits that stick. You might consider adding a mindful minute with your family before dinner, starting a team meeting with a mindfulness practice, or finding your own unique way to build community around mindfulness practice.

Learn More
Magellan Federal’s holistic approach seeks to help people not only improve performance, but health, relationships, and culture—and mindfulness is a key piece of the puzzle for many people. If you are Interested in starting a mindfulness practice or connecting to a community of support, contact us today.

Article originally published on MFed Inform.

How to Create a Resilient Workforce: Guidance for Organizations and Leaders


Given these extraordinary times, “resilience” has become a very popular word used to refer to a capacity that can be developed in people to withstand disruption or recover from adversity more quickly and completely. It is important to ensure teams remain ready and able to adapt to increasing demands. Historically, more pressure is put on leaders, especially those who need their teams to continue to perform at a high level when it matters most.

In our experience, organizations and their leaders truly care about their employees and understand that while some individual skills can be self-developed, leaders themselves need tangible strategies to create conditions for resilience development and thriving. If a leader has the tools first, then it is easier to set a good example and have a foundation for transferring these skills to their teams.

Magellan Federal delivers cognitive training and coaching services to over 700,000 Department of the Army personnel and civilians each year. We have gained valuable expertise and insights on implementation strategies that can enhance resilience development. In this white paper, we will detail our unique approach based on experience implementing systems that embolden leadership to invest in their most important asset—their people.

The Problem

Quite often, people are promoted into leadership positions because they excel at their job, which intuitively makes sense since they are likely to be top performers at what they do. What we find overlooked is whether people are ready to lead and influence other people. When they get into a leadership role something shifts and they can’t quite do what you thought and hoped they could.

Additionally, leaders face higher demands than the general worker population because they are responsible for their own performance plus those they lead. It is not uncommon to observe these individuals with higher levels of cortisol, an indication that their bodies are not adapting well to these demands. The ability to respond favorably following increases in demands is an essential quality for sustained readiness in a leadership position. Resilience is a term often used to label this quality, but resilience is a complex concept that is often misunderstood, and therefore treated reactively, not proactively within organizations.

Resilience is personal

Resilience can be defined as resources and processes that combine to restore equilibrium, counter challenges, or transform an individual or group. Resilience is a dynamic construct made up of personal and environmental factors such as hardiness, grit, self-efficacy, social support and other lived experiences and learning that combine uniquely for an individual response. Essentially, we all respond very differently to demands and challenges based on a multitude of individual and social resources. Given that these unique resources and processes are able to be influenced, resilience can change and develop over time.

Since leaders generally experience higher demands and resilience is malleable, Magellan Federal believes it is essential to equip leaders with methods to enhance positive adaptation following adversity, laying a solid foundation for increased resilience across the entire workforce.

Our Solution — Human-Centered Leader Training

Resilience is teachable

Research is clear that leaders play a significant role in the performance, resilience, and wellbeing of their people. Therefore, targeted training and coaching for leaders can be a force multiplier for a resilient workforce.

Our depth of knowledge in the science of cognitive performance is broad and deep, particularly in the psychophysiological mechanisms of learning, thriving, and resilience. We have learned it is valuable to first train leaders, so they are equipped to be resilient themselves and better positioned to support their teams. Leaders then need to be supported and coached how to transfer resilience principles to their peers and subordinates.

Our successful coach-the-coach approach has three tenets: Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading Teams.

  • Leading Self: Helps ensure a wider swath of potential future leaders has the self-management skills which are foundational for Leading Others, particularly through volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Principles include:
    • Personal philosophy, values, and core beliefs (self-awareness)
    • Fueling behaviors and restoration (diet, hydration, movement, sleep)
    • Presence (mindfulness, authenticity, confidence)
    • Psychophysiological regulation (readiness for the task and situation)
    • Mental rehearsal (intentionality, deliberate practice, imagery)
    • Self-motivation
  • Leading Others: Provides new and seasoned leaders the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the human side of leadership and how to have the most beneficial impact on the lives of those they lead. Principles include:
    • Build trust (consistent discipline and follow-through through the ability to lead self)
    • Develop psychological safety (transparency and vulnerability, applying presence in communicating with others)
    • Promote growth (feedback, mentoring, peer support)
    • Foster motivation (autonomy, supportive leadership, behavior)
  • Leading Teams: Provides senior leaders a necessary opportunity to reflect and recalibrate their internal compass, adjust their approach to leading others at a larger scale, and align both with the goals of the organization so they can move forward with increased intentionality and commitment. Principles include:
    • Executive messaging, modeling, implementing and promoting performance psychology principles across the enterprise
    • Building trust in relationships (consistency in Leading Others across the organization)
    • Mental agility, situational awareness, pattern recognition (consistent yet adaptive)
    • Authenticity & Alignment
    • Cultural awareness and sensitivity

