Officials Seek Input to Update MWR Services
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 20, 2011 Defense Department officials intend to use input gained from customer satisfaction surveys to bolster Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs and meet the up-to-date needs of service members and their families, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy said today.
Officials are electronically sending 600,000 surveys to military installations worldwide, Robert L. Gordon III said. The survey is the first of its kind to collect input from all components of the U.S. military, including National Guardsmen and reservists, he added.
The survey includes 135 questions that address a range of offerings from fitness centers to libraries, and automotive services to leisure activities.
Officials hope to have survey data returned in about three weeks, Gordon said.
“If [service members] can turn it around quickly, we can soon understand how we’re doing and see how we can get better,” he said. Sent randomly, the survey takes about 20 minutes to complete, he added, and the answers are kept confidential and anonymous.
“We want to get a sense of exactly what our service members and their families are using [at MWR] so we can tailor it to our multigenerational force,” Gordon said.
Recognizing the differences in multigenerational needs is essential to members of the armed forces, he noted.
“The younger service members might use different types of equipment in our fitness centers [than older troops], and library services is another area where our millennial generation –- ages 18 to 29 -- is more likely to use online service, while others use books,” he said.
The MWR survey does not include data from family members since valid contact information was not available for them. Because of this, Gordon emphasized that service members should keep their families in mind when filling out the survey.
“Don’t just think about yourself,” he said, “Think about your families. It’s important because we want to make sure your families have access to the very best services that we can provide them.”
Gordon noted the need for survey data. “In our last survey, we were able to pinpoint that our fitness centers were an area of concern for our service members and families, so we focused on that in terms of improvement across the force, and we intend to do the same with this survey.
“If you get it, please fill it out quickly, and know that your opinion counts and will make MWR better for you and your family members,” he added. “Quality of life is important to us.”