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
Courtesy photo by Tim Brumbeloe

‘I Will Wait’ Tells Stories of Generations of Military Spouses

WASHINGTON — America sends its sons and daughters to war, and a new play titled “I Will Wait” looks at the effect of these deployments across the generations. The brainchild of Amy Uptgraft, the play connects the experien...
 
 
DoD
Equality_pict

Women’s Equality Day commemorates history, bridges future leaders

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, not only commemorates the ratification of the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment — which solidified women’s voting rights — but it also coincides with...
 
 
DoD
ArmyDepot

Army Depot explosion in Japan remains under investigation

WASHINGTON — The cause of an explosion and the resulting large fire at a storage building early today at the Army’s Sagami General Depot in Sagamihara City, Japan, remains under investigation, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt....
 

 
DoD
Lockheed_pict

Lockheed’s Legion Pod: Five fast facts

At Lockheed Martin, our targeting systems and sensors have a long history of innovation. Since the 1970s, we’ve utilized internal investment and pre-planned product improvement programs to provide warfighters with the latest ...
 
 
DoD

DOD awards contract for electronic health records

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The award of the new modernization contract for electronic health records is a great opportunity to “save money, save time, and most importantly, save lives,” said Christopher A. Miller, the Defense Healthcare Management Systems program executive officer. In a culmination of a more than two-year effort, the Defense Department today awarded a...
 
 
DoD

Air Force offers assistance to PII hack victims

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force maintains its commitment to protect personal information from cyber threats by continuing efforts with the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management to assist those impacted by the recent cyber incident involving federal background investigation data. OPM and an interagency response team, including investigators from the FBI and the Depa...
 




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>