Fort Bragg AFAP meets to address concerns, offer solutions
October 28, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The goal of the Army Family Action Plan is to improve the quality of life for Soldiers, their Families, retirees, surviving spouses and Department of the Army civilians.
In keeping with this goal, Fort Bragg held an AFAP outbrief, Thursday, at the Fort Bragg Club, in which leaders listened to issues and likely solutions from various Army-associated work groups.
On Fort Bragg, once concerns have been presented to leadership, helmed by Col. Stephen Sicinski, Fort Bragg Garrison commander, those concerns may be reviewed and resolved locally or sent forward for consideration by the Headquarters Department of Army.
Issues raised during the outbrief included:
Benefits and entitlements
Raising Child, Youth and School Services awareness
Employment consideration for military retirees
Flexible work environments for surviving spouses
The benefits and entitlement work group pressed for continued coverage under the My Career Advancement Account, which severs coverage once a Soldier is promoted above a qualifying rank. The program, which offers military spouses opportunities to pursue portable careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations such as education and health care, is open to spouses of those in pay grades private to sergeant, warrant officers 1 and 2 and second and first lieutenants.
The eligibility criteria is not clearly stated during the enrollment process.
"I don't believe this was the intent of this program," said Heather Majuri, an AFAP spokesperson.
Majuri's work group recommended that three years are allowed for completion of the program regardless of the servicemember's career progression once a qualified spouse is accepted and enrolled.
"This is clearly something that we need to attempt to change," Sicinski said. "I am more than happy to endorse this one and give it to the senior command."
Raising CYSS awareness could be accomplished by increasing marketing initiative, implementing a quarterly orientation and using Facebook and Twitter to promote new services, programs and opportunities, said Amanda Johnson, also an AFAP spokesperson.
While Executive Order 13473 authorizes employment for spouses of certain members of the armed forces, it does not include the spouses of retirees. During the outbrief, it was one of the issues that the benefits and entitlements work group would like to see resolved. Their solution -- allow the same employment preference as military spouses.
Sicinski said the policy needs some type of change and plans to send it forward.
Other issues addressed include: increasing dental cap coverage for orthodontic care under TRICARE from $1500 to be more in line with the national average, which is in excess of $5000; making adjustments for a continuation of orthodontic care following a permanent change of station move by publishing a list of local, private orthodontic providers who will continue current patient treatment without additional cost or partnering with a national franchise such as 4braces.com.
Also addressed was improving surviving spouse employment options by working with employers to create more flexible employment opportunities.
For more information about the program, contact Kari Gonzalez, AFAP program manager at 396-4447.