Support Groups Vital to Military

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2007 - Following President Bush's recent announcement on the new strategy for Iraq, Defense Department officials have emphasized the importance of heightened support to military families throughout the nation.

Michael L. Dominguez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, met Jan. 11 with 22 support organizations to discuss how to further help military families.

"As additional forces deploy in support of the new strategies in Iraq, programs and policies at home will immediately respond to the needs of families," Dominguez said. "These families will need grassroots support, as many are National Guard and reserve and are distributed across many states rather than on or near military installations."

Dominguez recognized that military families play an important role in national security. "(Support organizations) deliver services so essential and capture information about what needs to be done. I asked you to attend today to hear your ideas," he said.

"Military families also serve," he said, as he asked the organizations for their continued support. "They have a patriotic and noble spirit, but their sacrifices are greater than ever with change in deployments."

The Defense Department is first targeting ways to address the needs of family members of the Minnesota National Guard. The state is the first affected by the new war strategy. Identical services also will be provided to later affected communities.

Military family assistance counselors will provide ongoing support by coordinating local resources, identifying needed services, and helping spouses and children to develop coping strategies, Dominguez said.

To better help families of servicemembers, DoD has dedicated a section on the "Military OneSource" Web site,, to community and military support organizations. Groups can announce events on the site that help connect families with support groups within their communities.

Although family issues such as financial stability and emotional challenges are being addressed, focus is also being put on child care and child well-being.

In addition to Military OneSource, the DoD's America Supports You program serves as a conduit for connecting individuals to service organizations. The program has more than 230 grassroots support groups dedicated to providing for the needs of servicemembers and their families available through its Web site,

Organizations present at the meeting were:

-- Air Force Association,
-- American Red Cross,
-- American Legion,
-- Armed Services YMCA,
-- Army Emergency Relief,
-- Association of the U.S. Army,
-- Boys and Girls Clubs of America,
-- Enlisted Association of the National Guard,
-- Fleet Reserve Association,
-- Marine Corps Reserve Association,
-- Marine Corps League,
-- Military Officers Association of America,
-- National Association for Uniformed Services,
-- National Enlisted Reserve Association,
-- National Guard Association of America,
-- National Military Family Association,
-- Navy League of the United States,
-- Navy Marine Corps Relief Society,
-- Noncommissioned Officers Association of the United States of America,
-- Reserve Officers Association,
-- United Service Organizations, and
-- Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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