FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz -- Last month, delegates from across the Army met for the 2010 Army Family Action Plan conference, and voted on the top five issues Army senior leaders will discuss at June's General Officer Steering Committee meeting. Some of the conference issues were previously discussed during Fort Huachuca's October AFAP conference.

The local conference was designed to allow delegates from the fort's community to review 43 Army-wide issues, prioritize the critical ones, and develop recommendations to address the issues.

Delegates chose eight local items that were presented at January's conference.

When an issue arises it is passed to headquarters, and a subject matter expert will research the feasibility, cost, trend analysis, the number of people it will affect, and report that information back to the Army Chief of Staff, explains Adoratia Purdy, AFAP/Army Family Team Building program manager.

"From there they [headquarters personnel] will decide if the issue can be resolved and how they would need to change policies," she says, noting that issues depend on the Army's needs, how many people it affects, and its priority.

"Out of all nine of our issues, a version of two of them are being looked at, at the GOSC [General Officer Steering Committee] level," Purdy adds.

The first local issue, Identification of the Exceptional Family Member Program candidates during recruitment process, is similar to the national issue, EFMP Enrollment Eligibility for Reserve component Soldiers.

"We're still waiting to see what the outcome will be for this one because it will authorize Reserve Soldiers' enrollment in the EFMP," Purdy says.

Currently, a Reservist cannot use EFMP services unless they're on active duty. The second issue that arose from the local October conference is that of Army and Air Force Exchange Service controlling Family Readiness Group fundraising on post.

"This issue might be addressed in one of the top six issues prioritized at the headquarters Department of the Army, Family Readiness Groups external fundraising restrictions," Purdy says, explaining that FRGs want to fundraise off post.

"We'll see what comes out of this [because] it might answer this problem we see exist as well, because it's pretty much the same thing."

Some issues were worked and resolved at the conference, such as complete dental care for dependents and beneficiaries.

It was not prioritized in the top six, but it will come back to Fort Huachuca personnel with a disposition sheet explaining why the delegates didn't prioritize it. Purdy says the reason is the Army only requires Soldiers have healthy, pain-free, functional teeth.

Even though not all issues from the October conference made last month's priority list, Fort Huachuca personnel are working on resolving these issues at the local level, Purdy says.

For instance, the changes to the visitation policy in the barracks issue reviewed in October suggests for Army personnel to clearly define the regulation by explaining why Soldiers can't have an overnight guest, and who's considered an overnight guest.

The regulation, AR420-1, Army Facilities Management Regulation, states there are no 24-hour guests allowed in barracks. Fort Huachuca's single Soldiers requested to allow significant others to stay overnight in the barracks.

In October, subject matter experts explained the barracks are the places where the Soldiers live; it isn't there for social activities.

"It comes back to what is the purpose of the barracks and having those living arrangements," Purdy notes. Other issues already had resolutions, such as United States Army working with unethical businesses.

"This was kicked back because after talking with the subject matter experts, the delegates realized that the contract system currently already has a suspended list of contractors," Purdy explains.

"The concern was, why doesn't everybody know about it. It comes down to that it doesn't need to be put on a public scale that way, and the parties doing the contracts and approving authorities know it."

Purdy says although it was an issue that was technically resolved, "we still give the delegates the right to brief it out to the commander because sometimes it can spin into different directions."

The dependent residency issue, which is if a married couple from Illinois is stationed in Arizona the spouse is able to keep the prior residency. The Military Spouse Relief Act, signed in November, provides resolution for this issue.

Other issues are still being scrutinized locally, such as the issue of Family support requirements. According to Regulation AR6-99, a spouse, living in government quarters, is not entitled to more money than provided through the Basic Allowance for Housing, and company commanders cannot instruct the Soldier to provide additional money to their spouse. Purdy says this issue emerged because Army Community Service personnel often deal with Soldier's spouses who can't buy food, pay for gas, or transportation to get to work.

"The issue is to help the Soldier support their spouse so they're not requesting food vouchers because the Soldier is not giving extra money," Purdy explained.

"We see quite a few spouses here who are struggling to support their children and themselves for basic things, such as food and hygiene items."

Following the headquarters conference, Purdy will receive the disposition papers and start setting up this coming October's conference.

In July she'll begin spreading the word about submitting issues, but says issues can be submitted year-round.

"These issues help determine the priority of issues and if they are obtainable," she says, explaining, "the Army is trying to standardize with common levels of support, meaning what goes for ACS here is the same quality of service and standards across the board."

Page last updated Mon February 22nd, 2010 at 11:15