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European Command to Host Quality of Life Conference

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2000 – U.S. European Command's new commander-in-chief is zeroing in on quality of life.

Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston is hosting the Senior Enlisted Advisor's Quality of Life Subject Matter Expert Conference July 11 to 14 in Stuttgart, Germany. This "cutting edge effort," he said, is designed to help the command "clearly and directly" communicate the command's perspectives on quality of life and readiness issues to national leaders and policy makers.

Theater leaders from the command's Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Special Operations commands will share ideas, develop issues, shape policy and provide critical information for priority list development and input to senior defense leaders.

Ralston, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who assumed command May 2, and his wife, Dede, attended the first DoD Military Family Forum hosted by Defense Secretary William S. Cohen here May 31. At the forum, he noted that in the short time he's been in Europe, he's already targeted the need to focus on an issue affecting military families in Europe.

"Many of our young families in the States participate in the WIC [Women, Infants, Children] program, but as soon as they go to Europe... they are no longer eligible," he said. DoD officials are looking at this issue, he said, but it shouldn't take "$6 million and 18 months" to set up an administration to look at it. "I think we can do better than that."

This year's conference follows a series of conferences developed to help the command identify quality of life issues and determine the appropriate command focus, European Command officials said. Both Senior Enlisted Advisor and Subject Matter Expert conferences were conducted in 1998. This year, the command combined both in a forum to generate synergy in evaluating the command quality-of-life programs and services.

Senior enlisted advisors, their spouses and command subject matter experts, including component headquarters staff as well as installation staff directors, will join forces to evaluate command quality of life programs and services. Attendance is by invitation only.

For more information on the conference, go to: http://www.eucom.mil/hq/ecj1/qol/index.htm. [link no longer available]

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