HEIDELBERG, Germany - To further acknowledge the role that spouses and children of Soldiers play in today's military, the director of the Army staff has instructed for the word Families to be capitalized in all official correspondence.

"The acting secretary of the Army and the chief of staff of the Army have emphasized that Army Families are a key component of our readiness," noted Lieutenant General James L. Campbell in a recent message.

Army Families "shoulder a great burden of sacrifice, supporting their Soldier and often enduring long periods of separation from their loved ones," Campbell said, adding that top-notch care and support of Army Families demonstrate "our sincere appreciation and gratitude for their many contributions."

Therefore, Campbell directed that the word Families now be capitalized.

For the Army in Europe, this rule applies to all documents in various medium, not just correspondence, said Dwayne Viergutz, chief of Installation Management Command-Europe, document management branch. Examples include: briefing slides, executive summaries, forms, information papers, publications and Web sites. And with award certificates, civilian performance evaluations, noncommissioned officer evaluation ratings and officer evaluation ratings all being forms, references to the Army Family and Army Families will be uppercased in these types of documents as well, Viergutz said.

This requirement applies only to new documents, Viergutz added. Existing documents, such as current Army in Europe regulations and forms, will not be revised solely to incorporate this change. The adaptation, however, will be made when publications and forms are otherwise revised or updated.