Department of the Army Historical Summary: FYs 1990 & 1991
Within the past ten years, "quality of life" and the welfare of the individual soldier and his family have become concerns of the Army leadership to a degree unprecedented in the Army's history. In its early attempts to make the all-volunteer force work, the Army faced a serious problem in retaining qualified personnel because of the relatively low pay, prestige, and standard of living of a military career in the late 1970s. Since then, the Army has worked hard to improve the quality of life facilities, services, and programs for its soldiers, civilians, retirees, and their spouses and children, operating on the philosophy that "The Army enlists soldiers but retains families." The Army has also remained alert to the wishes of Congress, which has shown a keen concern with these issues. These programs also can be expected to play an important role as the Army enters a period of major force reductions.
Central to the emphasis on quality of life during FY 90 and 91 was the Army Communities of Excellence (ACOE) program. Through evaluations and awards to outstanding Army posts, the Army sought to encourage discussion and innovative programs to improve facilities and services at its posts. ACOE especially focused on self-help projects to upgrade barracks, housing areas, and administrative space, as well as to improve courtesy and promptness in service to customers. An ACOE newsletter publicized creative solutions throughout the Army. The Off ice of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (ODCSPER) established its own Community of Excellence award in 1990 to recognize exceptional performance in personnel management and community and family programs. Recipients of the first awards were Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (military personnel service); Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois (civilian personnel service); and Fort Lewis, Washington (soldier and family support services).
One of the major problems that installation commanders faced in their efforts to improve their communities during FY 90 and 91 was the need for suitable family housing. Designed and constructed in the late 1950s and
early 1960s, most Army housing consisted of older, repetitive tract units that lacked some of the updated appliances, fixtures, and other basic amenities provided in current designs. While most had retained their structural integrity, their internal components were often outmoded. Inadequate funding delayed badly needed maintenance and revitalization of most of these aging, often deteriorating units, and Army leaders warned of eve n higher costs in the future if larger appropriations were not forthcoming.
With about $1.5 billion available per year for FY 90 and 91, Army family housing adopted a three-pronged approach to the housing problem. While the Army provided some new construction, notably to meet the heavy demand on Oahu, Hawaii, it kept such construction to a minimum because the Secretary of Defense froze all but the most essential projects in November 1990. Instead, the Army concentrated on maintenance and revitalization of existing structures. It planned to begin its Whole Neighborhood Revitalization Program in FY 92 to bring aging family quarters, as well as utilities and recreational facilities, up to DOD construction standards during a ten-year period. The new program would eliminate backlogs in repair and upgrading, reduce annual operating costs, and extend the useful life of units. Even with revitalization, however, the Army would still face a housing shortage that only leasing would alleviate. Under the new Section 802 program, the Army encouraged private developers to build on federal land and lease directly to soldiers at affordable rates. The first projects developed under this program advertised in Hawaii in the fall of 1990.
For the large number of soldiers who lived off-post, the Army obtained some adjustments in housing allowances and rent and homeowners' protection. The Army had long sought an adjustment in the variable housing allowance (VHA), which had fallen far short of its goal to cover the difference between the basic quarters allowance and the actual cost of owning a home. The FY 91 Defense Authorization Act removed the congressional ceiling on the VHA and allowed it to increase 10.3 percent. The Army achieved another housing objective in March 1991, when the President signed a bill amending the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 to increase the eviction protection ceiling from $150 to $1200 for renters. The Army had created the Homeowners' Assistance Program in 1967 to ensure that Army homeowners, forced to sell their homes because of a base closure, would receive the fair market value that predated the closing announcement. Beginning in August 1991, the program helped reimburse homeowners in the area of Fort Hood, Texas, for losses sustained through private sale or foreclosure resulting from inactivation of the 2d Armored Division in 1990.
Since the 1988 Family Action Plan pinpointed relocation assistance as a high priority, the Army has devoted considerable resources to helping
soldiers move. Under a 15 June 1990 mandate from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, representatives of the Housing Referral Office and Army Community Services counseled soldiers about buying and selling a home. Beginning in the spring of 1990, Army Community Services installed at various bases the Relocation Assistance Information System (RAIS), a computer software package that provided soldiers with data on child care, housing, medical facilities, and other related subjects. The Housing Operations Management System (HOMES) likewise provided computer programs to help relocating soldiers. These programs included an assignments and terms module to keep track of available Army quarters, a billeting module for hotel reservations, and a furnishings module with inventories of government furniture. Meanwhile, ODCSPER recommended changes to the Sponsorship Program, which provided assistance to soldiers newly assigned to units, by the unit members they were replacing. ODCSPER wanted sponsoring soldiers to provide specific information about their units to their replacements. To match entitlements already in place for families, the Army increased overseas household goods shipment and weight allowances for single soldiers.
