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Navy announces expanded Operational Stress Control Program: Here are the details

Royal Saudi Naval Force and USS Winston S. Churchill transit the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. William Gore)
December 30, 2020

This article was originally published by the U.S. Navy.

Operational Stress Control Program is no longer just a pre-deployment training check. Instead, the Navy has shifted to an around the clock, peer-to-peer mentality in educating the fleet and identifying those impacted by operational stress — and supporting them.

The Navy announced the rollout plan for its new, Expanded Operational Stress Control Program, in NAVADMIN 332/20, released on Dec. 21.

The message marks the implementation of a new and more comprehensive approach to operational stress control across the fleet and includes implementation and training requirements for commands in the coming year. 

The program, known by the abbreviation E-OSC, is no longer just a pre-deployment training check. Instead, the Navy has shifted to an around the clock, peer-to-peer mentality in educating the fleet and identifying those impacted by operational stress.

This new focus was initially announced in NAVADMIN 222/19.  In the year since, the Navy has revamped the entire program, producing not only a new command-level approach, but also producing new training and related educational materials needed to fuel this cultural shift in the fleet. 

“Research has shown the need for stress management and optimization is more pronounced following deployment as Sailors return home and reintegrate into their families and life ashore, wrote Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr. the Navy’s chief of personnel in the message. 

“E-OSC is designed to inform and empower Sailors, to identify signs of distress and difficulty coping within themselves and others, as well as to know where to turn for help.

In the program’s initial 2019 announcement, Nowell called on Navy leaders at all levels to “make the mental and physical well-being of our Sailors a priority and get actively involved in resiliency programs.” 

“To properly train everyone for this critical fight, a fight we must wage 24/7, our Command Resilience Teams must take a new approach to how they do business with leadership engaged for every Sailor, every day,” Nowell said. 

The new approach isn’t just for command leadership and is instead a call to action for all-hands to keep an eye on their Shipmates by being “constantly on the lookout for uncharacteristic behavior and are encouraged to support their shipmates and step forward to report what they see.” Seeing something and saying something might just save a life.

Still, if the approach is to work, it must start at the top according to NAVADMIN 332/20. 

Command Resiliency Teams and engaged deckplate leaders will use “collaborative resources and real-time assessments of unit culture to promote healthy command climates and mitigate challenges.” This new approach will constantly teach ways to deal with common stressors such as relationships, career transitions, disciplinary or legal issues, performance issues and financial strain. 

This new approach was developed through a joint effort between the Naval Center for Combat & Operational Stress Control Navy’s 21st Century Sailor Office and is based on proven principles of both Operational Stress Control and Mind, Body and Resilience Training.

At the command level, it’s the Command Resiliency Teams who will take the lead to enforce and facilitate the new program, led by that organization’s executive officer or second senior officer who is ultimately responsible. 

The rollout will have two phases. 

Phase One starts Jan. 1, 2021, with the requirement for command indoctrination programs to now include a video explains the Stress Continuum and Core Leader Functions of E-OSC to Sailors. This video should also be shown at Command Safety Stand-downs as a way that all hands receive this this basic overview of how of the E-OSC works.  

It doesn’t stop there as additional informational videos demonstrating E-OSC stress optimization strategies are available to commands as well.  All are one minute long and can be used as an introduction to All Hands Training, Departmental or Divisional Training. They can also be made available on demand through a command’s social media pages or intranet.

All the videos are available for download from the Culture of Excellence page on the Navy Personnel Command website. Access to the page is comes through MyNavy Portal at Click first on the 21st Century Sailor tab, then Culture of Excellence. 

This initial phase also requires all command CRT members receive an overview of the E-OSC Program by taking the Basic Training for Primary Prevention and Human Factors Process course. It’s available online, now at To register for training, members must enter code “8LKE79.” The training is available now.

Phase two requires commands formally establish an E-OSC Program no later than January of 2022. 

In preparation, commanders will be required to designate E-OSC Team and Assistant Team Leaders.  Each must have at least one year remaining at the command. Team Leaders must be an E7 or above while Assistant Team Leaders can be E-6 or above. 

Both levels of team leaders complete the E-OSC Trainer Course, which is in the final stages of development. Details on this training will be released no later than May 2021. Conducting the training is currently slated to happen between July through December 2021. 

Once a unit’s team leaders have been trained, they along with their command’s CRT can begin implementing their unit’s E-OSC Program.