IAC, a component of Community FIRST, enhances HI AFAP

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - More people showed up at the Battle Command Training Center, Jan. 12, than she had expected, but U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI) customer service officer Ophelia Isreal didn't mind.

"I ran out of handouts, but that's good," Isreal said. She had just facilitated an informational meeting of the newly established Installation Action Council (IAC), a garrison program that allows community representatives to discuss and prioritize community issues.

The IAC is a component of Community FIRST (Feedback, Issues, Resolutions, Solutions, Today), an issue-resolution process that collects issues and recommendations from the community via focus groups, surveys and issue sheet collection.

The issues are then forwarded to the appropriate service provider for action. Issues that can't easily be resolved at the provider level will be brought to the IAC for discussion and prioritization for the garrison.

Council members include a Soldier and spouse representative from each brigade and command and from constituent groups, such as retirees, veterans and single Soldiers.

"Since the council members are from our tenant units and constituent groups, issues are discussed with the perspective and interest of our community," Isreal said.

Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, USAG-HI, chairs the IAC. Council members will have a unique opportunity to talk with the garrison commander, to get his input and share their concerns directly with him.

The IAC and Community FIRST will work alongside the more familiar Army Family Action Plan (AFAP). Issues that require higher command resources, direction or support will move through AFAP as they do now; those that can be resolved at the garrison will be processed through Community FIRST.

Tracey Clark, AFAP program manager, sees the benefit of having both programs.

"Community FIRST will be able to handle those issues that impact our local community more immediately," Clark said. "AFAP will then be able to focus on the issues that will have an impact on the broader Army community, those which might need congressional support."

"AFAP has and will continue to accomplish things for our Army Soldiers and family members," said Isreal. "Community FIRST won't replace that; it will just enhance it."

Isreal said individuals should continue to use the Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, system if they have a comment, positive or negative, about a specific occurrence with a particular service provider. Service providers receive those comments almost immediately after they are submitted into ICE and can respond directly to the individual, if requested.

"What we'd really like is for the community to use the Community FIRST process to submit suggestions on improving garrison services or to handle larger or more systemic issues," explained Isreal. "Of course, we'll welcome all issues that are submitted and will work to resolve them through whichever process is most appropriate."

Regardless of what process is used, Isreal said results will be communicated back to the community.

For more information about Community FIRST or to see if your unit is represented at the Installation Action Council, contact Ophelia Isreal at 808-655-9033 or through e-mail, usaghi.cms@us.army.mil.

Also, AFAP is currently seeking issues for the upcoming AFAP conference. Issue sheets for AFAP can be found on the DFMWR page, www.mwrarmyhawaii.com, and U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's Web site at www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil.