Delegates raise issues at AFAP Conference
December 3, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - Providing parcel pick-up lockers at the Postal Service Center, a water fountain at the Wiesbaden Library and better informing all community members about local sexual assault incidents were among a host of issues raised at Wiesbaden's Army Family Action Plan Conference Nov. 18-19.
"This is a great effort every year," said Dr. Robert Kandler, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden deputy commander, in welcoming delegates to this year's conference held at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center. "Every year something has come out of this" -- whether at the local level or being raised up to the Department of the Army for consideration.
"Here in Wiesbaden AFAP has changed dramatically in the five years that I've been here," said Army Community Service's Annikka Trabucco, Wiesbaden Outreach and AFAP coordinator. With the increase of regular submissions through the Interactive Customer Evaluation system, or ICE (more than 14,000 in fiscal year 2013), which are responded to throughout the year, Trabucco said, there have been fewer issues raised through AFAP which only meets once a year locally.
Trabucco attributed a very customer-oriented ICE system in Wiesbaden, which isn't always the case in every garrison, she said. "You can see the difference at the AFAP conferences where ICE isn't working."
Where AFAP issues raised at the local level deemed worthy of further consideration can't be solved locally, they are elevated to the Installation Management Command-Europe/U.S. Army Europe level where they are considered, along with those from garrisons throughout Europe, before being passed up to the Army level if higher-level attention is deemed appropriate. "If it's an issue that's larger than the local area it will be elevated up," she said. "Ninety to 95 percent of the issues in the past were taken care of locally. But that's starting to change since the implementation of ICE."
In AFAP's 30-year history, 692 issues have been raised to the DA level, with 128 of them resulting in legislative changes, Trabucco said, adding, "The issues are continually looked at throughout the year."
Among past issues raised through the annual Wiesbaden AFAP Conference is one allowing survivors to use Space Available travel -- addressed at the 2010 conference. Although not yet resolved because it concerns families in all of the services, the issue has made its way up to the Department of Defense level and is being taken extremely seriously, Trabucco said.
At this year's conference in Wiesbaden, delegates spent two days raising, researching and considering a host of quality-of-life issues impacting service members, family members and civilians. Leaders of the two focus groups described the following final issues at the conference out-brief:
-- Post Office Parcel Pick-up and Finance Services Availability;
-- Smoking Outside Stairwell Housing;
-- No Drinking Water in the Library;
-- Lack of Medical Care Providers for Non-Tricare Prime Members Outside the Continental United States;
Lack of Medical Care Providers in U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden;
-- USAG Wiesbaden Personnel's Awareness of Sexual Assault Incidents.
The issues now move to the garrison commander to be considered and addressed locally or passed up to the IMCOM-E/USAREUR level to be further addressed by a focus group.
"Your input on this is very important," said Dr. Robert Schloesser, director of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, in thanking the volunteers who participated in this year's conference. "Thank you all for being here -- these were great report-outs and cooperation within the groups."