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Pre- to Middeployment Assessment of Unit Focused Stability Impact on Cohesion

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Final rept. Aug 2005-Sep 2006

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This third in a planned series of reports on research with U.S. Army Alaskas 172d Stryker Brigade Combat Team SBCT sought to 1 assess the impact of heightened personnel stability under Unit Focused Stability UFS manning on cohesion, and 2 identify factors that enhance or detract from are predictive of this impact over the 6-month interval between unit pre- and middeployment. The same 669 Soldiers from platoons organic to three infantry battalions, one field artillery battalion, and one cavalry squadron completed paper-and-pencil questionnaires at the end of garrison-based predeployment and again midway through overseas deployment. Results revealed that horizontal Soldier to Soldier cohesion remained unchanged, whereas vertical Soldier to leader and organizational Soldier to unitArmy cohesion dropped from pre- to middeployment. Leader effectiveness and learning environment were the best predictors of cohesion, especially vertical and organizational cohesion. Efforts to stabilize personnel under UFS during predeployment were perceived to have a positive albeit limited impact on cohesion, performance, morale, and unit commitment, with performance being the primary beneficiary. JRTC-based training during predeployment was also perceived to enhance middeployment individual and collective performance. Results were interpreted to suggest that 1 heightened UFS-imposed personnel stability will not by itself increase cohesion from pre- to middeployment, and 2 without a concerted effort to promote effective leadership and a positive learning environment for Soldiers, horizontal cohesion is unlikely to change from pre- to middeployment, whereas vertical and organizational cohesion is likely to drop. Findings also suggest that personnel stability, as well as JRTC-based training, during predeployment are both likely to benefit individual and collective performance during the first 6 months of deployment.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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