1.      Background


Building Healthy Military Communities (BHMC) is a seven state pilot that aims to better understand the challenges faced by Service members (SMs) and their families in accessing resources that may impact force readiness, well-being, and resiliency. The pilot will incorporate community capacity building, mobile health technologies, and strategic communications into one collaborative approach to enhance readiness, resiliency, and wellness of all Service members and their families.


In partnership with the National Guard Bureau (NBG) and leveraging their Joining Community Forces (JCF) program, BHMC will focus, in particular, on the geographically dispersed military population.  BHMC will leverage the infrastructure of JCF, a “no wrong door” approach, in which all Service members and their families seeking support, regardless of Service or Duty Status, are welcome at the 500+ National Guard Assistance Centers located across 54 States and Territories. These assets provide support including education and employment support, family readiness, and physical, spiritual and behavioral health support, but a large proportion of support comes from the local communities. Specific services vary by location, based on need and are scalable.   


The BHMC pilot will also leverage existing mobile health engagement strategies and health tracking technologies (HTT) that support fitness, readiness and wellness programs in the DoD. With smartphones being used by virtually everyone within the DoD, a well-configured mobile app, potentially connected to a wearable device, can provide 24/7 engagements with regard to fitness and readiness in the target populations. There are a vast array of mobile health engagement strategies and HTT that exist within DoD that may be potentially leveraged for the BHMC. These will be evaluated to match HTT capabilities with the BHMC project needs.


2.      Purpose


The purpose of this communication strategy is to 1) identify how to socialize and gain support for the BHMC pilot within the Department of Defense, other federal agencies and community partners, and stakeholders in the seven pilot states; 2) deliver key messages and increase awareness of health and wellness resources available to geographically dispersed SM’s and their families


3.      Goals and Objectives


The goals and objectives of this communication strategy are to:

  • Leverage a variety of communication channels to deliver select messages to target populations
  • Reach SM’s and their families in remote areas by leveraging Public Affairs Offices (PAOs) and other stakeholders such as Family Assistance Centers
  • Incorporate information about available resources into current training programs to increase awareness of and access to programs and service
  • Engage military service associations such as Military Service Organizations (MSOs), Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), etc. to help connect SM’s and their families with resources
  • Engage with Federal agencies to target correct demographics
  • Improve access to and navigation of existing military and community based resources for the target population
  • Leverage the infrastructure of JCF
  • Leverage HTT as a means to assess readiness and resiliency in the BHMC pilot’s target population and to understand perceptions of current resources, gaps, and key issues


4.      Anticipated Impact


Socializing and communicating the objectives and intended goals for the pilot will 1) encourage Departmental, cross-sector, and on-the ground support for the pilot and garner commitment to its successful implementation, execution, and evaluation; 2) increase access to and navigation of military and community resources to better maintain and improve readiness. Results of the BHMC pilot will inform the Total Force Fitness (TFF) Capabilities Based Assessment and establish an enduring capability to support wellbeing, readiness, and resiliency in support of remote Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard members and their families.