Commander's dashboard to address soldier suicides

In response to an increase in soldier suicides, the Army will introduce in February a first-generation online software application called the Commander's Risk Reduction Dashboard (CRRD), which will consolidate information from multiple Army databases and present to commanders a concise report about soldiers who were involved with at-risk behaviors, some of which may be associated with suicide.

Reports generated by the CRRD will be used by commanders to make decisions on how best to help soldiers through intervention activities, according to an article published by the Army News Service.

"We know that commanders are concerned with the health and well-being of their units," said Donna Clouse, risk reduction program manager, Army Center for Substance Abuse Programs, Army G1, quoted in the Army News Service article. "And so the intent of this dashboard is to display data to enable commanders to make informed decisions about intervention strategies, and assist in helping commanders respond earlier to the warning signs."

The first-generation CRRD is being developed by the Army's Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) at the request of the Army's G-1 Deputy Chief of Staff office, with a fuller solution planned for about two years from now, according to the article.

The interim CRRD will highlight for commanders at company and battalion levels instances where soldiers have displayed any of 14 critical risk factors that could indicate they could be at risk, such as positive drug tests, crimes against persons or property, alcohol offenses, or domestic violence.

"The CRRD is going to help commanders recognize trends in soldiers who may be at risk and alert them to any incidents for both current and new soldiers coming into the installation," said Crystal Chadwick, CRRD project lead with the Software Engineering Center at CECOM, in the Army News Service article.

The CRRD will allow commanders to evaluate a soldier's history inside a single unit, or across multiple units, which can be especially important when a soldier with a history of high-risk behaviors transitions into a new unit.

Developers of the CRRD say the next version of the software will include an algorithm that leads to an assessment system to identify soldiers who need immediate support.

"We hope to be able to build upon and expand the dashboard in the full solution," said Clouse in the article. "We think that once the algorithm comes out and we gather additional information about high risk behaviors from Army Public Health Command and others involved in the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service members program, we will be able to scale the full solution to fit the needs of commanders."

In developing the software, CECOM addressed the privacy needs of soldiers, according to Michelle Dirner, CECOM Software Engineering Center program manager, who was also interviewed for the Army News Service article.

"What we're doing is organizing information from authoritative sources that are already out today and being utilized by commanders and the Army," she stated. "What we're doing is following the same policies and guidelines for privacy of information that exist within each system and ensuring commanders readily have access to a common picture."

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