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Army Family Action Plan gives voice to community

Army Family Action Plan gives voice to community

Source: Michelle L. Gordon

Army Family Action Plan gives voice to



Benning Bayonet - 12 Sep 2008

By USAIC Public Affairs Office, Michelle L. Gordon


I feel empowered. Actually I’m almost to the point of giddy. I just submitted my first Army Family Action Plan issue, and I feel like I’ve done something to improve both my life and the lives of other Fort Benning families. I’ve been an Army spouse for about six years now, and I’ve always been aware of AFAP, but I’ve never taken part, which is the reason for my current giddiness.

The program allows everyone on the installation to voice their opinions about what is or isn’t working and how they recommend it be improved. Each issue is then discussed by a panel of volunteers during a two-day symposium and a decision is made on how to solve the problem. The last day of the symposium includes an open to the public out-briefing, where the major issues and resolutions are presented by the commanding general to the Fort Benning community.

This year, Army Community Service is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the program. Since its inception, thousands of issues have been raised and more than 600 of them were elevated to the Department of the Army.

When I talked to Fort Benning AFAP coordinator Barbara Singleton, she told me those 600 issues have resulted in nearly 150 changes to DoD policies and regulations, and 173 improvements to programs and services. In fact, because of issues raised during an AFAP symposium, Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance was increased from $50,000 to $200,000 and the family member separation allowance was increased from $75 to $100 a month for deployed Soldiers.

Also, several of those changes to policies and regulations started here at Fort Benning, such as the recent increase in Soldier leave accrual. Prior to January, Soldiers could only carry over 60 hours of annual leave from year to year. Now, because of an issue submitted from a Fort Benning AFAP symposium, Soldiers can bank up to 75 hours.

ACS collects issues year-round for discussion at the annual symposium. The next one is scheduled for Oct. 22-24. Singleton encourages everyone who wants to submit an issue to go ahead and do so now because this is your opportunity to have a voice. Every issue, no matter how minor, is reviewed and discussed. The majority of them are handled locally, but if the issue will affect all Army Families then it is sent forward for further review and discussion.

The program is great because it allows you to not only say what you think is wrong but also to weigh-in on how you would fix it. Not everyone has a good solution and sometimes the good-idea fairy gets in the way, but the only way to make change is to get involved. I’ve done my part and you still have time. Forms are available at the AFAP office, Soldiers’ Plaza, Building 2624, or online at

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