The Bayonet

Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2014

Sex-offender registry among top AFAP issues

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WASHINGTON — While the Army is aware of the status of every Soldier convicted of a sex offense, no such searchable database exists that identifies convicted sex-offender family members and Army civilians that may live and work on Army installations.

An individual stationed in Baumholder, Germany, in 2005, wondered why none existed, and submitted an issue to the garrison Army Family Action Plan conference. The issue sought to establish a convicted sex-offender registry for anyone holding a Defense Department identification card. The status of resolving the issue was reviewed by the AFAP General Officer Steering Committee, or AFAP GOSC, which met Feb. 19, at the Pentagon Conference Center.

One person can make the Army stronger, said Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell, who chairs the AFAP GOSC, which meets twice a year to discuss issues generated by Soldiers, Army civilians, retirees, survivors and Families.

“Our responsibility as a leadership group is to make sure that any issues are brought forward, that we provide some sort of answer,” he said.

Campbell suggested that a good alternative to airing grievances to the civilian media would be to bring them to the attention of senior leaders for resolution via the Army Family Action Plan.

The way to do that is to visit the AFAP issue submission site, where the problem can be stated, along with a proposed solution. The site is: www.myarmyonesource.he site is: https://www.myarmyonesource.com/familyprogramsandservices/familyprograms/armyfamilyactionplan/default.aspx.

Christina Vine, program analyst, Soldier Family Readiness Division, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, explained what happens after the information enters the site.

Issues first surface at installations and non-installation-based units such as those in the Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve. Issues that cannot be resolved at the installation or unit level are submitted to Headquarters, Department of the Army. HQDA validates that the issue does not have a resolution already in place. These issues are then provided to select Army commands where a cross section of representatives prioritize the top issues. The issues are prioritized with no outside influence from senior leaders. The issues maintain their grassroots process from beginning to end as the voice of the Army.

There are currently 11 issues being actively worked by the Army staff. The status of the issues’ resolution are reviewed by the AFAP GOSC. The AFAP GOSC is composed of representatives from Office of the Secretary of Defense, the sergeant major of the Army, and various members of the Army’s primary staff, senior commanders and command sergeants majors and corps command sergeants majors. The GOSC members review the slate of issues and determine if the issues will remain active or will be closed as complete or unattainable.

Some issues that are categorized as “active” require congressional legislation and it can take more than two years for the law to pass, Vine said. Other issues are categorized as “unattainable.” One issue put forward by the Army National Guard sought to authorize transportation and per diem for service members’ Families to attend Family therapy sessions in residential treatment settings.

The Army’s Office of the Surgeon General actively worked the issue, Vine said. However, OTSG determined that there was no definitive data to validate the recommendation. But rather than just reject the issue, the vice chief directed the Guard to educate family members on other ways to mitigate financial issues such as using Army Emergency Relief loans.

While not every issue becomes a reality, Vine said “you won’t know unless you submit your issue.”

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