KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Army Community Service (ACS) hosted the annual Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) Nov. 17 on Kleber Kaserne and Smith Barracks in order to tackle issues head-on concerning the military community in the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz footprint.
For over 40 years, community members have been urged to submit quality of life concerns and readiness issue via ACS’ Army Family Web Portal Issue Management System. Rising utilities off-post and TRICARE for overseas military retirees over the age of 65 were among the topics discussed at this year’s AFAP.
Concerning the importance of AFAP, ACS generalist Julie Stephens said, “While there are many different avenues to raise these issues (ICE comments, town halls, working groups, focus groups), AFAP gives the installation an opportunity to elevate these issues along a clearly defined path at a conference that meets the first quarter of every fiscal year.”
Over the years, issues such as veterinary care for retired military working dogs, household goods weight allowance based on number of dependents and Military OneSource eligibility for retirees were some of the successful concerns-turned-policies that stemmed from AFAP.
Delegates from around the garrison—to include Department of the Army civilians, Soldiers, both single and married as well as retirees—joined the working group to address the issues of the high cost of utilities and TRICARE coverage for retirees. The subject matter experts ranged from TRICARE, the legal office, community recreation, Civilian Human Resources Agency (CHRA), financial readiness and the Utility Tax Avoidance Program (UTAP).
“It was great to see representation of all U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz demographics at one conference, working together to improve our community,” added Stephens. “We all came together to listen to the concerns that were raised, understand the contributing factors, prioritize issues and elevate those that were most important to the members of our community.”
To submit community concerns, issues can be submitted online at https://ims.armyfamilywebportal.com/. The queries will be worked immediately and if the issue needs to be elevated, it will be presented during the next AFAP conference in 2024.