– By MAJ Deb Cisney, AW2 Operations –
They did it! The 2008 AW2 Symposium delegates used their personal experiences to tell the Army how to improve care for Soldiers and Families. Two and a half weeks ago, 74 AW2 Soldiers and Family members rolled up their sleeves and put their hearts, minds and souls together. This dedicated group spent a week in six different focus group rooms, working through the issues that were submitted to this year’s AW2 Symposium. After much gnashing of teeth and shedding of blood (figuratively), sweat and tears (literally)… the final issues were presented to LTG Rochelle, and other senior Army leaders. It was a job well done!
I am MAJ Deb Cisney and as a member of the AW2 Operations Staff my primary focus is to ensure that the final Symposium issues are addressed by senior leaders throughout our Army, the Department of Defense, and Congress. I am truly honored to serve all of you in this manner.
The top five prioritized 2008 AW2 Symposium Issues are (drum roll, please!):
1.) Alternative Treatment Options for Wounded Warriors–Authorize and fund alternative treatment options for Wounded Warriors.
2.) Support Groups and Counseling for Wounded Warrior Families–Establish an inspectable Wounded Warrior Family Counseling Program including support groups facilitated by clinically trained behavioral health professionals.
3.) Continuation on Active Duty (COAD) and Continuation of Active Reserve (COAR) Process–Authorize Soldiers 90 days instead of 10 days to finalize their COAD/COAR decision and provide mandatory COAD/COAR counseling during the PEB process by someone other than the PEB Liaison Officer.
4.) Treatment of Continuation on Active Duty (COAD)/Continuation on Active Reserve (COAR) Soldiers by the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB)–Exclude all communication of COAD/COAR preference from the PEB Liaison Officer until completion of PEB process and remove block 16 on DA Form 3947.
5.) Eligibility Criteria for Warrior Transition Units (WTU)–Implement stringent eligibility criteria for entrance into and retention within the Warrior Transition Units that are standard across the Army and establish a dedicated independent admissions board comprised of health care professionals to monitor eligibility and retention of Warriors in Transition in order to provide checks and balances.
While these issues were prioritized by the Delegate body as a whole, LTG Rochelle was also briefed on an additional 8 issues to which he paid close attention. Watch for Part 2 of the 2008 AW2 Symposium Issues blog to see where else you told him to go!