[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                     January 14, 2011
Command Corner

Army Family Action Plan update: Employment and Family support

By Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, Commanding General, Installation Management Command

As the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, I have an important responsibility to oversee the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) process, which is a program that enables Soldiers, Civilians and Family members to communicate quality- of-life issues to Army leaders. Information provided through this process allows leaders the opportunity to affect changes that will lead to a more-satisfied and resilient Army community.

Every month subject-matter experts from across the Army meet to analyze recommendations submitted through the AFAP process to determine if they are achievable. These recommendations then will be presented at the next annual General Officer Steering Committee in January. I have promised to regularly communicate our progress throughout the process. This month we reviewed recommendations related to employment and Family support.

Issue number (IN) 617 recommends providing greater visibility of qualified Wounded Warrior job applicants to Federal hiring officials. The Civilian Human Resource Agency (CHRA) has made much progress with this issue.

One accomplishment is their partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to integrate the use of their Veteran Resume Inventory (http://vetsuccess.gov/  ) into Army recruitment business processes. Additionally, CHRA has developed:
• The Civilian Personnel On-Line Wounded Warrior webpage.
• The Wounded Warrior Referral Process.
• The Wounded Warrior and spouse web-based resume inventory.
• A briefing that explains how to direct-hire Wounded Warriors. This briefing is now included in the mandatory New Supervisor’s Training Course.

Department of Defense (DoD) State Liaisons and the Army have also made progress on IN 524, which recommends granting unemployment compensation to military spouses who leave their jobs when accompanying service members on a permanent change of station (PCS) move. To date, 38 states provide unemployment compensation while the District of Columbia and Maryland evaluate eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Ohio and Tennessee have active legislation in progress to provide unemployment compensation.

Outreach efforts are being focused on the remaining States to solicit their support for these dedicated military spouses and their Families.

IN 556 is a recommendation to eliminate the financial inequities in the DoD Child Care Fee Policy due to a limited number of Total Family Income (TFI) categories. Work on this issue resulted in the addition of three new categories and an expanded fee range in each category. We are on track to achieve our school year 2012-2013 goal of reaching an Armywide single fee in each TFI category, which will result in more consistency and predictability for Families as they move from post to post.

IN 639 recommends that Advanced Individual Training Soldiers who require Exceptional Family Member (EFM) services and have received an overseas assignment remain at their current installation until notification of EFM service availability and command sponsorship is granted by the overseas travel approval authority.

As a result of this recommendation, a rapid revision to Army Regulation 608-75, which governs the Army Exceptional Family Member Program, is in the process of being published. The revision directs that all Soldiers with EFMs will remain at their current installation pending notification of EFM service availability and command sponsorship from the overseas command. Although we have made progress with some issues, we still have work to do on others.

This month we will continue to analyze the attainability of the following issues:
• Authorizing 100 percent of the death gratuity to any person designated as a beneficiary by a Department of the Army Civilian killed in a military contingency operation (regardless of their relationship). Currently the law only recognizes spouses, children, parents or siblings as eligible survivors (IN 634).
• Establishing a centralized DoD leave-donation bank for civilian employees (IN 615).
• Aligning compensatory hours with standard overtime rates for Army Civilians (IN 649).
• Standardizing and enforcing the Total Army Sponsorship Program by providing trained and available sponsors equipped with the information and referral resources needed for Soldiers and Families during times of transition (IN 609).
• Accounting for the unborn children of pre-existing pregnancies when calculating the transitional benefits for Family members of military personnel who were separated and discharged due to domestic abuse (IN 625).
• Coordinating with U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service for approval of DoD-administered fingerprinting and physical examinations (IN 515).
• Providing EFM Program enrollment eligibility for Reserve-Component Soldiers (No. 650).
• Conducting a holistic review of Family Readiness Group fundraising in the Active and Reserve Components (IN 652).

The Army is working the issues, but the AFAP is your program. I encourage you to learn more about the AFAP process and follow the progress on issues that are currently being worked. I invite you to visit the Army OneSource website at http://www.myarmyonesource.com and select the Family Programs and Services menu to activate the AFAP active issue search feature. Once there, you can search by keyword or issue number. You can also search by subject area, demographic group or geographical area to see what we are doing to improve the quality of life for Soldiers, Civilians and Families.

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