WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 1, 2010) -- The Army is seeking submissions for its third annual Secretary of the Army Quality of Life Awards program.

The awards are given in recognition of individual and command efforts in improving Soldier and family quality of life during 2010, and give all Army elements the opportunity to publicize and share their best practices. ALARACT Message 360/2010 sent out this week provides details on how to submit.

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 1 and the competition is open to all Army commands, service-component commands, direct-reporting units, Army Reserve and Army National Guard units and personnel.

Winners will be announced during the 2011 Association of the United States Army's Winter Symposium in San Antonio in April.

"We need to ensure we encourage the (posts), the unit-level Army on up, to think innovatively and implement programs that tend to the needs of the Army family," said Secretary of the Army John McHugh in an announcement this week.

The award has five categories:

The Superior Quality of Life Award -- for an initiative that could be emulated by installations and commands world-wide.

The Command Team Quality of Life Award -- for a command team that best demonstrates personal involvement in initiating single or multiple quality of life improvements within their command.

The Quality of Life Award -- presented to an installation, command or group that has demonstrated the ability to develop 'best practices' to improve quality of life for Soldiers and their families.

The Quality of Life Partnership Award -- is presented to new or exciting partnerships. Partnerships can be between commands, organizations or individuals.

The Quality of Life Award for Communication Excellence -- presented to individuals or commands that have employed new or unique communication efforts in telling primary and secondary audiences of Soldier and family quality of life successes. This can include emerging media, such as Facebook or Twitter, or stories told with a unique and fresh angle using the proper media and getting the message across.

Participating commands are encouraged to develop a series of internal awards that progressively judge local, unit, regional, subordinate command, state (National Guard), and headquarters-level submissions.

Army commands, Army service component commands, direct-reporting units, the Army National Guard, and Army Reserve can submit one packet for each of the seven awards.

Selection and nominations to the Army-level competition must be received prior to Feb. 1. A panel of judges selected from across the Army will identify the winning submissions. Award winners will be announced on or about March 1.

More information on submission procedures and examples of last year's winning entries can be found online at www.acsim.army.mil.