ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The 2013 Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) symposium brought out a variety of military and civilian members of Team APG who were ready to tackle new and old issues affecting the installation.

Participants included group facilitators, work group volunteers and subject matter experts, as well as Garrison directors and designated points of contact on hand to answer inquiries.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) and Army Community Service (ACS) hosted the event Dec. 4-5, 2013.

The AFAP is one of the Army?'s principal programs to ensure that standards of living in the Army keep pace with changing times. It gives Soldiers, Families, retirees and civilian employees the opportunity to influence their own standards of living at the local as well as at the Department of the Army level.

The AFAP is a year-round process. Issues can be submitted online at www.myarmyonesource.com in the ?"Family Programs and Services" drop-down menu section under ?"Army Family Action Plan Issue Management System;" on the ACS website at www.apgmwr/community/acs.html.

During the opening program, APG Garrison Commander Col. Gregory R. McClinton welcomed attendees and thanked them for their time. ?"AFAP plays a critical role in the services delivered to Soldiers, Family members, civilians and retirees across the Army," he said.

McClinton said issues raised at AFAP conferences across the Army are consolidated and presented to Army leadership, which uses this information to request funding from Congress.

?"Things that you will talk about today will make a difference," McClinton said ?"Specific issues that you come up with today may be briefed to your congressman later this year."

During the Dec. 5 closeout led by ACS Director Janice Downey, McClinton and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin were briefed by group leaders. McClinton and Ervin listen carefully, offered clarifying information when needed and occasionally interjected their own recommendations.

McClinton cautioned that many perceived shortfalls were due to lack of funding, and that ?"no one knows what 2014 will bring." He encouraged those new to the process to continue to work together, regardless of budget constraints, to help keep APG an exemplary place to work and live.

?"This is a great opportunity for you to be heard by the Garrison staff, and we?'d like for you to continue to let your voices be heard through the Community Voice Committee (CVC), which meets on a recurring basis," he said. ?"Find out who your representatives are because they bring a lot to the table."

Ervin thanked the participants and praised them for their efforts.

?"You answered an open invitation to attend and help us tackle tough issues we?'re facing in a constrained environment," he said. Adding that APG?'s unique dynamics make it ?"an installation with two locations," he said Team APG members should remember that ?"we all are one."

?"Let?'s continue to get together and see how we can make things better," he said. ?"As long as we keep that perspective, we?'ll remain one Family."

Stimulating Ideas
The following are the 2013 AFAP work group topics and recommendations:
Work Group: Community Services
Topic 1: KUSAHC sick call services
Topic 2: Installation access
Topic 3: Traffic signals

APG North Sick Call Services
Scope: Currently, there are no APG North sick call services available. APG South has sick call services from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. For non-emergent medical services, the APG North Soldier is advised to make a scheduled appointment. Mission and Soldier readiness is impacted because Soldiers are receiving delayed medical care and reporting to work sick or injured.
Provide sick call services at APG North to Soldiers equally -- 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., Monday through Friday -- regardless of their living or working at APG North and South
Authorize APG North Soldiers access to APG South sick call
Work Group Recommendation: Resolve at APG

APG Installation Access
Scope: There is a perception of inconsistency of proper identification checks at installation access points. It is perceived the volume of traffic and task repetition contributes to inconsistency and complacency, resulting in force protection concerns for the APG community.
Educate APG community members on physical security processes and procedures at installation access points.
Implement the Automated Installation Entry (AIE) system to assist officers in decreasing manual ID checks.
Increase manned installation access points to decrease concentrated traffic volume.
Work Group Recommendation: Resolve at APG.
Traffic Signals
Scope: There is an imbalance of traffic signal timing at the following intersections: (1) Maryland and Harford boulevards and (2) Deer Creek Loop and Maryland Boulevard. Going south on Maryland Boulevard from KUSAHC, the traffic signal is significantly shorter. Traveling inbound on Harford Boulevard turning left onto Maryland Boulevard does not authorize lanes to turn. Traveling inbound on MD 715 at Maryland Boulevard and Deer Creek Loop is extremely difficult turning left at peak travel hours. It causes back up in traffic and safety concerns.
Install left turn signal inbound MD 715 and Deer Creek Loop intersection
Install left turn signal inbound Maryland and Harford Boulevard intersection
Install traffic light sensors at Maryland and Harford Boulevard intersection
Conduct a traffic survey and adjust traffic signals accordingly
Work Group Recommendation: Resolve at APG
Work Group: Force Support/Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS)
Topic 1: CONUS commissaries
Topic 2: MWR activities
Topic 3: Installation security
CONUS Commissaries
Scope: Possible closure of commissaries within the Continental United States (CONUS) will impact Soldiers?' Families?' and retirees?' finances. Cost increases of up to 30 percent, not including travel, place financial burdens on families. Another result would be the loss of job opportunities for food inspectors, Family members and retirees. There would also be loss of revenue to other post activities due to decreased traffic. Closure of commissaries would impact on morale and welfare programs such as Holiday Gift cards for junior enlisted Soldiers.
Survey patron traffic point of sales to accumulate data on high usage periods to maximize profit during peak hours of operation
Increase surcharge in order to compensate for operation costs
Work Group Recommendation: Forward
MWR activities
Scope: There is a lack of MWR activities and services on APG South. The MWR resources on APG South are not utilized to their full potential by the MWR management. This issue affects Soldiers and their families located at APG South by lowering morale and increasing their feeling of separation.
1. Add a Leisure Travel Services office/representative with sales capabilities to
APG South branch of MWR
2. Improve advertisement of MWR activities to APG military and civilians at APG North and South [using banners, flyers, email, smart phone app, etc.]
3. Alternate events between APG North and South to increase participation and camaraderie.
Resolve at APG
Installation security
Scope: The current Standard Operation Procedure for gate access does not properly secure the installation. The current perception is that there is an increased potential for unauthorized access to the installation, which leads to a sense of vulnerability and insecurity.
1. Implement Defense Biometric Identification Data System (DBIDS) and scan all IDs
2. Recommend that 20 percent physical identification check be increased
3. Increase random vehicle inspections and utilize a cordoned-off area
Resolve at APG
Work Group: Youth
Topic 1: Middle School/Teen building
Topic 2: APG maintenance
Middle School/teen building
Scope: Middle school/teens do not have a designated building with adequate space for age-appropriate activities to occur. There are only two rooms with limited spacing and capacity at the Bldg. 2522 Youth Center available for the middle school/teens. They lack the space to be productive and social with their peers, under qualified adult supervision, in order to help promote positive behaviors.
Refurbish an existing building on APG dedicated exclusively to middle school/teen usage with qualified adult supervision.
Resolve at APG
APG Maintenance
Scope: There is a lack of maintenance on APG that directly affects the safety in the housing areas. Dogs are not being contained by the fencing currently in place. There are many areas without streetlights or with non-functioning streetlights. This lack of maintenance poses both personal safety and auto accident hazards.
1. Execute stricter pet control policies and install higher fences to keep pets from getting loose
2. Repair existing streetlights and install lighting between the housing area and the youth center as well as leading up to both gates.
Resolve at APG.