Addendum H: Soldier and Family Action Paper
"The Army Family, with more than two million Soldiers, spouses and children, is shouldering the load for 300 million Americans. The health of the All-Volunteer Force depends on "the health of the Army Family."
- Honorable Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army
The Soldier-Family Action (SFAP) is the roadmap by which the Army will fulfill it’s commitment to Soldiers and Families. It reaffirms the Army’s commitment to Families and builds on recent investments in people, programs and infrastructure. The SFAP addresses the requirements needed to enhance existing services to support Soldiers and Families and details approximately 112 tasks, along with supporting actions and milestones, to improve support to Soldiers and their Families.
SFAP will improve Soldier and Family readiness through the following actions:
- Standardize and fund existing Family programs and services
- Increase accessibility and quality of health care
- Improve Soldier and Family housing
- Ensure excellence in schools, youth services, and child care
- Expand education and employment opportunities for Family members
- Improve Soldier quality of life
- Provide Soldiers and Families a supportive environment where they can live and thrive
Funding for SFAP
The Army leadership made a down payment by transferring $100 Million into existing Family Programs in FY 07. These funds are being used to hire family readiness group assistants, expand availability of child care and reduce cost, provide additional respite care for Families with special needs, and enhance morale and recreation programs across the Army.
The FY 08 funding of Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Command (FMWRC) programs total $1.4 Billion, of which $739 Million is being requested through supplemental funding. Funding supports four major programs - Army Community Service (ACS), Child Care Services, Youth Services, and Soldier and MWR Services.
Army Community Service provides a full range of essential services to Soldiers and their families to ensure Family preparedness. These services help Families respond to transitions, separations and deployments and alleviate the everyday stressors associated with military life. Services include Family readiness group training, financial readiness, Family advocacy, exceptional family member program, and employment readiness.
Child and Youth Services (CYS) programs are a vital workforce issue that supports the readiness and well-being of Army Families by reducing the conflict between the military mission and parental responsibilities. About 54.7 percent of the Army is married (8.7 percent being dual military) and an additional 6.5 percent being single parent families. The Army uses a CYS delivery system of facility-based, home based, and outreach services to eligible children and youth. Army CYS programs are operated at 124 on-post locations and eight countries/territories. There are Army affiliated and Army sponsored CYS programs in all 50 States. The Army Chief of Staff (CSA) approved CYS “acceleration plan” to meet 80 percent of demand for child care spaces (up 2 from current 65 percent of demand) and 35 percent of youth participation demand (up from current 15 percent of demand) by the end of FY09.
Soldier and MWR Services include libraries, sports and fitness, arts and crafts, recreation centers, bowling, and entertainment. These services enhance quality of life for our Soldiers, Civilians and Families by providing readily accessible education, recreation, and leisure programs for their use.
Army Lead for SFAP
The Army Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ACSIM) is the Army’s lead for the SFAP. The ACSIM has established an Integrated Process Team (IPT) under leadership of the Director of Installation Services. Members of the IPT have been drawn from across the Army Staff and Secretariat as well as from the Army Reserve, Army National Guard, Installation Management Command, and the Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Command
The SFAP IPT conducts staff assessments and develops action plans which will:
- Provide needed support to Soldiers, Civilians, and Families throughout the operational cycle which mitigate the effects of persistent conflict to improve Soldier and Family readiness
- Provide necessary support services to equip and empower Families of an expeditionary Army at war in order to improve Soldier and Family quality of life.
- Create and/or adapt processes, programs, policies, procedures and activities to provide a strong, supportive environment where Army Families thrive.
- Create and/or adapt processes, programs, policies, procedures and activities to enhance the self-sufficiency of Families in an expeditionary Army at war.
The Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff, Army have established a regular senior review process so they can personally provide strategic direction to guide adjustments in the SFAP and other Soldier and Family readiness areas, to include installation readiness. The Army will monitor and update the SFAP on a regular basis, track implementation, and publish the progress.
The Army Family Covenant, which represents the Army's commitment to providing Soldiers and Families a quality of life commensurate with their voluntary service and daily sacrifices, goes hand-in-hand with the SFAP. The Army Family Covenant, signed by the Secretary the Army; Chief of Staff, Army; Sergeant Major of the Army; and senior leaders at installations across the Army; recognizes the strength and commitment of Soldiers and their Families, and serves to establish a lasting partnership with Army Families. We will make the Army Family Covenant a reality, by focusing on the five deliverables: Family programs and services, health care, Soldier and Family housing, excellent schools, youth services and child care, and expanded employment and education opportunities for Family members.
We will monitor the SFAP regularly to track its implementation, update it as required, and publicize progress achieved so Soldiers and Family members see the Army’s commitment to fulfilling the Army Covenant.