Friday, January 01, 2010

How Mentally Ready Are Canadian Soldiers to Deploy?

Canada's Army spends a lot of time and structured effort ensuring troops are physically trained and ready to deploy into harm's way. Now, it's trying to figure out how to measure mental readiness for operations.

A 31 Dec 09 request for bidders to MERX (PDF of online posting here if link doesn't work) says:

The Department of National Defence, Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto, Ontario has a requirement for the development of a Bio-Psycho-Social Model of individual readiness for military operational effectiveness. The Defence Research & Development Canada and the Canadian Forces support research towards ensuring individual armed forces personnel are as prepared as possible to perform with maximum operational effectiveness. The purpose of this contract is to produce a model of the bio-psycho-social factors considered important for achieving individual readiness for military operations.

The Statement of Work (SOW) (PDF at, part of the bid documents, says the work is based on the idea that mental as well as physical factors affect health and operational readiness, also known as the "bio-psycho-social (BPS)" model.

While mental readiness is being recognized by parts of the CF as a factor to consider, the SOW says "it is not yet entrenched in doctrine, training and deployment preparation."

According to the bid documents, the successful vendor will research, develop and validate tools (likely paper, computerized or other tests) to measure readiness under the BPS model, and figure out how the results can be used by military commanders and others ensure "confidence that a soldier's performance (e.g. situational awareness, cognitive processes, decision making) under stressful conditions will be appropriate, reliable and sustainable."

The online MERX posting says up to $500,000 has been earmarked for the research. The deadline for applications to carry out the research: 2pm Eastern, 22 Jan 10.

(Crossposted at


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