Have ideas on how the Department of the Army can improve the quality of life for service members, DA civilians and their families?
If so, now is the time to submit them for the next Army Family Action Plan conference, to be held in November in U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. Issues are due by Nov. 5.
“It’s a way to change policy … and enhance quality of life for Soldiers and their families,” said Lisa Ordukaya, USAG Stuttgart AFAP manager.
Although AFAP is an Army program, the conference in USAG Stuttgart — a joint services community — will discuss issues submitted by all service members, and have volunteer delegates representing each branch of service.
Community members can participate by identifying issues in which they see room for improvement in the military community and submitting them online at www.stuttgart.army.mil (click on “Submit 2012 AFAP issues”) or www.stuttgartmwr.com (click on “Army Community Service,” then “Army Family Action Plan”).
Hard copies of the issue forms are located in AFAP issue boxes throughout the garrison in facilities such as post offices, and Exchange Service facilities.
AFAP is not designed to address local issues, such as facility operating hours or customer service complaints, Ordukaya said. These types of issues should be submitted through the Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, system on the garrison website (www.stuttgart.army.mil).
“They’ll get immediate results with ICE because [managers] have to respond in 72 hours,” she said. The goal of the AFAP conference is to brainstorm solutions for issues that can affect the entire Army family or Defense Department.
“Think broad, think big. No idea is a bad idea,” Ordukaya said.
Potential issue topics include Wounded Warrior benefits, single Soldier quality of life, and surviving family member benefits. Some installations may have “best practices” that can be made available to others through AFAP, she added.
No matter the topic, every issue submitted will be addressed by the garrison commander.
“Your quality of life issues matter, and we are going to prioritize them, and we are going to send them up to leadership,” Ordukaya said.
Issues that cannot be resolved at the garrison level are sent to the regional AFAP conference and on to the Department of the Army conference, when applicable.
“Although our commander will review all AFAP issue submissions, our goal is to hear him say, ‘This one has to be pushed up to the regional level for resolution,’” she said. “When those issues are pushed up to the regional level, we want the same response: ‘Those issues need to go to Department of Army.’ This is … where the changes can be made and implemented.”
Since AFAP was established in 1983, it has resulted in 117 legislative changes, 162 DOD or DA policy changes and 178 improved programs or services, according to the DA Headquarters.
These include the distribution of Montgomery GI Bill benefits to dependents in 2009 and extending Tricare medical coverage for transitional survivor spouses in 2010.
In addition to submitting issues, active duty service members, reservists, retirees, civilians, family members and youth can participate in the AFAP conference by applying to be a delegate. Delegates discuss the issues submitted, select those they believe are the most important, and propose a local solution or submit it to a higher-level conference. Volunteers are also needed to be conference facilitators, recorders, transcribers, or issue support personnel.
Civilian dress is required for all attendees.
For more information on AFAP issues submitted to the Department of the Army for action, visit www.myarmyonesource.com, and click on “Family Programs,” then the AFAP issue link For more information on the USAG Stuttgart AFAP conference, call 431-3643/civ. 07031-15-3643.