|HONOLULU , Hawaii - The deputy director of Army Installation Management in the Pacific Region told those attending a training conference in Waikiki that the way family support services for all of the military community are delivered must undergo positive change.
“As we look forward, the impact of mobilization and deployment, reshaping of the military, transformation, modularity, Joint Visions 2020, it is certain that the way we deliver family support must also undergo change to support the new more mobile and integrated military,” said Col. Yvette Kelley, deputy director.
Military officials, in concert with civilian agencies, are developing a Multi-Component Family Support Network intended to establish a comprehensive multi-agency approach for community support and services to meet the diverse needs of Active, mobilized Guard and Reserve service members and their families. In Hawaii and the Pacific area, this program has expanded to include all service branches and is called the Joint Service Family Support Network (JSFSN).
The conference marked the official kick-off event for the JSFSN pilot program, and included family support staff from all components of the Army, the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force (including Air Guard) and Coast Guard. The participants included representatives the mainland, Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa. Representatives from TriWest Healthcare Alliance (TRICARE) and Military One Source also participated.
Officials are developing ways to address the diverse needs of all military families regardless of whether they reside near or far from military facilities. The idea is to leverage multiple systems to deliver services to geographically dispersed families. This, according to officials, could be especially meaningful for those families living in areas such Guam, American Samoa and neighboring Hawaiian Islands.
We must look for ways to mitigate gaps in services and to be more efficient,” Col. Kelley said. “With your help, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and eventually the entire
Department of Defense will be better prepared to meet the challenges of providing family support across the services.”
Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, Chief of the Army Reserves said the initiative coincides with Joint operations on the battlefield.
“What you are doing here, in my estimation, has tremendous potential,” Helmly said.
Maj. Gen. (P) Eric T. Olson, deputy commander, Pacific Command said longer and more frequent deployments are putting additional stress on families.
Having been the Combined Joint Task Force 78 Commander in Afghanistan last year, Olson, during closing remarks said he understands how important organized family support is to Soldiers.
If a Soldier knows his or her family is being taken care of, Olson said, they do their job much better thus allowing a commander to complete the mission.
“My heart tells me we need to keep moving in the direction you all are going,” Olson said.
The JSFSN project is still in the pilot and evaluation stage, but, if approved by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center, It will be implemented January 2006.
Family programs currently offered by all military services would continue to exist, but there would be consistency as to what baseline services would be offered for Soldiers and their families at each site.
Conference organizers say the JSFSN approach would complement existing family programs by further mobilizing civilian and military communities.
(For additional information contact IMA, PARO Public Affairs at (808) 438-0650)