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Addendum H - Soldier Family Action Plan

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“We owe our Families a quality of life equal to their extraordinary service, and that target will forever move. Over the years ahead, our leaders—officers, NCOs, and Civilians—must ensure that these covenants remain living documents, responding to the demands of an unpredictable future, the needs of an expeditionary Army, and the ever dynamic needs of Army Families.”

Honorable Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army
2008 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting

Seven years of continuous deployments have strained our Soldiers and their Families. Since 2001, more than one million Soldiers have deployed. Approximately 66 percent of the Army’s Active Component, 45 percent of the Army National Guard, and 42 percent of the Army Reserve wear a combat patch today which they earned since September 11, 2001. The Army is committed to providing our Soldiers and their Families a quality of life that matches their quality of service.

The Army Family Covenant

In October 2007, Army leadership unveiled the Army Family Covenant. The Covenant communicates the Army's commitment to provide the Army Family with a quality of life that honors the sacrifices our Soldiers and their Families make to protect America's freedom.

The Army Family Covenant is committed to improving Soldier and Family readiness by:

  • Standardizing and funding existing Family programs and services
  • Increasing accessibility and quality of health care
  • Improving Soldier and Family housing
  • Ensuring excellence in schools, youth services, and child care
  • Expanding education and employment opportunities for Family members
    Improving Soldier quality of life
  • Providing Soldiers and their Families a supportive environment where they can live and thrive

Through initial and renewed Army Family Covenant signings, we have reaffirmed the Army’s commitment to our Families and continue to build on investments in people, programs, and infrastructure. The Army Family Covenant represents the Army's commitment to providing Soldiers, single and married, and Army Families a quality of life commensurate with their voluntary service and daily sacrifices. The Army Family Covenant, signed by the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the 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.

To date, more than 80 signings of the Army Family Covenant have taken place in Army communities worldwide. As the leadership changes, incoming leaders will demonstrate their personal and continuing commitment through new Covenant signings. We will continue to make the Army Family Covenant a reality by focusing on the deliverables: Family programs and services, health care, Soldier and Family housing, excellent schools, youth services, child care, expanded employment, and education opportunities for Family members.

Army Community Covenant

The Army Community Covenant, a supporting initiative of the Army Family Covenant, is designed to develop and foster effective state and community partnerships with the Army to recognize the sacrifice Soldiers and their Families make every day. The Community Covenant is tailored at the local level with leaders at both local and state levels participating in covenant signings. In 2008, the Army participated in 86 signing ceremonies in state houses, town halls, community centers, and baseball diamonds across the country. In 2009, the Army is reaching out to smaller towns and cities, away from Army installations, to encourage them to participate in a Covenant signing. As April, 53 ceremonies are planned and 40+ more are in various planning stages.

The Army Community Covenant is intended to build community awareness among employers, educators, and civic and business leaders to support the strength, resilience, and combat readiness of Soldiers and their Families and to profile the incredible support already occurring across America through the efforts of citizens in support of Soldiers and their Families. The Army Community Covenant web site highlights some of the best local, state, and national community initiatives.

Soldier and Family Action Plan

The Army Family Covenant goes hand-in-hand with the Soldier and Family Action Plan (SFAP). The SFAP uses elements of the Army Family Covenant as a roadmap by which the Army is fulfilling its commitment to Soldiers and their Families. The SFAP addresses the requirements needed to enhance existing services to support Soldiers and their Families and details approximately 133 tasks, along with supporting actions and milestones, to improve support to single and married Soldiers in all components, their Families, extended Families, Survivors, Army Civilians, and Retirees.