In FY 90 the General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report highly critical of a long-standing policy regarding temporary duty (TDY) lodging and guesthouses, which were used primarily by permanent change of station (PCS) personnel. The GAO concluded that monies generated from TDY lodging could only be reinvested in that program, and not in morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) guesthouses as the existing policy permitted. Another recommendation by the GAO was that monies generated during the prior four-year period, which had been reinvested in guest-houses, had to be repaid to the U.S. Treasury. This was necessary even though the Army had been the beneficiary of additional real property and also improvements to existing facilities made possible by those funds.
The GAO further concluded that excessive rates had been charged TDY travelers who used the transient lodging facilities. The Vice Chief of Staff, Army, approved creation of an Army billeting fund and installation billeting funds to separate the proceeds generated by TDY lodging from the installation MWR fund. Each installation billeting fund is a separate account, with revenues used to support only TDY transient housing needs.
Morale, Welfare, and Recreation
Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM presented both a challenge and an opportunity for Army Morale, We l fare, and Recreation (MWR). The challenge was how to deliver recreation activities to half a million soldiers deployed in the desert. Working closely with FORSCOM and CENTCOM, the Army Community and Family Support Center (CFSC) had an
opportunity to practice putting "combat recreation" in place. Movies, weights and exercise equipment, billiards, table tennis, and water sport s were soldiers' favorite recreation activities while stationed in Saudi Arabia, according to survey data obtained from soldiers in the Gulf. These and other MWR activities were provided by Department of the Army civilian employees who volunteered for duty in the Middle East at the request of General Schwarzkopf, under the auspices of CFSC. The first contingent of twenty-seven recreation specialists, twenty men and seven women, arrived on 22 January 1991 for the first rotation of 120 days. A total of sixty-three civilians served in the Middle East between January and September 1991.
CFSC's Community Recreation Directorate arranged for 45,000 copies of Stars and Stripes, 4,000 subscriptions to Army Times, and shipments of more than 700,000 paperback books, for a total of nearly $1 million in nonappropriated funds for recreation supplies shipped to the Persian Gulf. Items shipped ranged from sports equipment to playing cards, board games, and arts and crafts materials. Private businesses, citizens, celebrities, nonprofit agencies, and community groups donated hundreds of thousands of gifts and merchandise, which ranged from portable radios to weightlifting equipment.
CFSC also conducted a DESERT STORM Creative Writing Contest and an Army Humor Cartoon Contest as vehicles for soldiers to express their innermost feelings and to give healthy, creative vent to the homesickness, boredom, and loneliness they were experiencing in the desert. The contests, which were the only ones of their kind conducted by any U.S. armed service, generated more than 1,000 literary entries and more than 300 cartoons. CBS television journalist and World War II reporter for the Stars and Stripes, Andy Rooney, served as one of four Creative Writing Contest judges.
Back on the home front, issues that revolved around separating self-sufficiency and appropriated fund support for recreation programs, coupled with force reductions, generated congressional concern. According to authorization policies, programs such as sports and libraries were to receive a large percentage of appropriated funds similar to municipal programs financed by taxpayer dollars. On the other hand, business activities such as clubs, golf, and bowling were, of necessity, mandated to generate their own revenues from fees, retail sales, special events, and other entrepreneurial ventures. Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) dividends were, and continue to be, a critical source of revenue for MWR.
