DoD

August 8, 2013

MWR officials urge furloughed civilians to tap programs

WASHINGTON — With furloughs now in full swing and many Defense Department civilian employees finding themselves with more time on their hands but less money in their pockets, morale, welfare and recreation officials are encouraging them to check out some of the programs offered right where they work.

Every military service provides fitness, recreational and educational services, often at no charge or for significantly less than one might pay just outside an installation’s gates, Ed Miles, DOD’s MWR policy director, told American Forces Press Service.

The underlying goal of the MWR program is to give military members and their families, as well as military retirees, a safe, affordable outlet to reduce stress and build physical, mental and emotional strength and resilience, Miles said.

“We have a direct impact on the readiness and retention and resilience of the troops,” he said. “Without a healthy and fit force, there could be national security implications.”

So whenever possible, the services extend their morale, welfare and recreational offerings to DOD civilian employees, whom they recognize as essential contributors to their missions, Miles said.

“Wherever we have capacity to accommodate them, we encourage civilians to use these programs,” he said. “That’s not only during sequestration. We welcome them all the time.”

It’s too soon to tell if the civilian workforce is taking greater advantage of MWR facilities and programs since sequestration kicked in, but Miles said he’s expecting an uptick.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see usage go up — not just because the rates are lower, but because making use of these facilities is so convenient,” he said.

A common access card gives DOD civilian employees access to free or low-cost use of base fitness centers, swimming pools, libraries, movie theaters, bowling alleys, clubs, arts-and-craft centers, auto repair shops, golf courses, campgrounds, shooting ranges, beaches and marinas.

Depending on the location, DOD civilians also can rent camping, boating, snorkeling, skiing and other outdoor gear at their base outdoor recreation office. They can visit the installation tickets and tours office to buy discount tickets to civilian movie theaters, theme parks and travel and tour packages.

Some civilian employees may not realize they’re also qualified to rent the recreational campgrounds, cabins, cottages, trailers and trailer or recreational vehicle parks with hook-ups found on many military installations.

For the most part, a civilian or military identification card provides access to services and programs not just where the member works, but also at other installations, even those of another service, Miles said.

That extends to the crown jewels of the MWR program: Armed Forces Recreation Center resorts at popular vacation spots. All run by the Army but open to military and civilian employees from every service, these include Shades of Green on the grounds of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.; the Hale Koa in Honolulu; the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany; and the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, South Korea.

The Navy runs a similar resort-type facility, the New Sanno Hotel, in Tokyo. In addition, the Air Force has a partnership with Keystone Resort, Colo., to offer discounts at Rocky Mountain Blue, with a variety of lodging options and recreational discounts.

Like everything across the Defense Department, morale, welfare and recreation programs are getting close scrutiny as officials look for ways to cut costs. While officials strive to preserve the services offered, Miles acknowledged that in the future, costs could go up, hours could be reduced and programs not directly linked to military readiness could even fall by the wayside.

But in the meantime, he is encouraging civilian employees to make the most of the furlough situation by tapping the morale, welfare and recreation program.

“MWR is here for them,” he said. “There’s no better time than now to check out what’s available.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
DoD

New ‘peer’ consultation service debuts at Military OneSource

WASHINGTON – A “peer-to-peer” specialty consultation service that began June 15 offered by Military OneSource is the newest resource to support and connect service members and their families with professionals who understand the military life, a Defense Department personnel and readiness official said. In an interview with DoD News, Air Force Lt. Col. Tammy S....
 
 
DoD

DOD launches Integrated Lodging Program Pilot

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Defense Department will launch an Integrated Lodging Program Pilot June 15, which will provide quality government and commercial lodging, with greater safety and security and better services at reduced rates. Travelers TDY, for 30 days or less, to select DOD locations will be directed to book lodging in the Defense Travel...
 
 
DoD
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis)

DoD helps protect beneficiaries from deceptive pharmacy practices

WASHINGTON – In the face of recent aggressive and deceptive marketing practices of some compounding pharmacies targeting TRICARE, the Defense Health Agency is taking aggressive action to help TRICARE beneficiaries, DHA’s ch...
 

 
DoD

Tips for surviving PCS season

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Illinois – Preparation for the upcoming peak moving season for service members has begun and officials in charge of the Department of Defense’s household goods moving program, the Defense Personal Property Program, want to remind everyone that the summer months can be a challenging time for moving. “We know moving can...
 
 
DoD

General Breedlove: Russia now taking ‘Different Path’

WASHINGTON – The West assumed the best of Russia once the Cold War ended, but Russian President Vladimir Putin had other plans and NATO must remain strong in face of the threat from the East, Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove said here yesterday. Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. European...
 
 
DoD

Official provides update on combat jobs for women

WASHINGTON – Since the Defense Department rescinded a 1994 policy that excluded women from serving in direct ground combat positions, the services have opened about 91,000 jobs to female service members, the Joint Staff’s vice director said here today. Air Force Maj. Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost spoke at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>