Stuttgart 2012 AFAP issues, recommendations

Issue: Unhealthy Eating Options on Military Installations
Scope: There is a lack of healthy eating places within military installations. Franchises/vendors define what is healthy and offer limited healthy menu options. Agencies select food providers based on profitability and U.S./world-wide trends that are not representative of the military community. Limitations impact health care costs/availability, rise in obesity, quality of life and mission readiness.
Recommendation: • Conduct annual quality of life food surveys.
• Require temporary contract options for one to three years.
• Implement standards based on community quality of life results in selecting food vendors to accommodate unique physical needs of a military community.
Issue:  Child/Youth School Services Part-time Child Care Options Outside the Continental U.S.
Scope: Funding constraints have negatively affected child care options.  Without flexible part-time child care options, spouses can’t secure jobs, it limits their community involvement, and it affects the mental/physical health and well-being of the family.
Recommendation: • Secure funding for Child Development Center construction projects.
• Expand CYS Services options by increasing standard design facilities to meet community needs.
Issue: USAG Stuttgart Limited Government Housing
Scope: There is an insufficient quantity of government housing for service members and their families. Currently there are 1,372 family units — not enough to support 4,356 active duty service members. The inability to accommodate service members with base housing increases the level of stress within the family, imposes high Temporary Lodging Allowance/Overseas Housing Allowance costs, and affects unit morale and mission readiness.
Recommendation: • Privatize government housing
• Build more housing.
• Develop government lease program.
Issue: Demand for Family Life Chaplains
Scope: Sensitive issues such as sexual assault and suicide are on the rise and can have lasting personal and professional impact. The Family Life Chaplain is the only long-term counseling resource with 100 percent confidentiality available to service members, civilians and dependents. Continued consolidation of installations and joint bases creates heavy workloads for a single service component.
Recommendation: • Expand the Family Life Chaplain Program throughout the Defense Department based on population at each installation.
• Make garrison Family Life Chaplains non-deployable to ensure there are no gaps in services provided.
• All services provide the same resource using the Army Family Life Training Model.
Issue: Off-Base Overseas Housing Search Mechanisms
Scope: The contract associated with Automated Housing Referral Network limits service members who have the means or desire to use other resources (i.e. realtors) in an effort to minimize time spent in transient living quarters. The average cost is $15,300 for TLA per month for an average family to occupy transient living quarters. The current arrangement makes it difficult to find acceptable housing, and the process is slow and ineffective. Establishing a permanent residence in a timely manner will improve family quality of life while minimizing the amount of TLA paid.
Recommendation: • Enable the use of realtors as a primary option for service members to seek housing (including fee reimbursement).
• No renewal of contracts associated with AHRN in favor of using realtors overseas to save the AHRN costs as well as TLA funds.
• Replace contract employees with government housing employees in order to provide better service.
Issue: Civilian Overseas Assignment Policy
Scope: The civilian overseas assignment policy does not achieve its current objectives of increasing opportunities, renewing knowledge and competencies, enhancing interoperability of employees or promoting a joint perspective of the overseas workforce. The current policy inhibits recruitment of qualified candidates from another OCONUS location. Providing global options increases the opportunity for employee career management, thus developing a more dynamic workforce.
Recommendation: Authorize OCONUS civilians to re-establish a new timetable under the five year rule with a Permanent Change of Station to another OCONUS assignment.
Issue: Casualty Assistance Officer for Survivors of all Service Component Retirees
Scope: The Army is the only service providing a CAO for military retiree survivors. This issue affects all survivors of Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guard military retirees. The assignment of a CAO facilitates proper and timely receipt of all benefits due to the survivor. Without the assignment of a CAO, families may be unaware of their rightful benefits and entitlements.
Recommendation: • Implement a Department of Defense policy to mirror the Department of the Army Casualty Assistance Program to include all service components.
• Provide a Casualty Assistance Officer to the survivor and the family of the retiree regardless of the retiree’s service component.
Issue: Recognition of Overseas Students by Stateside Institutes of Higher Learning
Scope: Department of Defense Dependent Schools students are left out of the overall recruitment from institutions of higher learning due to their remote locations.
Recommendation: • Implement a Department of Defense Education Activity plan to work with schools of higher learning to provide DoDDS students opportunities and recognition for recruitment.
• Form a partnership website to advertise the skills and diversity of DoDDS overseas students to these institutions of higher learning.
Issue: Diminish Drug Use in the DoDEA School System
Scope: DoDEA students are in an environment where they are tempted by drugs from other students, which hinders their learning abilities and overall educational experience.
Recommendation: DoDEA should review and change Army in Europe Regulation 27-9, pertaining to civilian misconduct, to allow random drug screenings throughout the schools in order to prevent drug use and provide a better learning environment.