America Supports You Program Success Shows Deep Support for Troops
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2007 The Defense Department’s America Supports You program transcends politics in its mission to support the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, a senior defense official said today in an appearance on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" program.
“I think we have a great history of that through our America Supports You program,” Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison, said. “Over the past two and a half years, we’ve seen hundreds and thousands of people who say, ‘We’ll debate the policy of the (Iraq) war in a certain venue, but we will never, ever debate the important piece of whether or not we support the people who fight our wars.’”
America Supports You is a Defense Department program launched in fall 2004 to highlight and facilitate the ways Americans and the corporate sector are supporting the nation’s servicemembers. “America Supports You is all about the people,” Barber said.
Despite negative news coverage about the war in Iraq, the success of the America Supports You Web program is evidence that people continue to support the troops, Barber said.
“Over two and a half years ago our troops were hearing things in the media and seeing things that made them question if the folks back home were still supporting them,” she said. “Because of those questions, the Department of Defense launched … the America Supports You program.”
More than 250 groups now are taking part in the program, doing various things for the troops from sending care packages to donating frequent flyer miles to building homes for wounded servicemembers, she said. Barber said people can learn more about these groups and how to get involved by visiting the America Supports You Web site.
In addition, private citizens have stood up an America Supports You fund to raise money for participating America Supports You groups. “And also to help our Guard and reserve members who have so many unique needs,” she said.
Barber said she is confident the American people have always supported the troops. But because of poor communication channels, the troops did not always get the message.
“It was just a disconnect,” she said. “We saw great things happening here on the home front, and we needed a way to communicate that directly to our troops, and that’s what we do through the America Supports You program.”