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CHIPS Articles: Corps expands new grassroots tech, helps commanders tackle suicide

Corps expands new grassroots tech, helps commanders tackle suicide
By Mathuel Browne, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication - September 29, 2016
Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. -- The Marine Corps is investing in the health of Marines with a new force preservation tool to proactively combat suicide and identify at-risk service members.

The Integrated Clinical Management and Risk Mitigation System is an automated electronic risk assessment tool that gives commanders better visibility into the wellbeing of their Marines. By tracking factors like deployment history and military discipline, the system calculates individual risk scores for identified Marines and recommends resources to the commander to maintain and improve overall unit health and readiness.

“One of the challenges commanders and Department of Defense leadership face is suicide,” said Marvin Wallace Jr., project manager for the ICM-RMS Force Preservation Program Tool at Marine Corps Systems Command. “Right now, when dealing with high risk individuals, leadership must use a paper copy of the incident to evaluate how to help that service member. With the new ICM-RMS application, the commander gets a better information link with his medical officer to gain a better understanding of the problems his Marines face.”

ICM-RMS was developed by II Marine Expeditionary Force, 2nd Marine Regiment’s Operational Stress Control and Readiness Team in 2011 to consolidate and share information that may indicate a need for command intervention.

“ICM-RMS gives me, as the leader, the full picture of the health of my Marines,” said Lt. Col. Reginald McClam, acting commanding officer of 8th Marines Regiment at Camp Lejeune, N.C. “The system is fairly simple to use, connects with former commands to fill gaps of previous events, helps develop long-term metrics and assists us in executing our mission at the macro level.”

“There is a manpower tax associated with having select high-ranking officials additionally tasked with managing the system and its sensitive information,” McClam added. “So, it’s important to note that it will only be as good as the commander’s support of it.”

ICM-RMS is used by command-level Force Preservation Programs to identify and assess risk factors in Marines enrolled in the program, and connect them with vital resources for assistance. The FPP provides commanders a clear, formalized process to increase unit readiness by optimizing the potential of every Marine.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Yaron Rabinowitz, operational psychologist at Marine Special Operations School at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was one of the original creators of ICM-RMS.

“What is really unique about ICM-RMS is that it was not originally intended to be used by the whole Corps,” said Rabinowitz. “It was created at the grassroots level to assist the commander in making the right call for a Marine in need. Because the system was adapted at the local level, we are confident of its capabilities.”

In August of this year, ICM-RMS became a program of record at MCSC to expand and integrate the web-based capability enterprise-wide. MCSC will manage the information technology element to integrate the system across the Marine Corps network. All personally identifiable information will be managed by the Commandant of Marine Corps Safety Division to ensure it remains secure.

“I want to be sure that we are clear that ICM-RMS will be secure,” said Sheri Stefaniga, a tier two lead for Total Force Information Technology Systems at MCSC. “In order to serve the full fleet, MCSC is placing the application on an encrypted section of the Marine Corps Enterprise Information Technology network, and the information is locked down with different privileges.”

ICM-RMS has been classified by the Marine Corps as an urgent universal need. Accordingly, MCSC is planning to design, develop and deploy the system across the Corps over the next 14 months.

“As a retired Marine I understand the stressors that Marines experience, which is why I know systems like the ICM-RMS will greatly help [improve] the health of Marines,” Wallace said. “Here at MCSC, we are passionate about equipping our Marines with the best equipment and tools to ensure they never get into a fair fight, no matter where that fight takes place.”

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