FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Army Family Action Plan has evolved with the rest of the Army into the digital age, and it’s never been easier for people to voice their ideas on improving the quality of life of Soldiers, family members and the post community as a whole.
“AFAP is a process where people in the Army or associated with the Army – it could be family members or retirees – can input suggestions on how to improve quality of life in the Army,” explained Kent Thompson, Army Community Service director.
In the past, people would see boxes in offices where they could submit their ideas on paper, he said, which unfortunately led to the AFAP boxes being used as complaint boxes.
“And they were saying here's my complaint, but they weren't saying how to fix it,” Thompson explained. “Part of the thought process is here's what's wrong, but here's how I think you can fix it.
“If people provide those two critical pieces of information, along with maybe a little bit more information, then we can get a committee together that has subject matter expertise on whatever that topic is,” he said. “Then they can determine whether that solution was a viable solution, or maybe something else is more workable.”
Now it's easier than ever to submit quality of life improvement ideas, he said. People can go to https://ims.armyfamilywebportal.com/ and submit their ideas for consideration.
“They just fill in the blanks – here is the issue, here is how it affects us, here is what I think you can do to fix it,” Thompson added.
“I think for people who've been around the Army for a while, the old days of AFAP conferences are pretty much gone – those days where we'd get people together for three days and have a conference, and we put people together in rooms and sequester them so they could work on the issues. Now, most of it is being done virtually,” he said.
He said ACS would like people’s submissions by the end of August, he said. “It gives us time to work issues at the local level. If it gets submitted later in the year, it won’t make it up to the next level until the following year. So, the earlier you get your issues in the better.
“There are a lot of steps that we do behind the scenes that are not visible to anyone outside of the process before we can bring the idea forward and send it up to the next higher level,” Thompson said, adding that, in some cases, people will put in an issue that that they think is a global issue, but it really is local. “That gives us a chance to separate that out from the AFAP process, but still handle the situation and get it resolved.”
The ACS director said that people who know of a quality-of-life issue should certainly us the AFAP process to try to get it fixed.
“I think the quality of life for Soldiers and family members today is exponentially better than it was 20 to 30 years ago,” he said. “But that doesn't mean that we should stop looking to improve it even more and fix remaining problems.
“If you ever have an idea that's going to improve quality of life, don't wait for August to put in your submission,” Thompson added. “Go to the website right away and put it in.”