Army Lead for SFAP

The Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ACSIM) is the Army’s lead for the SFAP. The ACSIM established an Integrated Process Team (IPT) under the leadership of the Director of Installation Services. Members of the IPT are 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:

  • Provide needed support to Soldiers, their Families, and Army Civilians throughout the operational cycle to improve Soldier and Family readiness
  • Provide necessary support services to equip and empower Families in order to improve Soldier and Family quality of life
  • Create and adapt processes, programs, policies, procedures, and activities to provide a strong, supportive environment where Army Families can thrive
  • Improve processes and programs to enhance the self-sufficiency of Families sacrificing in an Army at war

The Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the 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 has monitored and updated the SFAP through eight such reviews. We will continue to track implementation, publish the progress, and improve the SFAP in order to provide our Soldiers and their Families the quality of life they deserve.

Soldier and Family Action Plan Funding

The Army leadership transferred $100 Million into existing Family programs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007. These funds were used to hire more than 1,000 Family Readiness Support Assistants. We reduced the cost of child care and expanded its availability, provided additional respite care for Families with special needs, and enhanced morale and recreation programs across the Army.

The FY08 funding of Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (FMWR) programs totaled $1.4 Billion, of which $739 Million was received through supplemental funding. Funding supports major programs—Army Community Service; Child, Youth, and School (CYS) Services; and Soldier and MWR Services. Supplemental funding for FY09 and FY10 will be significantly reduced with the movement of funding in FY09 and FY10 to the base. The increase to base funding will sustain funding for the FMWR programs in the out years.

Army OneSource

Army OneSource (AOS) was developed and launched in 2008. It establishes a comprehensive multi-component approach for community support and services for Active, Guard, and Reserve Soldiers, Families, and Employers throughout the entire deployment cycle. AOS offers alternate delivery options—web based, personal, or telephone consultation to meet the diverse needs of Soldiers and Families regardless of where they reside. The AOS uses the branding of the Office of Secretary of Defense Military OneSource to enhance its 24/7 telephone and counseling capability.

Army Community Services

Army Community Service (ACS) 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, the Exceptional Family Member Program, and employment readiness. In FY08 an additional 477 community service staff positions were created to meet operational demands.

Survivor Outreach Services

On May 7, 2008, the SFAP Senior Review Group approved the formation of Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) to provide support services to survivors of Soldiers who have fallen in combat during any conflict, as well as support to the survivors of all Soldiers who have died while on duty. The SOS provides a holistic multi-agency and multi-component approach to casualty operations and decentralizes programs and services to installations and communities close to where Families reside. The SOS provides support to the local Casualty Assistance Officer to ensure Active, Guard and Reserve Families receive the most current information on benefits, entitlements, and access to long-term financial and emotional support. Additionally, Survivor Outreach Service Support Coordinators plan meetings/networking events for survivors to ensure they have a strong support group.

Warrior Care

The Army is fully committed to caring for wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers (active Army, Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve) and their families through the Warrior Care and Transition Program (WCTP), which provides patient-centered health care, Soldier and Family Assistance Centers, and improved Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) facilities. The Warrior Care and Transition Program is the Army’s comprehensive approach to transforming the care and management of wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and their Families, from both the Reserve and Active Components. The Army, in conjunction with the Department of Defense and Congress, continues to improve living facilities for Warriors in Transition. To date, nearly $500 Million has been allocated to improve barracks access and quality. The Army continues to work with Defense Department leadership and Congress to fund military construction projects including the development of Warrior Transition complexes that will serve both Warriors in Transition and their families. During the past 22 months, the Army has replaced legacy Medical Hold Units with 36 Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) and nine community-based WTUs. These stand-alone units provide dedicated command and control, support, and hands-on care for more than 10,000 wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers who require comprehensive care management as they recover. Co-located on WTU campuses are Soldier and Family Assistance Centers (SFAC), which provide tailored, integrated support services and information, including transition and employment assistance, government entitlements and benefits assistance, education services, legal and financial assistance, pastoral care, and child care. These services equip and aid Wounded Warriors and their Families in making life changing decisions as they transition back to duty or to a new life outside the military.

We enhanced care for Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by providing chain teaching to more than 900,000 Soldiers. We also conducted neurocognitive testing on more than 600,000 Soldiers prior to deployment.

