"The Strong Bonds program is a unit-based, chaplain-led program which assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening the Army Family. The core mission of the Strong Bonds program is to increase individual Soldier and Family member readiness through relationship education and skills training. During Fiscal Year 2009, more than 160,000 Soldiers and Family members participated in over 2,600 Strong Bonds events. Fiscal Year 2010 is the third year of a five-year longitudinal study evaluating the effectiveness of the Strong Bonds program. Also, commanders ... plan more than 4,000 Strong Bonds events in 2010 to include Soldiers geographically dispersed from military installations [and] requested more than $103 million in support of Strong Bonds. Strong Bonds originated in 1997 with a program for couples, which was referred to as Building Strong and Ready Families." strong bonds website, 2/7/2010.
The previous program, Building Strong and Ready Families was a successful (93% satisfaction) program with chaplains and the Army Nurse Corps that was replaced in 2005 by the Christian Strong Bonds program. Strong BondsEvidence below shows a disturbing program of proselytism through this program that is contrary to the military mission. MAAF is continuing to request that this program, which has been funded with well over $100M of taxpayer money be redesign or rejected in favor of a program that will support all service members equally.
A 2008 inquiry by a MAAF member placed additional scrutiny on a program that was, at the time, rife with Christian bias. The program content and materials were based in Christianity, to the exclusion of non-Christian service members that also needed a family support program. The Inspector General responded to the program by denying the problem and promising to eliminate any perception of religious bias in the future. More recent (Feb 2010) review of the Strong Bonds website shows no mention of god or Christianity (aside from the dove logo).