SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., -- Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command commander, renew their pledge to provide Soldiers, Department of Army civilians, and families a quality of life commensurate with their service by signing the Army Family Covenant during a ceremony here July 28.

Command Sgt. Maj. Tomas R. Hawkins and Col. John O'Connor, SDDC deputy commanding general, also signed the covenant.

The covenant between Army leadership and families provides a strong, supportive environment where they can thrive and build a partnership.

The Army Family Covenant is a program that gives leadership the opportunity to recognize the Army's achievements and the increasing sacrifices families make every day supporting our Soldiers.

"It's really an acknowledgement that family support really helps to make our Soldiers ready, resilient and healthy." Hodge said. "We recognize the fact that it's not just the soldier, or in our case, also civilians, who deploy who are making all the sacrifices, it's the family members as well."

This covenant between Army leadership and families will improve on standardizing and funding existing family programs and services. The covenant also increases accessibility and quality of healthcare; improves Soldier and family housing; ensures excellence in schools, youth services, and child care; and expands education and employment opportunities for family members.

"The family makes incredible sacrifices and that's really what the Army Family Covenant is all about." Hodge said.

SDDC first signed the Army Family Covenant Dec. 7, 2007.