03/12/2012
Fort Leavenworth according to the Lamp
Army Family Action Plan conference convenes on top issues
Some of the top issues presented by the Army Family Action Plan conference held in early March included survivor benefits and granting per diem for families to attend therapy sessions according to the Lamp. Top issues were discussed by senior Army senior leaders for four days.
General Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff, noted, "I've been told that since 1983 this forum has raised 501 issues that were resolved. Most importantly, 61 percent of those issues went across the entire Department of Defense. So you're not only helping Army families, you're helping Air Force families, Marine families, Navy families, and Coast Guard families. And I know the Air Force has started this type of forum as well." Odierno continued, "But most importantly you're helping those who come behind us-those families that are maybe just coming into the Army, who don't understand the Army that much, and don't understand what's there. You are setting the stage for them and reaching out to them and making sure our Army is a better place for our Soldiers and our families."
Top issues discussed included extending the death gratuity investment period from the current 12 months to 24 months and providing per diem for families who want to attend therapy sessions. Other issues included the ratio of special staffing for Child, Youth and School Services based on the recommendations of Special Needs Accommodation Process teams as well as providing commissary, MWR benefits and exchange benefits to those veterans who have 10 percent or greater disability. Odierno added regarding the issue discussions, "What we're trying to do within the Army now is not build dependency but build resiliency. We want resilient families. What we ask our Soldiers and our families to do is difficult, but it's also special. So what we want to do is we want to make them able to be resilient, to prove themselves individually so they can add to what I call the collective good." Odierno emphasized that one of the main things the committee was striving for was developing trust. He added, "How do we continue to develop trust between our Soldiers, leaders and our Army that they can know the Army will be here to do what's right for them, that they can know that they will have programs in place to help them to be resilient, to help them build their families, to help them to be more successful in their own individual lives".