Under congressional mandate, the Army had sought to finance mission- sustaining activities, such as sports and libraries, with appropriated funds, while developing better marketing and management practices in the business activities so they could support themselves. In practice, the Army had not achieved this resource scenario. Congress, concerned about ade-
In FY 90 the Army began aggressively tapping another potential source of revenue, thanks to a 1989 DOD pilot program which allowed the services to solicit corporate America for commercial sponsorship of MWR programs. Sponsorship fell under the purview of the newly established CFSC marketing division, which issued guidance and formulated commercial sponsorship policy. The program grew from a total of $2.6 million in cash, goods, and services in FY 90 to $7.1 million generated in FY 91. The large increase in FY 91 was due to corporate support of DESERT STORM reunion celebrations. To help generate corporate interest in reunion activities, CFSC published a commercial sponsorship booklet entitled Celebrate the Heroes, which listed reunion program ideas, as well as MACOM and specific Army installation points of contact for marketing. Corporate America rolled out the welcome mat as veterans returned from Southwest Asia. As an example, during May 1991 the Army CFSC served as executive agent for the distribution to service members of more than 100,000 Anheuser-Busch "Yellow Ribbon Summer" family theme park tickets, valued at $12 million.
Notwithstanding financial retrenchment, most MWR programs continued to serve soldiers and families well, both in quantity and quality. In responses to a 1990 sample survey of military personnel, 23 percent of officers and 25 percent of enlisted personnel said that the availability of nonathletic recreation programs (recreation centers, outdoor recreation, arts and crafts, and music and theater) "definitely" or "probably" affected their decision to stay in the Army. Sports ranked high in usage as Army athletes continued their winning tradition by participating with distinction and bringing home medals and awards in many competitions, both inside and outside the armed services, including the Goodwill Games and the Pan American Games. Soldiers excelled in wrestling, cycling, marksmanship, boxing, and racquetball as they prepared for the 1992 summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea.
To meet the emerging needs of single soldiers aged 18-25 and to counterbalance the emphasis on family programs between 1978-88, the Army CFSC established the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers
While BOSS addressed the needs of single soldiers, the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) continued to address the concerns of the rest of the Total Army family: retirees, single parents, dual military career couples, youth, and reservists. In 1990 and 1991 AFAP delegates representing installations worldwide came to Washington, D.C., to review issues which surfaced from people at the grassroots to HQDA. Inadequate housing allowances, comprehensive dental care, and enhanced family programs for the Total Army were among top issues identified in 1990. Inequitable military pay, the need for increased marketing of CHAMPUS, and underutilized teen programs were issues identified in 1991.
To address these and other issues affecting youth in grades six through twelve, the Youth Services Program (YSP), formerly Youth Activities or Dependent Youth Activities, implemented the Youth Development Program (YDP) and established YDP positions at many installations. In 1990 the first Teen Discovery: World Teen Summit youth symposium was held at Pine Camp, Fort Gordon, Georgia. Thirty-six teenagers, selected locally by their peers, and thirty-four YSP/YDP staff representing thirty posts Armywide, participated in developmental and recreational activities that lasted a week. These activities were designed to heighten self-esteem as well as motivate teens to return to their communities and contribute positively as peer role models and leaders. This successful program was continued in 1991. The YSP became an especially critical element in helping youth deal with the difficult adjustments associated with the deployment of their parents to the Persian Gulf. In coordination with the Army, Boys and Girls Clubs of America began offering special programs directed at the children of reserve component families. These programs were funded by a special $3 million congressional grant.
For parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, child care remained a critical issue. In November 1989 Congress passed the Military Child Care Act (MCCA). This legislation stipulated minimum appropriated funding and staff levels, higher wages, and better training for child care staffs; user fees based on family income; national accreditation of child development centers; and unannounced inspections of
The House Armed Services Committee commended the Army for responding with vigor to the MCCA. During FY 90 the Army met and exceeded by 5 percent the appropriated funding stipulated by the MCCA and filled 100 percent of the newly created child care positions. It also raised caregiver salaries as much as $2 an hour, which significantly reduced staff turn over; conducted unannounced inspections at 171 locations; and provided child care services for more than 174,000 children. In 1990 Fort Leavenworth's child development center (CDC) was the first Army CDC to be accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. By the end of FY 91, forty CDCs had received national accreditation. The Army family child care system in government-owned housing had also become firmly established and offered extended hours of care for single and dual military career parents. A new system, Supplemental Programs and Services, was already on the regulatory books and was in the process of being implemented, further expanding on-post child care options. Army family programs, particularly the Army Community Service (ACS), demonstrated their value during Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. This was a period during which family members received intensive education about installation support services through their chain of command. At seven stateside posts from which large numbers of troops deployed, ACS established and operated 24-hour family assistance centers (FACs). Under one roof, FAC staff assembled chaplains, lawyers, relief workers, and other social service specialists to monitor possible trouble areas and provide information and counseling as well as training for unit support groups. In addition, ACS provided relocation information, consumer and financial advice, employment counseling, aid to exceptional family members, and other services. Unit support groups, supplemented with assistance from the United Services Organization (USO) , the American Legion, the Young Men's Christian Association, and the American Red Cross provided information to family members and helped with child care, housing, and financial problems. From August 1990 through January 1991, Army Emergency Relief (AER) helped 31,000 soldiers and their families with $17 million in grants and interest-free loans.
