The process of listening
December 6, 2013
WASHINGTON (Dec. 4, 2013) - - Listening to the concerns of military members and their families and taking action to assist with those concerns was a process described in detail during the Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region and the U.S. Military District of Washington's Family Readiness Executive Board meeting at Fort Lesley J. McNair.
The meeting was hosted by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, JFHQ-NCR/MDW commanding general, with information presented by Christina Vine, who oversees the Headquarters Department of the Army's Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) program and representatives of the National Military Family Association.
AFAP is an Army-wide program that allows all members of the Army (Active Duty, Reserve Components, and National Guard) retired military, family members and civilian employees to identify issues of concern that impact the well being of the entire Army Family. Through this process, issues requiring actions are prioritized, assigned to a lead agency for resolution, and an action plan is established to achieve desired change.
Some examples of AFAP successes are creation of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) Program, establishing School Liaison Officers and the Interstate Compact for military children.
"The Average military child moves six to nine times and may attend two or even three high schools," said Eileen Huck, Deputy Director of the National Military Family Association. "Problems associated with transitioning from school to school are common. The Compact is designed to resolve those problems. It is an agreement among states to smooth transition issues for military children as they move between school districts."
So far 46 states and D.C. have adopted the program and more than 95% of military children are now covered by the Compact. The focus of the Army now has shifted to ensuring that school districts and families are aware of the Compact, and how it functions. The National Military Family Association is a non-profit organization focusing on issues important to military families.
"The AFAP process operates on three levels: Installation level, Forces Command level and Department of the Army level," said Vine. "Since AFAP was created in 1983, 692 issues have entered the AFAP process resulting in 128 pieces of legislation, 184 Department of Defense or Army policy changes and 208 improved programs or services/funding."