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EDO School Introduces Warrior Toughness to Curriculum

21 February 2020

From Engineering Duty Officer School

Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) School incorporated “life balance” and “mindfulness” to its Basic and Senior EDO Course curriculum to align the schoolhouse with Navy efforts to strengthen Warrior Toughness.
PORT HUENEME, Calif. – Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) School incorporated “life balance” and “mindfulness” to its Basic and Senior EDO Course curriculum to align the schoolhouse with Navy efforts to strengthen Warrior Toughness.

Warrior Toughness is a holistic mind-body-soul character development program designed to build a Sailor’s ability to perform under acute and sustained stress. Toughness is emphasized in the Navy Leader Development Framework (NLDF) as a core attribute, where highly connected teams build commitment and toughness by developing a sense of belonging and cohesion. Warrior toughness is also a component of the Navy’s approach to developing a more proactive “Culture of Excellence.”

“Whether it’s entry-level indoctrination or mid-career training, it is our duty to ensure that EDO warriors are mentally, physically, and spiritually tough to handle the rigors of their jobs and to complete their assigned missions,” said Capt. Scott Davis, EDO School’s commanding officer.

EDO School piloted the “life balance” and “mindfulness” discussions in their September 2019 Senior Course and January 2020 Basic Course.

“EDO School and these modules are in direct support of Lane 3 (Connections) of the NLDF where personal and intellectual connections are defined as essential in achieving the highest levels of performance,” said Davis.

Capt. Keith Lehnhardt, deputy commander for Naval Sea Systems Command’s Acquisitions and Commonality Directorate, provided a module on “life balance” concepts and tools he has used during his 29-year Navy career.

His module promotes life balance through acknowledgement of the environment that we live in, proactive shaping of that environment using life goals as the measurement standard and a continuous process to achieve the balance that we desire.

“Taking a long range perspective makes it easier to figure out what to say ‘no’ to and how to prioritize life’s many opportunities,” said Lehnhardt. “Life balance produces resilience within the service member and their family, reduces burnout and increases career longevity. It’s a win-win mind set for both the individual and the service in general.”

EDO students also had the opportunity to gain additional insight into “life balance” approaches and challenges from other senior leaders from the EDO community through panel and one-on-one mentoring.

To incorporate “mindfulness” into the curriculum, the EDO School asked Lt. Cmdr. Megan Jolicoeur, a physician assigned to the Naval Branch Clinic Port Hueneme, to discuss the science behind the concept.

"Serving in the military is no easy job. We have increased workloads, wear multiple hats, have to leave family, move frequently, etc.,” said Jolicoeur. “Mindfulness’ and resiliency training is essential for not only providing coping skills but potentially preventing symptoms. ‘Mindfulness’ teaches us to be present and aware of everything that is going on around us. It helps to monitor thoughts, feelings and body sensations. It also teaches us to accept certain things without being overly critical or judgmental. It is about opening up the mind to many different paths available and viewing all different choices dispassionately. We know from research that a regular ‘mindfulness’ practice can even re-wire the brain and our thought processes.”

Davis, who was only recently introduced to “life balance” and “mindfulness,” was hesitant to introduce these soft science topics to a group of engineers, but he knew the benefits it could bring to the students.

“We have only received positive feedback from our students,” said Davis. “They not only want to keep the material in the curriculum, but they recommend moving it earlier in the course schedule so that future students can incorporate it into their daily routines.”

EDO School improves the professional proficiency of both Active Duty and Reserve EDOs through training in plans, programs, policies and procedures by which the Navy accomplishes the life-cycle engineering of naval ships and systems.
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