Community assistance applies the skills, capabilities, and resources of the Army to the needs and interests of America and local communities. Supporting and participating in events and activities that benefit the Army and the civilian community build on a long tradition of America's Army helping American communities. Community assistance can have a largescale impact because active component, National Guard, and Army Reserve units are located in thousands of towns and cities across the nation. What a command does, or fails to do, for the community will affect the attitudes of the American people, upon whom the Army depends for its support and existence. Every commander should identify opportunities to conduct initiatives that meet specific needs, have specific start points and end states, enhance readiness, and advance the interests of the nation, the Army, and local communities.
|America's Army has a long tradition of helping American communities.|
Community assistance projects and operations must enhance the Army's image, have a positive impact on the unit or individual soldier, and contribute to the common good of the nation and local communities. Army commanders must be sure that their initiatives are not competitive with local resources or services, do not benefit any particular interest group, and will not result in monetary or service remuneration in any form. Army commanders located OCONUS may find these principles useful in fostering their established relationships with adjoining host nation commanders. However, they must consider applicable CINC guidelines and host nation laws and agreements before implementing community assistance programs.
Commanders should take an active interest in their relationships with civilian officials, encouraging appropriate community assistance programs. Establishing long-term, harmonious, productive relationships with national, state, and community officials can significantly benefit both the Army and the nation's civilian communities.
Community assistance activities increase public awareness and understanding of the Army, inspire patriotism, and enhance the Army's reputation as a good neighbor. They positively influence public opinion toward the Army while also enhancing the combat readiness of the organization. They help build unit morale and esprit de corps. Community assistance activities are an excellent opportunity for soldiers to serve as role models, which not only enhances recruiting but motivates other soldiers. These activities promote their self-esteem and further their sense of service to the nation.
Community assistance activities should enhance individual and unit combat readiness. They should make the best use of assets and foster a positive training environment where soldiers can become involved in realistic, handson training opportunities. Whenever possible, community assistance projects should exercise individual soldier skills, encourage teamwork, challenge leader planning and coordination skills, and result in measurable, positive accomplishments. Finally, they should enable a unit to use its equipment, providing training opportunities that increase operator proficiency.
Community assistance activities should contribute to the health and welfare of the nation and local communities, making the Army an integral partner in progress and development. These activities enhance the ability of the nation and communities to provide the best possible services to the citizenry. They promote a positive, healthy, safe environment, as well as an understanding of the basic principles, values, and ideals upon which America is built. This results in increased awareness of America's history and the Army's role in a continuously changing world.
|During the summer of 1992, units from the 89th US Army Reserve Command helped a nonprofit, community action organization in Kansas City, Kansas, lift, transport, and relocate 81 houses from Fort Leavenworth to the Kansas City area to provide housing for elderly, handicapped, and lower income families.|
Because the Army belongs to the American people, it should support only events and activities of common interest and benefit. Commanders should avoid providing assistance and support to one sponsor that it cannot also provide to other sponsors. Army assistance should not selectively benefit any person, group, or corporation, whether profit or nonprofit, religious or sectarian, ideological or quasireligious, fraternal, political, or commercial.
Army community assistance projects should not compete with resources and services commercially available in the community. Commanders must not authorize assistance activities when local businesses can provide the same or similar assistance and support.
|Assistance projects must be noncompetitive and nonprofit.|
Army support for or participation in community assistance activities cannot be provided on a for monetary-profit basis. Commanders must ensure that no Army person or unit realizes a monetary profit, a gratuity, or a remuneration in any form not provided for by public law or regulation.
Community assistance activities can be national efforts focused on developing public support for the Army and its contribution to the nation. They can also be state or local community efforts focused on improving the community, its infrastructure, and its ability to serve the local population. Both types improve the lives of American citizens, foster the values and purposes of democracy, and give the American people hope and confidence in a changing world.
The goal of national efforts is to develop an open, cooperative relationship between the Army and the American people. National efforts take advantage of the technical, vocational, and group skills of military professionals to enhance the lives of American people. They supplement programs available in the civilian sector and through other government agencies, not replace them. They provide opportunities for the Army to contribute to the growth and welfare of the nation, improving its perception of the Army, its capabilities, and its personnel. Army and DOD regulations provide detailed guidance on national effort programs. Examples of national efforts are described in the following paragraphs.
Public Works Maintenance and Management
The Army exercises its federal engineering executive oversight responsibilities through the US Army Corps of Engineers. The USACE manages myriad components of the nation's public works infrastructure. Executed principally, but not solely, through the civil works directorate, this unique Army national assistance program has developed an integrated understanding of complex federal, state, and local regulations and policies governing the national infrastructure, the national waterways, environmental remediation and recovery operations, real estate, disaster recovery operations, and general project management functions. The Army's efforts help maintain and improve the nation's infrastructure. Many federal, state, and local agencies engage the USACE on a reimbursable basis when they lack the expertise to manage the engineering dynamics of a particular project.
