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Home : News : News
NEWS | Nov. 6, 2018

JBSA members give input on quality of life issues at Armed Forces Action Plan forum

By David DeKunder 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base San Antonio members studied, discussed and recommended action to be taken on several quality of life issues brought forth by service members at the Armed Forces Action Plan forum held Oct. 29-Nov. 1 at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

During the four-day forum, four workgroups consisting of 11 delegates each selected from installation and tenant commands throughout JBSA reviewed issues concerning quality of life, readiness, morale, health, mental health and youth opportunities at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center, which hosted the forum.

A total of 26 issues brought forth were selected to be reviewed and discussed by workgroups at the forum. Delegates from each of the four workgroups – family support, force support, military health and teen support – reviewed and discussed the issues designated for their workgroups.

In her introductory remarks Oct. 29, Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander, said the forum gives JBSA members the opportunity to take action to improve the quality of life issues that are important to them.

“What I love about Armed Forces Action Plan is the focus on action,” Lenderman said. “We’ve gathered an incredible group of people here today who are not satisfied with the status quo. Our AFAP team is committed to taking action to improve our JBSA community.’”

Each workgroup selected and prioritized their top two quality of life issues for senior JBSA leadership to act on and resolve, making a total of eight issues from the forum that were prioritized for action.

On Nov. 1 in the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC auditorium, the workgroups presented their recommendations to a panel of JBSA leaders, including Lenderman; Rear Adm. Tina Davidson, commander, Navy Medicine Education, Training and Logistics Command; and Robert Naething, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) deputy to the commanding general.

As each workgroup presented their reports, the panel of JBSA senior leaders asked spokespersons from each group about their recommendations and made comments pertaining to the quality of life issues recommended for further action.

Some of the issues workgroups recommended for action and resolution by JBSA leaders included extending provisions of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, which addresses educational issues encountered by schoolchildren of transitioning service members, beyond the current 12-month time period coverage; allowing Department of Defense civilians shopping privileges to installation commissaries and exchanges; extending tele-health capabilities for behavior analysis therapy services for transitioning military family members; and initiating one-on-one military youth mentorship programs in schools with peer support, encouraging schoolchildren of service members to talk to peers about any issues or problems they have.

Lenderman thanked the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC staff who put on the forum and the delegates who participated in it.

“These events are so important,” Lenderman said. “We appreciate your valuable time and commitment to serving our community. Keep coming back and sharing your ideas.”

Leroy Shelvin, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC community readiness specialist, said the 26 issues brought forth at the forum, including the eight prioritized for action by the workgroups, will be reviewed by an executive steering committee headed by Col. Samuel Fiol, 502nd Force Support Group commander, to see if any of the issues can be acted upon or resolved.

Capt. Timothy Burnett, 106th Signal Brigade behavioral health officer, was a delegate for the military health support workgroup. He said the AFAP process allows JBSA members to look at quality of life issues that aren’t getting a lot of attention.

“I think it’s a good process where we can look at issues that a lot of people might not realize, or are not tracking, that affect a lot of family members,” Burnett said.

Victoria Abner, who presented the final report for the teen support workgroup, had favorable comments about the AFAP forum.

“AFAP is a powerful process that has made a significant difference for over 35 years by providing the people’s perspective,” Abner said. “It is a grassroots process which enables leaders to make education decisions that foster satisfied, informed and resilient communities. This was a great event and we look forward to doing it again next year.”

Started in 1983, the AFAP program has led to hundreds of legislative, regulatory and policy changes concerning over 600 issues that came out of forums throughout the military.

Each of the workgroups were supported by subject matter experts, who wrote issue papers and provided information on designated issues submitted to the workgroup and were a resource to delegates, and a Facilitators, Recorders, Transcribers, or FRTI, support team made up of JBSA staff members and community volunteers.