Defender 6 sends: AFAP committee resolves 17 quality of life issues

| March 24, 2011 | 0 Comments

Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch
Commander, Installation Management Command

 

Lynch

Lynch

WASHINGTON — You can read about history or make history.

The voices of Soldiers, civilians and families that contributed to the Army Family Action Plan process were heard, and history was made at the recent AFAP General Officer Steering Committee, held the first week of February.

Senior Army leaders and program representatives from across the Army resolved 17 out of 40 quality of life issues, making great strides in support of our wounded warriors and families.

AFAP representatives at the unit or installation level originally identified these issues to make life better for Soldiers, families and civilians for years to come.

Qualified wounded warrior job applicants will now receive greater visibility in the federal government hiring process, including the integration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veteran Resume Inventory, at www.VetSuccess.gov, into the Army recruitment process and the designation of human resource specialists as veteran employment coordinators (Issue 617).

Through Issue 610, we expanded treatment for traumatic brain injury patients. TBI screening, identification, treatment and rehabilitation services are now in place at each Army Medical Treatment Facility. To date, TBI programs at 40 facilities have achieved full validation, 10 have achieved initial validation, and the remaining programs will receive full validation this month.

Wounded warriors will benefit from the availability of standardized respite care for their caregivers through Tricare and the VA (Issue 630) and through the establishment of the Army Wounded Warrior Support Network (Issue 632). The AWWSN is a support program that connects severely wounded, injured and ill Soldiers and their families to a network of resources in the local community.

Three initiatives were completed in the family support category. These initiatives provide more affordable child care to those who need it the most (Issue 566); Tricare coverage for children up to age 26 (Issue 632); and a policy revision that requires initial military training Soldiers with exceptional family members, or EFM, to receive new assignment instructions if assignments are outside the continental U.S. and travel approval authority has not notified the Soldier of EFM services’ availability 30 days prior to the Soldier’s graduation (Issue 639).

Ten of the 17 issues resolved were designated as unattainable, due to resource or legislative constraints. Although AFAP recommendations were unattainable, progress was made on many of the issues, including the increase in administrative and permanent change of station, or PCS, weight allowances for grades E-1 to E-4 and E-7 to E-9, establishing a hardship-based increase to PCS weight allowance and a 500-pound professional weight allowance for spouses (Issue 457).

The Army will continue to work the issues, but AFAP is your program.

My next article will review 16 new quality of life issues AFAP delegates identified as the most critical, and our need as an Army community to identify inefficient, redundant or obsolete family programs so we can redirect those resources to where we truly need them.

Support and Defend. Defender 6.

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Category: Leadership, News, Standing Columns

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