Monday, October 13, 2008

Got's AFAP Time!!!

I have been involved with the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) conference for 10 years now. I LOVE it, it is probably my favorite volunteer opportunity. If you are affiliated with the Army in any way I encourage you to find out when your local installation has theirs and get involved!!

The next three days are sure to be overwhelming but it's so much fun!!!

What is the Army Family Action Plan?
Have you ever thought, “If the Army would just ask me how to fix this I could tell them?” The AFAP Program gives you the chance to do just that! The Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) is one of the Army's principle programs put in place to ensure that standards of living in the Army keep pace with changing times. AFAP gives Soldiers, retirees, DA civilians, and their Families the opportunity to let Army leadership know what is working and what isn’t, and their ideas about what will fix it.

Facts about AFAP
AFAP was the brainchild of Army spouses.
Each AFAP success story originated as an idea that someone decided to pursue.
The Army is the only branch of DOD that has such a program.
Almost 500 issues have entered the AFAP in its 17-year history.
Many AFAP improvements impact quality of life for all services.
AFAP is year-round. Issues are continually being monitored and worked toward resolution at local levels, MACOMs, and HQDA.

How does AFAP work?
Installations and local levels hold AFAP forums. Active and Reserve Soldiers, retirees, surviving spouses, DA civilians, family members, and tenant organizations identify issues they believe are important to maintain a good standard of living.
Local commanders see to it that the issues are worked toward resolution. About 90% of AFAP issues are retained and worked at a local level, resulting in ongoing community improvements.
Some issues are applicable beyond the local level. These are sent to MACOM AFAP conferences and to HQDA, where delegates from across the Army determine which will go into the AFAP. The issues that are selected for the AFAP are worked toward resolution by Army staff and DoD agencies.
The General Officer Steering Committee (GOSC), reviews the progress of AFAP issues on a semi-annual basis. The AFAP GOSC is the final deciding authority on the status of all issues (determining if an issue is resolved, unattainable, or needs to remain active until the issue's stated objectives have been met).
A board of key DOD and Army staff general officer and senior executive service representatives lend teeth to the AFAP process. This board, the AFAP General Officer Steering Committee (GOSC), reviews the progress of AFAP issues on a semi-annual basis.
Is my issue an AFAP issue?Check your issue against the AFAP Issue Checklist. Does your issue:
Relate to a well-being concern within the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Army (DA), or the Ansbach/Illesheim areas?
Surface and troubleshoot problem areas?
Present a realistic solution or a creative alternative?
Have broad impact?
Appear attainable after considering current political and resource environments?
Fall within the purview of Ansbach/Illesheim, DA, or DoD to influence?
Who can be an AFAP participant? If you are a Soldier, retiree, civilian, or family member - active, Guard, or Reserve, you can be part of local, MACOM, and HQDA AFAP programs. If you are a commander, you can support a strong AFAP program in your community, and you can draw on the real-time quality of life information AFAP provides. Be a delegate and share your good ideas. Volunteer to help with a conference, assist with the program, or be a member of the local AFAP Advisory Committee. Become familiar with current AFAP issues - tell people what's happening - get them energized to promote Army well-being through the AFAP process. (The Issue Update Book on the AFAP web site contains all of the issues).

What are some of AFAP success stories?
Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance increased from $50,000 to $200,000. Basic Allowance for Housing increased by 11% -- part of a plan to eliminate out-of-pocket housing costs by 2005. . AER provides grants in overseas locations to assist with financial aid for spouses to pursue undergrad, voc/tech, high school completion, and English-as-a-Second-Language studies. A DOD Reserve Component family member ID card was established. A vehicle can be stored at government expense when a soldier is reassigned to an area where shipment isn't authorized. Family Separation Allowance was increased from $75 to $100 per month. TLE was authorized for first-term enlisted personnel and is being pursued for first-term officers. Family Support Groups were institutionalized. Programs like Army Family Team Building (AFTB) and Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) were born. Informational and interactive websites have been established to address retirement information and planning, employment opportunities and application, and enlisted Soldier assignments.
Useful Sites

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