The Expanded Operational Stress Control (E-OSC) Program is a hybrid approach to stress mitigation leveraging education of coping techniques with standardized support structures at the command level. Sailors are taught how to better manage their own stress and were provided with multiple resources to both seek help and support their fellow shipmates.
E-OSC was formally announced in December 2020 via NAVADMIN 332/20. The instruction directs that the E-OSC program be implemented across the Navy no later than next January.
“Gettysburg’s participation in this pilot serves two critical purposes,” says Capt. Corey Keniston, the ship’s commanding officer, who volunteered his ship to take part in the Pilot Phase of the E-OSC rollout. “First, we can help shape a critical program designed to increase combat efficiency of Sailors across the Navy by reducing stress-related impacts to readiness. Second, by participating in this pilot, we selfishly gain early access to a critical set of tools to help our own Sailors better navigate their stress in an extended shipyard availability.
“Make no mistake, these efforts are about the combat readiness of each individual at my command and our cohesive combat team.”
Gettysburg is in the final stages of a Cruiser Modification and Service Life Extension program.
Last Fall, the crew was asked for E-OSC team volunteers and 18 Sailors stepped up to receive training as imbedded “Buddy Care” team members. Their task: to support and facilitate care for their fellow shipmates. The team is led by an E-OSC Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader, in close collaboration with NCCOSC Program Managers, who have direct access to the commanding officer for program feedback and stress assessments.
The Pilot Program includes milestones such as the quarterly Servicemember Metrics Surveys (SMS) and Program Status Surveys (PSS), implementation of the software based “Stress-o-Meter,” submission of Organizational Metrics, and Command Resilience Team training in E-OSC Buddy Care. These periodic Pilot Program assessments will provide essential data to NCCOSC and N17 to determine feasibility and fidelity of establishing a unit level E-OSC program, and the value of the program on Sailor readiness.
Keniston says that he entered the pilot believing the experience would benefit the crew and enhance Gettysburg’s combat readiness.
“My goals are to have informed Sailors who are empowered to identify signs of distress within themselves and others, and to know where to turn for help,” said Keniston. “At the same time, we are providing NCCOSC with essential information to complete the E-OSC Pilot Program Evaluation and further refine the program as it rolls out to the Fleet.
“This isn’t a new concept, this is about knowing your people and looking out for their welfare. This is about listening to and helping individuals so that the team is stronger. This is about building a tough cohesive team who is ready for whatever challenge we face.”
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