Child, Youth, and School (CYS) Services

Child, Youth, and School (CYS) Services fulfill 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 dual military) and an additional 6.5 percent are 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 in eight countries/territories. Army-affiliated and Army-sponsored CYS programs exist in all 50 States. The Army Chief of Staff approved a CYS “acceleration plan” to meet 80 percent of demand for child care spaces (up from the current 65 percent of demand) and 35 percent of youth participation demand (up from the current 15 percent of demand) by the end of FY09. As a result, we began construction on 72 Child Development Centers (CDC) and 18 Youth Centers in FY08, with an additional 29 CDCs programmed between FY09-14. We are rapidly expanding Army-sponsored off post services (e.g., Army Child Care in Your Neighborhood, Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, Operation: Military Kids) to reach geographically dispersed Army Families where they reside throughout the 50 states. In addition, we are increasing our focus on school support services (reflected in the addition of the term “school” in Army Child, Youth, & School Services). We intend to be a driving force for student success by helping military Families and school personnel “level the playing field” for military students impacted by the stresses of deployment and troop movements as the Army transforms to an expeditionary force.

Education, Careers, and Libraries

The Army is committed to improving Family readiness by expanding education and employment opportunities for Family members. Thirty-five states now provide in-state tuition rates to military Families and continue this benefit after the military sponsor leaves the state. In addition, the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor partnered to launch the Military Spouse Career Advancement initiative which provides spouses up to $3,000 annually for education, training, certification, and licensing. The Army Spouse Employment Program (ASEP) partners with Fortune 500 companies and government agencies to provide employment opportunities for military spouses. To date, the ASEP has placed 42,000 spouses in available positions.

Soldier and MWR Services

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, their Families, and Army Civilians by providing readily accessible fitness, recreation, and leisure programs.

Soldier and Family Housing

In further support of the Army Family Covenant, we are improving on-post Family and unaccompanied housing and expanding Housing services to aid Soldiers in securing adequate and affordable off post local community housing.

  • Through our housing Residential Communities Initiative (RCI), we privatized 1,674 homes in FY 08 and will privatize another 5,249 homes in FY09. By FY 11 we will have privatized 90,272 homes, 98 percent of the Army’s U.S. inventory. We are on the glide-path to completing our privatization plan by March 2010 as the 45th and last installation Fort Richardson is scheduled for privatization. We also have ongoing feasibility studies for potential privatization of Family housing at smaller installations in the United States.
  • Five on-post apartment RCI projects are underway for single senior Soldiers (SSG and above) at Forts Irwin, Drum, Bragg, Stewart, and Bliss. A total of 1,396 one and two-bedroom apartments will be provided at end state.
  • For locations where privatization is not feasible, we have expanded our housing services for Soldiers living off the installation, funded plans to modernize our existing Family housing inventory, will address Family housing that is beyond the useful life with replacement construction, and are utilizing our domestic and foreign leasing programs where needed. In FY 08 we leased 11,683 homes in the U.S. and in foreign locations, and in FY 09 the Army will lease 9,119 homes. We will also continue to use the housing leasing program to address increases in troop strength at gaining installations. In FY09, our Family housing construction program contributed more than $400 Million for construction of additional homes required due to the Grow the Army initiative and initial scoring for the transfer from government-owned to privatized housing. Additionally, $403 Million has been authorized ($371 Million appropriated) to renovate, replace and construct 639 homes overseas.
  • We have improved Soldier barracks Army-wide to eliminate common area latrines in permanent party barracks through the Barracks Modernization Program. The goal is to eliminate inadequate barracks for permanent party barracks by FY13 with full beneficial occupancy by FY15. The Army and Congress have funded $9.4 Billion for permanent party enlisted barracks through FY07 and funded an additional $2.2 Billion in FY08. Additionally, the Army’s Training Barracks Modernization Program funded $1.37 Billion in FY07 and $959 Million in FY08 to improve our training barracks for Active, Guard and Reserve Soldiers. Elimination of inadequate training barracks will be funded for completion in FY15 with beneficial occupancy in FY17.

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