New Army Spouses Initiative

What is it'

Recognizing the need for immediate outreach and education to new Army spouses during wartime, Army Accessions Command (USAAC) began to develop new resources to educate these men and women. Products produced by Accessions command alert spouses to a variety of benefits and specific programs available from USAAC's subordinate units, Recruiting and Cadet commands, enabling new spouses to become self reliant and sufficient as soon as possible.

What has the Army done'

A booklet and DVD have been sent to each Army Recruiting and ROTC unit for distribution to new arrivals. The New Spouse Orientation DVD provides details about administrative processes (ID card, Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI), Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) TRICARE ), medical services, and how to use family support and community programs. With programmed segments, viewers can easily skip over information that does not apply to them and review other segments over again easily. Included with the DVD is a CD that directs the spouse to the relevant program websites.

The "Welcome to the Army Family" booklet is a more traditional information source that will be regularly updated. Meant to be consulted more quickly than sitting down at the television, the booklet goes into more detail about the Army's support system: TRICARE, housing,
child care and youth services, legal services, Army Emergency Relief, the Exceptional Family Member Program and more.

Why is this important to the Army'

Although optempo continues to improve, it is still possible for a Soldier to deploy within the first six months after reporting to a first duty station. It is imperative to keep new spouses informed and to give new Soldiers piece of mind that their spouses are integrated into the Army family. The goal for these information products is for new spouses to feel empowered to walk into any Army agency, to know what is offered and services to which they are entitled to, and to use these benefits wisely.

Resources:

U.S. Army Accessions Command Web site

TRICARE Web site

Exceptional Family Member Program document

DEERS Web site

SGLI Page (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Army Emergency Relief Web site