TRADOC to host Army Family Action Plan Conference
FORT MONROE, Va. (TRADOC News Service, May 4, 2005) – Volunteer delegates from installations where there are Training and Doctrine Command mission activities are gathering for the TRADOC Army Family Action Plan Conference May 15-20 in Hampton, Va.
This is the first AFAP conference TRADOC has hosted in eight years, according to TRADOC Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Infrastructure and Logistics staff members. Previous conferences have been cancelled due to lack of funding, they said.
The delegates will review and prioritize issues of concern to Soldiers, retirees and family members for TRADOC and Army-level action.
The road to the TRADOC major-command-level conference began at the installation level, according to Melissa Magowan, TRADOC’s conference coordinator. “The AFAP program looks for diversity among delegates – military grade structure, spouses, retirees, civilians and youth – who identify concerns and propose a resolution,” Magowan explained. “Issues are always worked at the lowest level. If an issue can be resolved at the installation, it isn’t forwarded. Issues of MACOM and Army-wide significance are forwarded to the MACOM conference.”
MACOM delegates review and prioritize issues for the worldwide Army conference, held in November of each year and hosted by the Army’s vice chief of staff.
“At the TRADOC conference, we’ll receive issues generated from the installations, work them with subject-matter experts and forward them, once they’re approved by the commanding general, as ‘TRADOC issues’ to the VCSA,” said Magowan. “The conference looks at issues relevant to our changing culture – Transformation, base realignment and closure and the Global War on Terrorism – and identifies the most critical problems affecting readiness and retention.”
Magowan noted that many AFAP issues are not specific to the Army but have Defense Department-wide implications.
Magowan said that the AFAP process is an example of a “working partnership.” By beginning the process at installation and Installation Management Agency regional level – who identify critical well-being issues and provide delegates, subject-matter experts and support personnel for the MACOM conference, the process creates synergy and ensures involvement of leadership at all levels.
Since Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes, TRADOC’s commanding general, approves the issues to go forward to VCSA for the Army conference, the installation and TRADOC conferences are a way to bring issues to the attention of senior Army leaders – and thus make the Army better.
“AFAP issues have resulted in changes to laws and regulations pertaining to Army benefits and practices,” said Magowan.
According to the Army’s AFAP Website (http://www.armycommunityservice.org/vacs_afap/home.asp), AFAP provides a way for the Army’s people to give feedback to the Army leadership as a process “that lets Soldiers and families say what’s working and what isn’t – and what they think will fix it. It alerts commanders and Army leaders to areas of concern that need their attention, and it gives them the opportunity to quickly put plans into place to work toward resolving the issues.”
AFAP includes married Soldiers and their family members, single Soldiers, retirees and Army civilian employees.
People interested in participating in AFAP should contact the AFAP program manager at their installation’s Army Community Services office. People interested in representing the Reserve Component should contact the family program coordinator/family readiness coordinator for the Guard and Reserve, respectively.