By Robert Dozier, IMCOM Public AffairsOctober 3, 2017
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Oct. 2, 2017) - Army readiness relies on the smallest element to be prepared. Many look at troop readiness as the key cog, but if the Family is not ready, neither is the Soldier. This is why the Army has devoted a huge effort to reimagine the training component for Family Readiness Groups, to be released as "Readiness Essentials for Army Leaders" or R.E.A.L., at the Family Forum during the 2017 Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.
"To meet today's Army needs for FRG training we had to consider all facets, including tech issues and emerging communication applications available now," said Heather Leiby, School Liaison Transition Specialist for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command's G9 Army Community Service program. "We have isolated five distinct and specialized courses, one for each of the FRG leadership teams, focusing on the tactical roles and responsibilities in this very important process."
FRG is a resource of programs and services available to assist in preparing Soldiers and Family members for military life. As a commander's program, the FRG can be leveraged as a part of the command Family readiness plan to provide two way communication between the unit and its Families; it can also ensure Soldiers and Families are aware of resources and help to connect them to their communities.
"We want to ensure a more comprehensive understanding of FRG operations across all Army components," Leiby said. "Service members and their Families have the primary responsibility for their well-being, but our services are designed to enhance their efforts. The new 300-page training smart-book will better equip commanders and volunteers in keeping Soldiers and Family members self-reliant, resilient and ready."
The rewrite of FRG training began in July 2015 and was synchronized with the National Guard and Army Reserve components.
"The Army training pilot was completed in July and we wanted to unveil what we learned and best practices at the family forum," Leiby said. "This is the perfect place to distribute our R.E.A.L. smart-book and unveil the new training curriculum, in a meeting of Army leaders who care the most."
The new training smart-book will be distributed through http://www.ArmyFRG.org to influencers beginning the first quarter of FY18. Training will be available by the end of first quarter of FY18 at installation Army Community Service centers through the Mobilization, Deployment and Stability Support Operations program. For U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard, training will be available through their Family Programs offices.
"We've taken into consideration the current regulation and policy standards and looked closely at manpower and positions," Leiby said. "This training was designed with the adult learner in mind, written by the field for the field and vetted by over 2000 individuals, so that the unit commander, the First Sgts., the Command Sgts. Maj., the Family Readiness Liaisons, and FRG volunteers all are on the same page. I think we've got it right for 2018."
Registration is required for attendance at the AUSA meeting at http://ausameetings.org/2017annualmeeting/.
"Our development team has over 300 years' experience working with Army families," Leiby said. "Our research shows that when Families are connected to the unit, each other and the community, the Soldier and Family are better able to meet the challenges of military life. R.E.A.L. training will help make certain we get readiness right."