Military Family Readiness Council Closes Year with Recommendations

The federally mandated Military Family Readiness Council (MFRC) met on November 22 to deliberate on recommendations for the Secretary of Defense. The MFRC had met three times previously during the year and had listened to briefings and information sessions on issues affecting military families and on the programs that support them including how the effectiveness of those programs are measured and evaluated. Minutes and submissions for these meetings can be found on Military OneSource. This fourth meeting, postponed because of the government shutdown in October, focused on a review of all the information received and finalizing the council’s recommendations.

The MFRC is charged to: 

  • Review and make recommendations to the Secretary of Defense regarding Department of Defense (DoD) military family readiness policy and plans; 
  • Monitor requirements for the support of military family readiness by DoD; and 
  • Evaluate and assess the effectiveness of the military family readiness programs and activities of the Department of Defense making recommendations to the Secretary of Defense concerning military family readiness support.

The Council, chaired by Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright, had an animated and thoughtful discussion that resulted in the following recommendations. These will be refined and reviewed and sent on to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to be included in a report to Congress. 

  • Recommend that the Health Affairs working group that is preparing the mandated Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act Section 735 military children healthcare study requirement, also known as “TRICARE for Kids”, consider the Children’s Hospital Association and the Military Special Needs Network Report when preparing the necessary documentation to Congress. 
  • Recommend that the Secretary of Defense continue to focus on the standardization of Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) policies for all services as service members transition from installation to installation and connect and collaborate with community resources as service members transition to civilian life. 
  • Recommend that the Secretary of Defense continue to improve how “end users” within the National Guard, Reserve, and service members and their families that live off the installation or are geographically dispersed learn about military services and analyze to improve the communication channels used to reach military families.

The Council then briefly discussed some items to focus on for next year’s meetings which will be finalized in January or February 2014.

If you have military family issues that you feel should be reviewed by the Military Family Readiness Council, please share them with our Association.

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