McIlvaine, Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command Public
Va. — Arriving from garrisons as far away as Korea, 117
delegates came together in late January to discuss issues, listen to
subject-matter experts provide background information on new and old
issues, and ultimately make the Army a better place for families to
call home through a process called the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP).
Col. Jimmie Keenan (left),
listens as Capt. Fayette Fraham, former company commander of a
hospital in Iraq, talks about areas of concern for warriors in
transition. Keenan is the Chief of Staff, Army Medical Action
Plan, Army Medical Department, Office of the Surgeon General. (Photo
by Ralph Nordenhold)
U.S. Army has been celebrating the 25th anniversary of the creation of
AFAP since Aug. 15, 2008. On that date in 1983, the U.S. Army Chief of
Staff, General John A. Wickham, wrote a ground-breaking white paper
titled "The Army Family" which identified the need for the
Army to increase support to its families.
and his staff asserted that a healthy family environment allows
Soldiers to concentrate more fully on their mission.
Army had transformed from an organization of conscripted and
short-term enlistees comprised of mostly unmarried military members
(with a 10 percent re-enlistment rate) to an all-volunteer,
professional force consisting of more than 50 percent married
come a long way from a time when the Army said, ‘If you’re
married, you can’t join. If you get married while in the Army, you
can’t re-enlist’," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren to
the AFAP delegates made up of Soldiers, family members, Wounded
Warriors, retirees and delegates representing Army Families.
all-volunteer force required us to think very differently about many
aspects of the Army and certainly family support," Geren said.
the first AFAP symposium, the attendees identified 65 issues.
the past 25 years, AFAP has dealt with a total of 633 issues.
work groups deliberated on issues under the headings of Benefits and
Entitlements, Facilities and Housing, Employment, Force Support,
Family Support, and Medical and Dental.
Family Support, Medical and Dental work groups were divided into two
work groups each because of the volume of issues they were discussing.
than 90 percent of AFAP issues are resolved at the local level, with
more than 61 percent of the active issues impacting all sister
1983, AFAP has resulted in 107 changes to national legislation, 154
revised Department of Defense or Army regulations and policies, and
173 improvements to programs and services.
according to Tricia Brooks, the Headquarters Department of the Army
AFAP Issue Manager, there are 435 issues completed, with 118
unattainable, 75 still active, and five issues combined.
trust and support AFAP because the members provide real-time
information that enables commanders to respond more rapidly to resolve
problems, implement good ideas and guide policy formation," said
average length to resolve an issue is three years," Brooks said.
"Last week, eight workshops discussed 64 new issues and two were
picked at each workshop after deliberation. This means 16 new issues
will enter into the Department of Army AFAP process and will be
assigned to members of Army staff, who will develop an Action Plan and
ultimately resolve the issue."
top five are just a subsection of the 16 that were brought into the
AFAP by delegate prioritization," said Brooks. "They are
just like the other 11 entered into AFAP, the only difference is that
the top five will be on the June 2009 AFAP GOSC (General Officer
Steering Committee) agenda to identify the actions and plans to
Jan. 27, the General Officer Steering Committee (GOSC) took 23 of the
75 active issues (GOSC meets two times a year with 25 of the issues
reviewed each time) to decide the status for each issue: Completed,
Unattainable, or Active.
at the meeting included senior officials from the Department of
Defense, Department of the Army, and representatives from Army Staff
and Army commands.
GOSC closed nine (seven were completed and two were unattainable) and
concurred with entering two OCONUS issues into the AFAP.
the conclusion of the conference Jan. 30, the Army’s Vice Chief of
Staff posted a summary of the meeting at Army OneSource, on the AFAP
the conference opening session, Geren thanked the delegates for "…bringing
these issues up as you have over the last 25 years (and) making sure
your voices are heard. I thank you for making the greatest
contribution to the cause of freedom. Our nation owes you a great
debt," Geren said.
Army of today doesn’t look like the Army of 1973 in so many ways.
You have helped to make the Army work for families."
more information about how to participate in the AFAP process in the
Fort McCoy community, call the AFAP program manager at
Installation personnel attend Armywide AFAP Conference)
Top 5 issues chosen at AFAP Conference)