Commanders rely on Family Readiness Groups to ensure that the family members of military personnel are taken care of so service members can focus on the mission, particularly during a deployment.
Although FRGs are a commander’s program, they are usually led by the volunteer family members of Soldiers.
According to Army Regulation 608-1, Appendix J, “FRG will provide [the] mutual support and assistance and a network of communications among family members, the chain of command and community resources. FRG will assist unit commanders in meeting military and personal deployment preparedness and enhance [the] family readiness of the unit’s Soldiers and families.”
The previous FRG training program, Operation Resources About Deployment and You, or OPREADY, program was developed after the Persian Gulf War and had been updated periodically during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
OPREADY provided training to FRG members so they would be aware of their responsibilities and duties in meeting a unit’s needs throughout the deployment cycle.
New Pilot Training Available
Installation Management Command has been working to revamp the training for FRGs over the past two years. As the Army transitions to the Sustainable Readiness Model, OPREADY materials are outdated and no longer meet the needs of FRG leaders.
A new program, Readiness Essentials for Army Leaders, or R.E.A.L., is being developed to ‘focus on mission-essential tasks and build on the concept of family readiness,” according to the guidance from IMCOM.
IMCOM has directed Army Community Service centers to provide a pilot R.E.A.L. training program through July.
IMCOM is seeking feedback about the training from FRG members and instructors in order to finalize the R.E.A.L. curriculum and training and formally replace OPREADY.
Pia Morales, Fort Meade’s Mobilization and Deployment Program manager, is providing monthly R.E.A.L. training on the installation. There will be several courses that train FRG leadership to set up, maintain and handle the challenges within the FRG arena and in accordance with the regulation.
Morales said the training is highly recommended for all FRG leaders and will be open to all who want to learn more about the structure of the FRG and requirements for a leadership role.
“I do hope to reach out to the Family Readiness Team, which includes command teams, FRG leaders, Family Readiness liaisons and other key FRG volunteers,” Morales said. “The R.E.A.L. training has evolved from a static presentation and will be discussion-based.
It will also incorporate a new resource, called the Smart Book, which is designed to help meet regulartory inspection requirements.”
Focused On The Mission
The AR 608-1 states that the FRG mission is to “act as an extension of the unit providing official, accurate command information; provide mutual support between the command and FRG membership; advocate efficient use of available community resources; and help families solve problems at the lowest level.”
Morales said R.E.A.L. training focuses on “mission-essential” duties and skills, as these are what the FRG is required to do by regulation in order to ensure family readiness. In the past, FRGs became focused on “non-mission essential” activities, such as providing social events and hosting fundraising activities.
The R.E.A.L. training will help clearly define what the priorities of the FRG should be.
The Army’s goals for FRGs are to help produce “self-reliant and resilient Soldiers and families; become a single point of contact in the unit for FRG members; provide a network of communication between the unit, family and command; mitigate potential risk factors for families; [and] enhance Soldier and family readiness.”
Morales is providing training for the entire readiness team.
Sign up for the R.E.A.L. pilot trainings online. For more information call Pia Morales at ACS at 301-677-5599.