Army involvement in a wide variety of national assistance programs focuses on economic and social issues having national security implications. Large segments of our society face an unfulfilling lifetime of marginal existence, creating the potential for disorder in our nation. Army participation in programs designed to provide the nation's citizens opportunities to fulfill their potential is effective use of our resources and capabilities. Examples of national assistance programs in place or under consideration are described below.
Civilian Community Corps. This program provides managerial, organizational, and technical skills for disadvantaged Americans seeking the skills they need to succeed. Through this program, the Army helps participants become productive citizens. In exchange, participants perform a wide range of community service activities that improve the foundation of American society. This program encourages intragovernmental cooperation on the federal level. It also encourages partnerships with industry, education, state, federal, and local governments.
Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration (STARBASE) Program. This program is an innovative partnership of professional educators, military personnel, and corporate sponsors. It promotes science, mathematics, and technology basics for primary through secondary schools. Using NG resources to spark student interest, the program develops strong self-esteem, provides excellent role models, promotes positive attitudes, and develops goal-setting skills.
Civilian Youth Opportunities Program (Challenge). This is a youth program directed at attaining a high school diploma, providing job training and placement, improving personal and social skills, and providing health and hygiene education and physical training. Soldiers work with civilian leaders to provide a comprehensive support package, ranging from choosing appropriate clothing to attending residential training facilities.
Drug Demand Reduction Programs. These are activities in which soldiers work with community agencies and organizations to reach at-risk individuals. Program activities include presentations on drug awareness and prevention, sponsorship of drug-free activities and events, leadership camps, fitness programs, and cultural exchange programs. One of the specific programs in this general category is the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program. Military police provide instructor support to law enforcement agencies teaching elementary students how to stay drug-free. This support is provided either on or off military installations based on the requests of local law enforcement agencies.
Youth Physical Fitness Clinic Program. The National Guard encourages fitness and combines academic and athletic achievement by helping schools conduct competitions in selected athletic events. This program also establishes a separate scholar-athlete category for those students with a 3.5 or higher grade point average.
|Crews from the 57th Medical Command (Air Ambulance), 1st Corps Support Command, Fort Bragg, provide emergency rescue support to the local community. In March 1993, they responded to a call to assist two 19-year-old canoeists who had been forced to climb a tree after losing their boat in the rampaging waters of the Eno River near Durham, North Carolina, which was swollen as a result of three inches of rain.|
Medical Readiness Program. The Medical Readiness Program is an activity in which Army medical unit personnel, together with state medical emergency officials, plan and provide support in the form of diagnosis, treatment, and preventive medical, dental, and veterinary care to citizens in remote areas of the US or its territories. The program is designed to enhance the unit's medical readiness, provide unit training opportunities, and serve the public in locations where medical care is not otherwise available. The program may not compete with local private medical care that may be available.
Air Ambulance Participation. The Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) Program is a proven example of Army support to civil authorities. This program permits the utilization of Army aviation assets to conduct emergency air evacuation and recovery efforts.
When directed, the Army provides support to national events and activities that promote the image of the country. Examples of such missions include support to national and international supporting events such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl, or political events such as the Presidential inauguration and other national celebrations and commemorations.
|Fort Eustis started a pilot program in 1992 called Operation Self-Enhancement to give high-risk middle school students the opportunity to visit the post and focus on careers, teamwork, and self-esteem. The program was so successful that it has become an annual event. Students receive light military training through an array of "testable" tasks and obstacles presented by members of a cadre team. This training helps students build their self-esteem and self confidence and affords them the opportunity to interact with positive role models.|
The guiding principle behind state and local efforts is that the installation and the community have a common interest in providing the best possible support for each other. A cooperative relationship exists, because soldiers stationed at the installation receive life support from the community while many of the civilians who make up the community receive life support from the installation. The interdependence of the military installation and the civilian community can involve economics, education, health care, basic services, quality-of-life issues, and many others.
The goal of local commanders should be to develop an open, mutually satisfactory, cooperative relationship between the installation and the community. Good state and local efforts improve the community's perception of the Army, the installation and the soldiers, family members, and civilians who are part of the installation.
Commanders should consider appointing a committee or small agency to act as a clearing house for community assistance requests. This committee might be headed by the garrison commander or Director of Plans, Training, and Mobilization (DPTM). It should include the public affairs officer, the staff judge advocate, the chaplain, and representatives from the Directorate of Resource Management (DRM), the Directorate of Installation Support (DIS), and the Directorate of Personnel and Community Activities (DPCA). Units that play a major role in the activity should be represented. Key community leaders should also be invited to serve on this committee. A diagram depicting a typical flow of community assistance requests through command channels and the assistance committee is at Figure 8-1.
