AFAP GOSC resolves 24 of 40 issues
|I have always said you can either read history or make
it. Many in our work force have made important history by asking the
three fundamental questions: Are we doing the right things? Are we doing
things right? What are we missing?
These questions compelled the work force to provide valuable feedback
that helps us sustain the Army Family Covenant. Because of your voice
and the Army’s commitment to taking care of Soldiers, Civilians and
Families, you have added to the 27-year history of Army Family Action
Plan (AFAP) quality-of-life (QOL) improvements, enabling us to do the
right things the right way, and fix things that were missing.
One of the greatest achievements of the recent AFAP General Officer
Steering Committee (GOSC) is resolving 27 of 40 QOL 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 the
Soldiers and Civilians who support our nation, and the Families who
The AFAP is a year-round process that begins at the installation or unit
level and is the pre-eminent means for commanders at all levels to learn
of and seek solutions for the concerns of their communities. Currently,
the Army is the only service with a program like AFAP.
Because of your voice, the Army is able to dedicate child and youth
spaces to accommodate our special-needs children at Child, Youth &
School Services facilities. Garrison commanders now have the authority
to designate areas within their community for immediate special-needs
child care. This resolution supports Soldier and Family well-being.
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 OneSource. This is a significant approach to reaching
out to Families.
Information about Army Family programs, health-care benefits, education,
and recreation is available online at
and is easily accessible by Soldiers and Families regardless of
geographic location. This one-stop shop for Army information is
available for members of the active and reserve components.
We are ensuring excellence in schools through an online, one-on-one
tutoring service for Army-affiliated students. Family members in grades
K-12 can receive live online assistance with math, science, language,
and introductory-level college courses. This worldwide service is
available 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week at
Providing additional support to surviving Families with enhanced
survivor Family dental benefits also was attained. Surviving children
now can 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. Family Child Care
homes provide the same services at the remaining installations.
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.
Above all, the AFAP continues to turn possibilities into realities.
Since the first AFAP conference in 1983, we have established standards
for child care, increased single-Soldier programs, granted paternity
leave for new military fathers, and expanded educational benefits for
This grass-roots process identifies and elevates the most-significant
QOL issues that affect Soldiers, Retirees, Civilians, and Families.
Information provided through the AFAP process gives commanders and
leaders insight into current satisfaction detractors, QOL needs, and
expectations of the Army Community. Leaders use the information to
effect changes that improve standards of living and support programs.
These changes foster a satisfied, informed, and resilient Army
We are entering a new era in AFAP. 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. To that end, I will be meeting with the Army staff
proponents each month to analyze eight to 10 issues. I want to include
the entire Army Family in this process by keeping them informed of the
progress of each issue. As such, I invite you to visit Army OneSource,
and select the Family Programs and Services menu to activate the AFAP
Active Issue Search feature. Here, you can enter keywords to find
related active issues, or insert an issue number to see a specific
issue. You also may search by subject area, demographic group or
geographic area to see what we are doing to improve QOL for those we
serve. I also will keep you informed by publishing monthly updates and
postings to my Facebook page.
I encourage you to continue asking these three fundamental questions
about our programs and services: Are we doing the right things? Are we
doing things right? What are we missing?
If you answer “no” to the first two questions or you think we are
missing something, get involved and become part of the solution for
improving the Army’s home — your home. Reading history is educational,
but getting involved and making important history is an exceptional way
of providing exceptional support to the Soldiers, Civilians, and
Families in our home.