A Shift From Resilience to Human Performance Optimization in Special Operations Training: Advancements in Theory and Practice

J Spec Oper Med. 2017 Fall;17(3):109-113. doi: 10.55460/23RQ-8OSZ.


Within the Department of Defense over the past decade, a focus on enhancing Warfighter resilience and readiness has increased. For Special Operation Forces (SOF), who bear unique burdens for training and deployment, programs like the Preservation of the Force and Family have been created to help support SOF and their family members in sustaining capabilities and enhancing resilience in the face of prolonged warfare. In this review, we describe the shift in focus from resilience to human performance optimization (HPO) and the benefits of human performance initiatives that include holistic fitness. We then describe strategies for advancing the application of HPO for future initiatives through tailoring and cultural adaptation, as well as advancing methods for measurement. By striving toward specificity and precision performance, SOF human performance programs can impact individual and team capabilities to a greater extent than in the past, as well as maintaining the well-being of SOF and their families across their careers and beyond.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Anxiety, Separation
  • Family Relations / psychology*
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel / education
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • United States
  • Warfare