By Victor Spong, Senior Strategic Communications OfficerFebruary 17, 2011
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Army Community Service is enhancing the way it delivers services, to make it easier and faster for Soldiers and their Family members to get the help they are seeking.
The initiative to transform ACS stems from a holistic review of Army Family programs by the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff of Installation Management. OACSIM is responsible for the execution of the Army Family Covenant, which promises to provide Soldiers and Families a quality of life that is commensurate with the quality of their service. Through garrison focus groups and surveys, Soldiers and Family members reported they have both too much and too little information on available services, which makes it difficult for them to determine which service best meets their needs.
Under the new design, ACS will transition a number of personnel into generalist positions focused on helping Soldiers and Family members navigate services. Generalists will provide an array of baseline services, while specialists will still be available for the more complex and extended services.
"The goal is to make sure Soldiers, their Families and Civilians can find the right service, at the right time, the first time they seek assistance," said Paulette Freese, Chief, Policy and Operations Branch, Soldier Family Readiness Division. "ACS provides a lot of great information and services, everything from financial readiness to the Exceptional Family Member Program. We want to make sure that the first time they walk through the door, someone is to there to help. What we don't want is for someone to have to wait or have to come in a second time before getting help."
ACS will also introduce an upgraded tracking system that allows staff to follow up with clients more efficiently and to ensure client needs are met when service is provided.
"If a client requires more in-depth assistance, we want to make sure there is a smooth transition to the next service provider," Freese said. "We will maintain contact with the Soldier or Family member until their needs have been met."
Soldier and Family members will start to see ACS services in new satellite locations as well, such as at units, garrison exchanges and commissaries, and off-post sites.
"We're working hard to strengthen relationships with units and service providers across the installation, to make ACS services and information more readily accessible," Freese said.
ACS has been doing a tremendous job of supporting Soldiers and Family members through an extended period of conflict, but the Installation Management Community always has to be on the lookout for ways to do better, according to Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, Assistant Chief of Staff of Installation Management and commander of the Installation Management Command.
"The work of ACS and other quality-of-life service providers is highly visible, tangible proof that the Army is delivering on the promises of the Army Family Covenant," Lynch said. "It is important work, so we can never become complacent. The long-term strength of our All-Volunteer Army depends on the well-being of Soldiers and their Families. More than that, we owe it to our Soldiers and Families for their ongoing service and dedication."
Twenty-two installations have been selected as pilot sites to assess the new service delivery design that runs until Mar. 31. The pilot phase will provide insight and best practices prior to the Army-wide rollout in April. Every Army ACS location will be operational under the new service delivery design by October.
The design pilot sites are:
United States: Fort Carson, Co.; USAG Natick, Mass.; Fort Jackson, SC; Fort Stewart, Ga., Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; USAG Detroit Arsenal, MI; Picatinny Arsenal, NJ; Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.; Redstone Arsenal, Ala.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; White Sands Missile Range, N.M.; Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Fort Lee, Va.; and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
Europe: USAGs Brussels, Belgium; Baumholder, Grafenwoehr and Kaiserslautern, Germany; and Vicenza, Italy
Korea: USAG Daegu