By Rob Schuette, Fort McCoy Public AffairsFebruary 24, 2011
FORT McCOY, Wis. -- Two Fort McCoy representatives participated at the Headquarters, Department of the Army Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) Conference Jan 28-Feb. 4 in Alexandria, Va.
Kevin Herman, the installation's Army Community Service (ACS) AFAP program manager, attended as an FRTI (Facilitators, Recorders, Transcribers, and Issue support staff) and helped facilitate the processes of his assigned group. Laurene "Susie" Krueger of the Fort McCoy Network Enterprise Center represented the installation as a delegate to the conference. Krueger also served as a delegate for the Fort McCoy AFAP conference during the past several years.
"Attending the Army-level conference gave me a firsthand look at the entire process from the lowest level to mid level to the Army level," Herman said. "Our voice is just as important as those from other installations, and our concerns are equally heard."
The AFAP program has resolved many issues throughout its 27 years of service to the Army. Herman said the AFAP Conference ranks the issues by importance. Another unique aspect of the process is it reviews the outstanding, or current, issues, which have not been resolved and also highlights the most-important ones still on the list. A General Officer Steering Committee meeting was held during the AFAP conference to work on current issues, he said.
Herman noted the AFAP system is unique to the Army. Other services, such as the Air Force, are beginning to study if it could be implemented for their personnel, he added.
AFAP is a good means to bring issues, problems or concerns to the attention of Army leaders, who then can begin the process of finding solutions, he said.
"The meeting also gave us a chance to meet and talk to many senior Army leaders," Herman said. "We were able to talk to Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter W. Chiarelli and Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston."
Another valuable point of the conference is it lists mobilization, deployment and Family Readiness strengths and challenges and the most-critical active AFAP issues, he said.
Krueger said she served as an Army AFAP delegate because she believes in the Army mission and believes her role supports the Army Family.
"Directly and indirectly, issues affect military, retired military, surviving Family members and Department of the Army civilians," Krueger said.
Krueger said she plans to use the information she learned at the conference to assist in her volunteer work with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
Everyone can help support the AFAP program by submitting issues for consideration, Herman and Krueger said. Otherwise, the issues may not be brought to the attention of the senior leaders. Another valuable part of the process is many of the issues reported at the installation level fall into the customer-manager-service category, Herman said.
"That means these issues are under the purview of the garrison commander and can be resolved locally," he said. "They do not have to go up to the next levels for resolution."
Fort McCoy is accepting volunteers and issues for its AFAP conference in October. Herman said the issues and volunteer nominations are available online at the website http://www.mccoymwr.com/soldier-family-programs/army-community-service.html by clicking on the AFAP links at the site. Issue and volunteer nomination forms also are available at ACS, building 2111, with submissions due by Aug. 12.
The website also includes a link to the Fort McCoy AFAP Issue Update Book http://www.mccoymwr.com/images/stories/Soldier-Family-Prog/acs/AFAP/AFAPIssueUpd-7Nov.pdf so members of the Fort McCoy community can track the latest issues and their current status, he said.
Personnel also can submit issues anonymously, however, everyone who submits their name with an issue will be contacted to inform them of its current status," Herman said.
Herman said units or organizations are encouraged to schedule a meeting with an ACS staff representative to go over the AFAP process and how to submit issues or become a volunteer.
Fort McCoy also holds ongoing reviews of AFAP issues, with the next garrison-commander level meeting set for March, Herman said.
For more information about the AFAP program in the Fort McCoy community, call ACS at 608-388-3540/3505.