Garrison leaders search for solutions to AFAP’s quality of life issues

| May 14, 2010 | 0 Comments

Bill Mossman
News Editor

In part one of a four-part series, work groups update actions taken on four issues addressed during the March conference

ClarkSCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The 2010 Army Family Action Plan Conference may have come and gone, but the issues raised by delegates at this past spring’s brief-out continue to command the attention of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii leadership.

Those quality of life issues for Soldiers and their family members will once again be addressed early next month, when delegates and subject matter experts convene for the Garrison Commander’s AFAP Steering Committee Meeting. Slated for June 7, the meeting will take place at the Garrison Conference Room, here.

“Soldiers and families should care about AFAP because it is their opportunity to make an impact on their quality of life,” said Tracey Clark, volunteer corps coordinator, Army Community Service, and moderator for the AFAP conference. 

“Many of the great changes that have occurred are because AFAP started as a concern or issue for one person on an installation,” Clark said. “The AFAP process changes things. It puts an X in the complete column.”

During the next four weeks,  the Hawaii Army Weekly will publish topics previously raised at this year’s AFAP, March 18-19, and the action plan the garrison is currently taking to address these issues.

The first four issues follow.

Issue 1: Soldier physical fitness.

SME Agency: Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Scope: The Army Physical Fitness centers have unsatisfactory hours for Soldiers. The current Army Physical Fitness Center baseline standard (90 hours) is insufficient to accommodate off-duty hours. 

Lack of fitness center availability negatively affects Soldier combat readiness and morale.

Issue 1 Conference Recommendations: Increase baseline standards from 90 hours to 130 hours per week. One central gym on base should be open from 4 a.m. to midnight.

Current Action Plan: Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, USAG-HI, would like to implement a Physical Fitness Advisory Board similar to the post exchange, commissary and Nehelani advisory boards. 

The AFAP Steering Committee discussed the current funding situation at the garrison level. Both Margotta and committee members agreed that, without more funding, the only way to increase services at physical fitness centers is to cut hours at facilities that are not being used as much.

DFMWR will conduct a survey to see what the needs of the community are and look to discuss with the advisory board the adjustment of physical fitness center hours.

Issue 2: Two-year time limit that restricts spousal employment preference.

SME Agency: Civilian Personnel Advisory Center.

Scope: Executive Order 13473 (the Military Spouse Hiring Authority), which deals with spousal employment preference, has a two-year time limit that does not provide equal federal job opportunities for military spouses who have been at a post for an extended period of time.

Issue 2 Conference Recommendations: Amend the Executive Order to eliminate the two-year limit and provide equal opportunity to all military spouses, regardless of time at a duty station. 

Also, establish a waiver to the Executive Order, allowing spouses to renew eligibility once the Soldier receives new orders to extend at current geographical area.

Current Action Plan: This issue was forwarded to the 2010 U.S. Army-Pacific AFAP Conference. The issue was not briefed out and will be returned to USAG-HI for further action.

Issue 3: Dependents on service members’ orders to a first duty station from Advanced Individual Training/One Station Unit Training.

SME Agency: Directorate of Human Resources.

Scope: Dependents are not included on initial orders coming from AIT/OSUT. At the Military Enrollment Processing Station, dependents are enrolled into the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Rapid System program, and this information should be used to place dependents on orders to first duty station.

Issue 3 Conference Recommendations: Enforce Army Regulation 600-8-11 and AR 55-46, Chapter 2, requirements to list dependents and their pertinent information by issuing Permanent Change of Station orders at AIT/OSUT that include DEERS-enrolled dependents, and specify transition entitlements and Exceptional Family Member Program screening requirements. 

Also, educate service members to make sure they know their requirements for traveling from AIT/OSUT to duty station. 

Current Action Plan: This issue was forwarded to the 2010 U.S. Army-Pacific AFAP Conference and was briefed out. This issue will be forwarded to the 2011 Department of the Army AFAP conference for consideration to be entered into the DA Army Family Action Plan.

Issue 4: Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Hawaii.

SME Agency: USAG-HI, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. 

Scope: With the inception of Furlough Fridays and other issues, the Army Family Covenant’s committment of providing excellence in education is being questioned in Hawaii.

Issue 4 Conference Recommendations: Establish DoDEA schools on military installations in Hawaii. Modify current legislative requirements to allow DoDEA schools.

Current Action Plan: This issue was forwarded to the 2010 USARPAC AFAP Conference and was briefed out. This issue will be forwarded to the 2011 DA AFAP conference for consideration to be entered into the DA Army Family Action Plan.


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