Life in the military is no bed of roses, but the services are putting in place an innovative program designed to give service members new tools to handle the stress of military life.
The company and the program are known universally as O2X, which stands for Optimize to the X, with X being the goal.
A recent story from Defense.gov outlines how the military is installing this innovative program to help service members be physically and mentally ready to handle the stress of military service.
Below is an excerpt from that story.
“We implement human performance programs, performance optimization programs into the tactical community,” said Adam La Reau, co-founder and managing partner of O2X and also a former Navy SEAL. “We tackle occupational challenges within these tactical communities, things like sleep disruption, mental health, physical aspects, injuries — essentially, the things that impact the readiness, resilience, and sometimes even the retention of these units … or DOD as a whole.”
In the Navy, the emphasis on human performance came from a study following the 2017 crashes of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain. The crashes killed 17 sailors. The study found the crews were overtaxed, fatigued and stressed.
The service turned to O2X to look at these human factors and develop a program to address some of these specific problems within the surface warfare community.
“We bring on-site specialists that come with a program and a methodology,” La Reau said in an interview. “We do skills-based training and education. The education is … pretty critical for people to be self-aware about their own individual performance.”
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The program treats service members like elite athletes. Elite athletes receive training not just to perform a physical feat, but to have the mental toughness and resilience to perform under pressure, La Reau said. Elite athletes follow a training regimen to ensure they have the right foods, the right amount of sleep, the right exercise regimen and the determination and willingness to follow the regimen. “The question we always ask is how do we give people the skill sets in order to persevere through challenges and emerge not only successful, but stronger,” he said.
The company tailors each program to the situation. They’re quite aware that what may work for an officer at a police department would not help a sailor aboard a destroyer. La Reau said the company has hundreds of specialists to teach personnel and to serve as “reach-back” assets for those deployed.
To read the full story from Defense.gov about O2X Performance and its efforts to help alleviate stress among service members, click here.