Guidance for Organizations

Focus on manager training and support

Meaningful growth requires the transfer of knowledge, demonstration, practice, feedback, adjustment, and repetition. Expertise is accelerated with the support of a coach who can provide both the right level of challenge or adversity and effective feedback to unlock solutions to overcome these challenges and facilitate growth. We have found our greatest success when we take a human-centered approach, arming leaders not only with foundational knowledge communicated with stories and science, but coaching through authentic interactions.

Organizations should support their leaders by:

  • Training leaders on general learning principles and how to effectively teach psychological and interpersonal skills to their teams.
  • Providing leaders ongoing coaching support in the following areas for improved thriving and resilience:
    • Establishing a secure base
    • Facilitating connection
    • Building and sharing meaning
    • Enabling growth
    • Reinforcing work-life flow
  • Using a holistic approach that values principles of physical fitness, mental fitness, social fitness, and spiritual fitness, as well as targeting opportunities for change by leading self, leading others, and leading teams.

Providing growth opportunities in these areas will fill an often much-needed gap—the human dimension of leadership.

Guidance for Leaders

Based on our experience, we recommend starting with these individual steps to build a more resilient workforce:

  • Develop deep personal awareness (e.g., purpose, vision, mission, motives, beliefs)
  • Develop personal and team mindfulness practices
  • Build systems and practices that help you be intentional with time, both yours and your team members
  • Establish regular, if not daily, check-ins with team members
  • Develop an understanding of what drives your team members
  • Celebrate, cultivate, and grow team members strengths
  • Express gratitude authentically and liberally
  • Learn and respect team members’ boundaries
  • Recognize and address the role of emotion and empathy in the workplace
  • When facing change or adversity, reinforce a sense of community and shared meaning

Innovating for the Future: Digital Coaching & Mentoring

Many thought leaders in human performance and resilience lead with high-tech solutions and simulation exercises to accelerate learning and optimize performance. While there is utility in technological advancements, we firmly believe in the power of trusted relationships and high-touch engagement.

Magellan Federal recently piloted a digital training and coaching intervention with midlevel managers in the corporate space. The overwhelming majority noted a desire for ongoing human engagement both with an outside expert coach and with a community group. Unsurprisingly, these leaders felt a strong sense of investment in themselves as people but understood how the content, strategies, techniques, and skills would apply in both their work and personal lives.

We are engaged in product development of digital coaching and mentoring technology that will allow for follow-on support with tactical personnel as they rotate duty stations, deploy, or otherwise distribute geographically. We understand that trust is the bedrock of personal and professional development, and that trust is a uniquely human, high-touch phenomenon. Our vision for the near future is service provision that begins human-centered, customized to the client, augmented with technology that allows our coaches and mentors to remain connected and engaged beyond the training environment, affording individual leaders more timely, relevant coaching feedback.

If you are interested in learning more about Magellan Federal’s Resilience training program, please contact our director of human performance, Dr. Jon Metzler, at metzlerjn@magellanfederal.com.

For a downloadable version of this whitepaper, visit MFed Inform.

Addressing Intimate Partner Violence in the Military

The Problem

Intimate partner violence is a national public health issue, resulting in devastating personal trauma and effects on our country. Intimate partner violence includes physical violence, non-consensual sexual violence (including non-physical sexual events, such as sexting), stalking, and psychological aggression.

According to the CDC, intimate partner violence in the United States is far more common than we would want to believe, impacting approximately 25% of women and 10% of men1.

This issue is also prevalent in the military. In 2020, there were 12,663 reports of spouse abuse and 2,026 reports of intimate partner abuse in the U.S. military. Among all military incidents, 63% of active-duty abusers were Non-Commissioned Officer Ranks (E4-E6); when accounting for only those incidents involving spouses, the highest rates of active-duty abusers were among junior enlisted ranks (E1-E3)[1].

