Senior Leaders Ask for Input on Family Programs

In October, staff from the National Military Family Association attended the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition held in Washington, D.C. Association staff attended the Military Family Forums, including the Leader’s Town Hall. Featured speakers included Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno, and Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler

Army leaders noted that while family support programs remain a priority, the current fiscal situation will require some budget cuts and reallocation of resources. The goal is to make family programs more efficient so that cuts are transparent to Army families. Secretary McHugh asked for input from families to help guide the process. General Odierno suggested that family members can provide input through family forums, their local chains of command and the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) saying, “we really have to make sure that we’re focusing our dollars in the right place.”

Army leaders also discussed making the transition to garrison life after 12 years of war. GEN Odierno spoke about the need for financial counseling, so that soldiers of all ranks can learn to live on incomes that no longer include periodic infusions of tax free combat pay. He also discussed the fact that after “consuming readiness” for 12 years, the Army is entering a period of investing in readiness. 

Another near term goal for the Army is to ensure that soldiers who have thrived on the challenges of deployment don’t get bored in garrison. One of the objectives of Army resourcing is to provide enough training, education and opportunities to stimulate soldiers so they don’t seek out the excitement they became accustomed to on the battlefield in a negative way. SMA Chandler pointed out that with fewer deployments we can all be thankful that soldiers will have more time to spend with their families.

The National Military Family Association is grateful that Army leadership is seeking input from Army families as they consider the future of family support programs. We want to hear from you. What programs do you feel are most important to your family? Please tell us by visiting our Facebook page.

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