I have always said that you can either read history or make it.
Many of you in our workforce have made important history by providing valuable feedback on their communities. Because of your voice and the Army’s commitment to taking care of Soldiers, civilians and families, the Army Family Action plan has improved quality of life for the past 27 years.
One of the greatest achievements of the recent AFAP General Officer Steering Committee was resolving 27 of 40 quality of life issues. The GOSC, composed of Department of Defense officials, Army leaders and field representatives, reviewed some tough issues that require resources, legislation, and policy changes. In the end, the resolutions expanded Soldier entitlements and civilian employment, enhanced medical and family support, and improved facilities and relocation services for Soldiers, civilians and families.
The AFAP is a year-round process that begins at the installation level and is the preeminent means for commanders at all levels to learn about community concerns and seek solutions.
Because of your voice, the Army is able to dedicate child and youth spaces to accommodate our special needs children at Child, Youth and School Services facilities. Garrison commanders now have the authority to designate areas within their community for immediate special needs child care.
Our pledge to improve family readiness is evident in the resolution of issue No. 562, an efficient and seamless delivery of family support services with Army One Source. Information about Army Family programs, health care benefits, education and recreation is available online at www.myarmyonesource.com.
We are also ensuring excellence in schools through an online, one-on-one tutoring service for Army-affiliated students. Family members in grades kindergarten through 12 can receive live assistance with school work 24/7 at www.tutor.com.
Providing additional support to surviving families with enhanced survivor family dental benefits was also attained. Surviving children can now maintain coverage in the TRICARE Dental Plan through age 21 — or age 23, if they are full-time college students.
Additionally, an issue requesting around-the-clock child care was resolved. The Army funded 24/7 child care facilities at 11 installations, based on installation missions and projected demand. Remaining installations receive this service through Family Child Care homes.
We have made great strides, but the committee agreed that six AFAP recommendations cannot be resolved because of resource constraints, lack of legislative support or other factors. However, we decided to continue pursuing seven agenda items, such as increasing weight allowances for relocating families and boosting medical retirement pay for some disabled Soldiers.
As the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, I am committed to ensuring all recommendations are thoroughly analyzed to determine if they are realistically achievable. I will be meeting with the Army staff proponents monthly to analyze eight to 10 issues.
To stay informed, visit the Army One Source website and select the Family Programs and Services menu to activate the AFAP active issue search feature. I will also keep you informed by publishing monthly updates and postings to my Facebook page.
If you think we are missing something, get involved and become part of the solution. Reading history is educational, but getting involved is an exceptional way to make history and support the Army Family.