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Army Life Improves Through AFAP

"What has AFAP done for you lately?"

Installations, Army Commands, Army Service Component Commands, and Direct Reporting Units across the Army convene AFAP conferences that engage Soldiers, retirees, DA civilians and Family members in the business of assessing Army standards of living. For twenty-five years, grass roots delegates from the Army's Active, National Guard, and Reserve Components reviewed well-being issues of concern, submitting the most critical to FMWRC for consideration at the HQDA AFAP conference.

AFAP issues from the field provide a snap-shot in time, pinpointing the well-being concerns of Soldiers and Families, providing creative ideas that help Army standards of living keep pace with changing times. From the first focus groups, convened by Army spouses, to the conferences of today, the issues generated through AFAP reflect Soldier and Family concerns at all levels.

In 1984, the primary focus of AFAP issues was the Family and how military life impacted their day to day living. Since then, there has been an increase in "Soldier" related issues such as Enlisted Promotion Points, Deployment Medication, and Military Savings Pay. For many years, Family Support related concerns dominated the issues submitted to conferences; however, for the 2011 HQDA AFAP Conference, Force Support issues were most significant at 31%. Medical and Behavior Health followed at 21 %, followed closely by Relocation and Facilities at 20%. In addition to issues that have a broader impact, there are concerns raised that are unique to the military lifestyle and Wounded Warrior concerns.

The chart illustrates historic AFAP issue trends. It shows the variety of categories AFAP issues span. The "Other" category varies from year to year and may include volunteer, consumer services, and leadership issues.

Issues submitted 1984 Issues submitted 2000 Issues submitted 2011
19% Family Support 26% Medical & Dental 31% Force Support
19% Relocation 20% Force Support 21% Medical & Behavior Health
12% Civilian Employment 19% Entitlements 20% Relocation & Facilities
12% Medical & Dental 10% Civilian Employment 18% Family Support
12% Child & Youth 9% Family Support 10% Child & Youth
10% Housing 9% Child & Youth  
10% Other 7% Other  

AFAP continues to improve standards of living, not just for Soldiers, but for all military personnel and DoD employees, here are a few examples:

  • Expansion of Homeowners assistance Program to include PCS
  • Wounded Warriors Advanced Life Support Services on CONUS Installations
  • Dedicated Special Needs space in CYSS Delivery Systems
  • Secure Accessible Storage for Soldiers Residing in Barracks
  • Military Spouse Unemployment Compensation increased number of states participating
  • Temporary Lodging Expense authorized for first Permanent Change of Station (Issue 63)
  • Retiree access to retail and national mail order pharmacies (Issue 402)
  • Expansion of TRICARE Prime Remote to Active Duty Family members (Issue 408)
  • Military participation in the Federal Thrift Savings Plan (Issue 434)
  • Teen program standardization guidelines for installation commanders (Issue 439)
  • Elimination of TRICARE Prime co-payments (Issue 469)

Since 1984 there have been 126 Legislative changes, 177 DoD or Army Policy changes and 197 Program and Services improvements as a result of AFAP issues. Policy changes that resulted from AFAP issues include:

  • Allowing Soldiers to request tour stabilization if they have a graduating high school senior (Issue 453)
  • Authorizing Family Readiness Group newsletters to include unofficial information if it does not exceed 20% of the printed space (Issue 460)
  • Tax credit for employers of Reserve Component Soldiers on extended Active Duty (Issue 486)
  • Medical care access for non-dependent caregivers at the Military Treatment Facility while they attend to their Soldier (Issue 619)
  • Revision of AR 600-8-101 requiring picture of Soldiers annually during the SRP process (Issue 640)
  • DA Pam revision with requirement to perform sole duties as the BOSS president for minimum of two years (Issue 636)
  • Duration of Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents to 36 months (Issue 540)

All in all, AFAP truly provides the "voice" for Families to elevate their concerns, and remains the preeminent means for commanders, at all levels, to seek solutions to the concerns of their communities.