The Defense Department is sponsoring a two-day conference on personal financial management in San Diego, Calif., Dec. 15-16. The conference will focus on financial management issues unique to military members and feature speakers from the research, medical, family advocacy and business communities, as well as a panel of senior enlisted service members. Military exchanges and aid societies also will be represented.
"Personal financial management is a common element that binds all quality of life programs," said Linda K. Smith, director, DoD Office of Family Policy, whose office is hosting the conference. "Our research indicates that we must target our efforts and resources to educate junior members on the value of sound financial planning."
Highlights of the conference include a keynote address by Lt. Gen. Thomas A. Schwartz, commanding general, III Corps and Fort Hood. Schwartz implemented a command financial specialist program in 1996 at Fort Hood, Texas, which resulted in a $2,269,000 reduction in soldier debt between June 1996 and September 1997. Rear Adm. David L. Brewer, commander, Amphibious Group III, will discuss the "Life Skills" program he established to educate young Amphibious Group members about critical financial management issues.
In addition, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Personnel Support, Families and Education Carolyn H. Becraft will be honored by the American Association for Financial Planning and Counseling Education (AFPCE) for DoD's many efforts to educate the military community about personal financial readiness. The DoD conference precedes the annual AFPCE conference.
Smith anticipates about 180 counselors and DoD financial management experts from around the world will attend the DoD conference. Smith has challenged these attendees to target their resources to junior members, to collaborate with other installations and community operations, and to reach out to senior enlisted leadership.