[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                        April 24, 2009

FORSCOM Army Family Action Plan Conference reveals top 5 issues

FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. (U.S. Army Forces Command Public Affairs) ó With 25 years of experience, the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) program has good reason to boast ó itís making real changes happen.

Celebrating a quarter century of supporting Army Families, U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) held its annual AFAP conference in Atlanta in late March. The result was an announcement of the top five voted-on issues for 2009.

Warriors in transition primary care managers, Permanent Change of Station or temporary duty for training courses, barracks security, surviving spouses TRICARE benefits and urgent care services were the top five topics chosen to be pushed forward for resolution.

The AFAP, created to help Army leaders address the needs and concerns of the total Army Family, has led to changes in Army programs and services, policy and legislature.

Among the programs that have been amended through the AFAP in the past are an increase in the Servicemembersí Group Life Insurance from $50,000 to $200,000, military participation in the Federal Thrift Savings Plan, Department of Defense Reserve Component Family member ID cards, elimination of TRICARE Prime co-payments, TRICARE For Life for seniors over 65, allowing Soldiers to request tour stabilization if they have a graduating high school senior and wounded Soldier updates.

"I get very excited when I get to work with the Army Family Action Plan, because I know we get a chance to make a difference."

Brig. Gen. Eric Porter,
FORSCOM Deputy Chief of Staff
Personnel, Installation Management

"Itís not just the servicemember that serves, it is every single person attached to the Army Family," said Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Peterson, FORSCOM deputy commander, at the conferenceís opening ceremony. "We truly understand the critical contributions that Army Families make to our country."

About 70 representatives from 23 FORSCOM installations attended the conference and collaborated to identify common issues. As the AFAP Web site explains, the program is a process that lets Soldiers and their families say whatís working, what isnít and what they think will resolve it.

Approximately 90 percent of AFAP issues are resolved at a local level; those that arenít are sent on to be discussed in mid-level conferences, such as the FORSCOM AFAP conference. Issues that cannot be decided by mid-level commands are sent on to the annual Department of the Army conference, According to the Web site, over the past 25 years, 633 issues have been identified through AFAP, 107 legislative changes have been passed, and 154 Army policy and regulatory changes have taken place.

"I get very excited when I get to work with the Army Family Action Plan, because I know we get a chance to make a difference," said Brig. Gen. Eric Porter at the conference. Porter is the FORSCOM deputy chief of staff for personnel and installation management.

A representative from FORSCOMís human resources department explained that all ó not just the top five ó issues discussed at this yearsí conference will be presented to the FORSCOM commanding general, Gen. Charles C. Campbell.

The representative also explained that having delegates from throughout the U.S. helps commanders and families realize that some problems are nationwide.

 (See related story)


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