Many community activities and efforts can be established in a more formalized manner. These efforts permit both the installation and local community to expand and enhance their services to their respective residence. Examples of these efforts are explained in the following paragraphs.
Memoranda Of Agreement (MOA) or Memoranda Of Understanding
An installation or organization can enter into an agreement with the local community to provide critical services not available in the community, to augment community services unable to meet demand, or to ensure that emergency services are available in the shortest possible time. Examples include arrangements to provide air ambulance support, search and rescue, firefighting capability, explosive ordnance disposal, emergency or broad-based medical care, wildlife and domestic animal management, assistance in safety and traffic control, emergency snow removal, and temporary supplemental housing for the displaced or disadvantaged.
Speakers are an especially effective means of developing understanding of the Army and stimulating patriotic spirit. They inform the public about the activities of the installation, its units, and its soldiers. Commanders should establish an installation speakers bureau and encourage soldiers of all ranks to participate in the program.
Maintaining liaison through informal community relations councils can enhance open communications with community officials and organizations. Councils have a variety of responsibilities, such as developing and promoting new ways for members of the command to participate actively in local community activities and resolving potential and actual areas of conflict. Community liaison can also recognize, with public service awards, private citizens, local community leaders, citizen groups, and organizations for their support of the Army. Commands can further community liaison through membership in civic, business, and professional organizations when the goals and objectives of those organizations are beneficial to the Army and their programs and projects are consistent with Army interests.
Band, Color Guard, and other Ceremonial Unit Participation
Participating in public events and memorials is an excellent way to accomplish community relations objectives. These representatives of the Army serve as ambassadors to the civilian community and promote patriotism, interest in the Army, and awareness of our forces' professionalism.
|Elements of the 489th Engineer Battalion, 420th Engineer Brigade USAR), helped a rural community near Little Rock, Arkansas, plan, develop, and build a local recreational area for the general public.|
Exhibits and displays of Army equipment, historical materials, models, devices, and other information can enhance understanding of the Army and the installation. They can also promote patriotism and educate the public. They provide an excellent opportunity for interaction between our soldiers and members of the local community, communicating the professionalism, readiness, and standards of our forces.
Community service physical improvements focus on ensuring that the physical infrastructure is as safe as possible and provides the fullest possible range of support to the population. These activities encompass a wide range of programs that do not compete with the services provided by contractors and businesses in the local civilian community. Examples include--
Community service social improvements, which focus on making the social environment as healthy as possible, provide the widest range of support to the population. They encompass myriad projects, including--
Figure 8-1. Community Assistance Request Flow
|The Fort Sill Public Affairs Office has worked with the local community college to establish an intern program for students in the communications and journalism programs. The students receive credit for work they do in the installation PAO office, providing the college with a valuable education asset and the students with an opportunity to get real-world experience in their academic fields.|
Commanders should consider the contributions that all organizations and personnel associated with their installation can make in community assistance activities. For example, Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) cadets may be a valuable resource for participating in or supervising selected community assistance projects. ROTC cadets, particularly those in the final two years of training, can gain valuable leadership experience by participating in community activities. Communities will benefit from the dedication of intelligent, reliable, and energetic future Army leaders in their community efforts.
Another example of Army personnel that can contribute to community assistance activities is Army recruiters who are dispersed throughout the United States. These noncommissioned officers serve as positive role models and leaders who may be called on to assist in DOD-approved community activities as recruiting duties permit. Specific programs executed by Army recruiters include--
Almost all community assistance activities are conducted in public view. For this reason, PA officers are a valuable resource for commanders involved in community assistance activities. They can provide advice and assistance in determining the propriety, suitability, and appropriate level of support to be provided. They are experienced in working with civilian leaders and organizations and in planning and conducting programs involving the civilian community. They should be part of the commander's community assistance committee.
Army participation in community service activities is limited by law, regulation, and policy. Commanders must consider the objective and purpose of the proposed community assistance. They must consider the limitations under which Army participation in community assistance activities is authorized. They should ensure the SJA is an important element in the consideration and development of any community assistance programs.
Participation in community assistance activities is an effective method for projecting a positive Army image, making the best use of assets, providing alternative training opportunities, and enhancing the relationship between the Army and the American public. Activities vary widely, ranging from individual soldier involvement to full Army participation. They are characterized by detailed coordination between the military command and community authorities. They fulfill community needs that would not otherwise be met, enhance soldier and unit morale, skills, and readiness, and improve the mutual support between the military and civilian communities.