The physical and emotional suffering of intimate partner violence victims is profound. What is also clear are the consequences for our Armed Forces. When intimate partner violence involves service members or their families — either as victims or offenders — the resulting trauma harms overall unit readiness.

Prevention Strategies

Collectively, Magellan Federal has over 30 years of experience supporting Family Assistance Programs and positions us as experts in the field. We interact with 30,500 service members and families yearly providing vital services to ease the unique stressors of military life that can aggravate or trigger patterns of abusive behavior within the family home.

Recognize the Risk Factors

Drawing upon our wealth of experience, we believe that if warning signs are recognized and addressed early, intimate partner violence instances can be significantly reduced.

The identifiable factors unique to military service that may aggravate intimate partner violence risks include:

  • Frequent permanent change of stations (PCS) disrupts access to natural support networks, increasing stress and social isolation. Frequent moves may also limit the ability of non-military spouses or intimate partners to find and maintain employment, increasing financial reliance on the abuser.
  • Frequent or unpredictable deployments and a related increase in domestic duties of the partner may contribute to a sense of instability, increasing relationship stress, or conflict[2].
  • Stigma of reporting abuse may lead to the belief that there may be a negative impact on the service member’s career. This may hinder the victim from seeking help for fear of retaliation by the service member and/or loss of financial support and benefits.

Suggested Solutions

The Department of Defense (DoD) offers a foundation of programs, tools, and personnel to promote awareness of intimate partner violence. However, they are often hindered by a lack of uniformity across the military Services and participation is often voluntary, rather than mandatory.

We believe the following will enhance outreach to spouses and intimate partners, with particular focus on those who live off installation and/or may not regularly interact with military life resources.

Key activities to better reach spouses and intimate partners on installation include:

  • Expanding FAP communications plan to include the installation level. Updating the DoD-level FAP communications plan to include the military Service and installation levels will better enable FAP officials to gauge spouse awareness needs as well as trend responses longer term.
  • Leveraging spouse groups. Every installation, regardless of the specific military Service, should have a spouse club that can be leveraged for outreach.

Key activities to better reach spouses and intimate partners off installation include:

Partnering with other government entities in community outreach. Programs and resources like the New Parent Support Program (NPSP), Domestic Abuse Victim Advocacy program (DAVA), Military & Family Life Counseling (MFLC), and Child & Youth Services (CYS) regularly engage in community outreach and training and, therefore, present an opportunity to increase FAP promotion to off-installation spouses and intimate

  • More consistent collaboration between installation-level FAP resources and these programs and resources will serve as a force multiplier.
  • Partnering with non-governmental entities. More consistent engagement with local chapters of Non-Government Organizations, such as the American Red Cross, and Military Support Organizations already working in the communities around an installation will better capture off-installation spouses and intimate partners.
  • Leveraging non-traditional community resources. Some who live and work off installation may be isolated even from community-facing resources like NPSP and MFLC. Reaching these spouses and intimate partners may require a more creative approach encompassing more “touchpoints” in their day such as leaving education materials at a local daycare, food pantry, thrift store, library, junior league chapter, or church.
  • Increased tailoring of outreach strategies to specific populations. The spouses or intimate partners of more junior enlisted personnel may not be in a leadership position to distribute information, so they may just be interested in a more informal meeting with a victim advocate or a pamphlet of FAP resources, rather than a formal briefing. Increased flexibility in outreach strategies will ensure more complete utilization of existing prevention resources.

Key Takeaway

Ultimately, effective prevention strategies must ensure outreach and mitigation activities incorporate all categories of risk factors—individual, relational, community, and societal. The methods to battle intimate partner violence must also ensure all at-risk people (perpetrators and victims alike) receive appropriate education and aid.

We believe prevention is the best opportunity for affordable, high-impact solutions to the needs of our military.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, November 2). Preventing intimate partner violence | violence prevention | Injury Center | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/fastfact.html.

[2] Kamarck, Kristy N., Ott, Alan, Sacco, Lisa N. (2019, December 4). Military Families and Intimate Partner Violence: Background and Issues for Congress (Report No. R46097). Congressional Research Service. https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/details?prodcode=R46097