Aligning and Assessing Core Attributes of Spiritual Fitness for Optimizing Human Performance

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Alexander DW, Deuster PA 21(1). 109 - 112 (Journal Article)

The United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM)'s Preservation of the Force and Family Program (POTFF) identifies spiritual performance (SP) as a key pillar for holistically caring for and optimizing the performance of all Special Operations Forces (SOF) and their families. Enhancing SP is key to sustaining core spiritual beliefs, values, awareness, relationships and experiences. The SOCOM Spiritual Fitness Scale (SSFS) enables religious support teams in SOF communities and beyond to reliably measure SP according to POTFF's definition of SP and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) on Spiritual Fitness (SF). The three subscales of the SSFS relate to core attributes of SP/SF, which were identified through factor analysis during iterations of the tool's development. Directly aligning SP/SF programs with the core attributes of SSFS will allow chaplains to support both theists and nontheists and to retain certain traditional chaplain activities which no longer have universal connection to religious ministry in the public discourse. Chaplains are also empowered to immediately begin conducting relevant and spiritual assessments. We will illustrate how a chaplain can align SP initiatives with the three core attributes of SP/SF and leverage the SSFS to assess baseline unit needs, conceive and develop evidence-based initiatives, conduct rolling program assessments, and articulate program efficacy to key leaders and collaborators.

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