The first-ever Reserve component Family Readiness Strategic Planning Conference is scheduled Sept. 21-23, at the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Arlington, Va. The conference is sponsored by the principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs and the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Personnel Support, Families and Education.
The goal of the conference is to develop a long-range strategic plan to carry out Reserve and National Guard family support initiatives. Conferees will conduct an exhaustive examination of every aspect of family readiness to ensure that all areas of support are being addressed.
"This will be the first-ever gathering of all of the stakeholders involved in National Guard and Reserve family readiness issues," said Charles L. Cragin, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. "We are bringing together servicemembers, family members, family program managers, community support leaders and employers who will help us chart a comprehensive blueprint of family support for the 21st century."
In addition to spouses of junior and senior officer and enlisted personnel, community organizations such as the American Red Cross will be represented, as will the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
"Since implementing the Department of Defense Reserve component family readiness directive a few years ago, we have continued to emphasize the need for Total Force family readiness planning and support," said Cragin.
"This conference will take those efforts to the next higher level. It will build the framework for a comprehensive strategic plan, with clear-cut goals and objectives, so we can ensure that we are meeting all of the needs of our Reserve component families."
In conjunction with the strategic planning conference, a survey is being mailed to spouses of all of the 1,700 Reserve and National Guard personnel currently deployed under the three presidential Selected Reserve call-ups, which include Bosnia, Kosovo and Southwest Asia.
"The survey will provide us with some excellent, real-time feedback from family members who are currently living through the stresses of a deployment," said Cragin. "It will provide a perspective of how they feel they are being treated, as they seek the services to which they are entitled."
For more information, news media representatives may call Lt. Col. Terry Jones, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (OASD/RA) at (703) 695-3620. Department of Defense personnel, military officials and family members may call Col. James Scott, OASD/RA, at (703) 693-7490 or Cmdr. Janet Donovan, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Personnel Support, Families and Education at (703) 696-1702.