To support the reserve components and those families at installations without family assistance centers, the Army established a toll-free hotline in an operations center at the Alexandria, Virginia, CFSC in August 1990.
As the level of conflict escalated, the operations center went to a 24-hour schedule, which continued through April 1991. Although the operating hours decreased as troops returned, the hotline remained operational through July 1991. The staff logged 80,000 calls during the nine-month period. During the Persian Gulf war and during and after homecomings, Army family support programs continued to help soldiers and their families through the difficult period of readjustment.
During FY 90 and 91 the Army Medical Department continued its efforts to increase access to medical services for Army families while controlling skyrocketing expenses. Through the CHAMPUS Management Improvement Program, the Army sought to limit the volume of CHAMPUS services and to control doctors' fees. The Department of Defense delayed expansion of outpatient program services, the Army 's Primary Care of the Uniformed Services (PRIMUS) Program, beyond the 10 existing clinics.
Through its Medical Enhancement Program, the Army expanded direct care at military facilities in such areas as family practice and obstetrics-gynecology. It also increased access to care through the community-based Mental Health Project for youth and the European After-Hours Test Project, which provided outpatient services for Army families in German medical facilities. The Army 's ongoing Health Promotion Program encouraged healthy lifestyles among soldiers and their families.
To improve the health care system and keep costs reasonable, the Army investigated the concept of having Army primary care area providers coordinate health services for individuals. Based on practices developed by the private health care industry, the concept required each Army medical treatment facility to develop a plan to supply primary care within its area of responsibility. This plan would automatically enroll all eligible beneficiaries and assign them to, or allow them to choose, a primary care "gatekeeper" clinic within their area as their conduit into the military health care system. Clinics would refer beneficiaries to appropriate specialized care in either the military or the private sector. Outlined for Congress in January 1990 by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, the concept fit in well with the Coordinated Care Program being developed by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. While the House Appropriations Committee was recommending expansion of the concept, the Army instituted trial programs at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Carson, Colorado, referred to as catchment area management demonstrations.
Building on the lessons learned from these trials and other Army and DOD initiatives, the Army Surgeon General, in October 1990, intro-
duced the Gateway to Care Program as an interim measure prior to adoption of the Coordinated Care Program. The new program used the concept of designated primary care clinics that would coordinate each beneficiary's health care needs and arrange, when necessary, for more specialized treatment or inpatient services elsewhere. Gateway to Care thereby shifted the responsibility for finding and coordinating care from the patient to a comprehensive health care delivery system under the control of the local military hospital commander. The commander would determine whether a service should be performed by a military or a civilian facility. When referral to a civilian facility proved necessary, the commander would negotiate the lowest possible rate. The Army planned to implement Gateway to Care at thirteen sites, including Forts Sill and Carson, during FY 91.
While the Army Surgeon General's Office searched for a more efficient health care program for Army families at an affordable cost, Army researchers were making advances in medical technology. Under the supervision of the Army Medical Research and Development Command, scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and eight other laboratories were developing nerve agent antidotes, vaccines for hepatitis and upper respiratory meningitis, and antibodies against infections following injuries and burns. Of all their work, the fight against AIDS earned the most attention. In October 1990 Army scientists from the Walter Reed Institute of Research reported to the International Conference on AIDS that their vaccine, gp160, had proved successful in stimulating the development of new antibodies and other immune responses critical to the body's fight against AIDS. In November 1990 the Army also began testing vaccine gp120 on fifty HIV-infected patients, hoping to develop a vaccine that would delay the acute period of the illness. Because of an intensive education program, the rate of new HIV infections in the Army had dropped from 0.49 per thousand soldiers during 1985-87 to 0.29 per thousand by February 1991.
The Army Safety Program
Safety statistics for FY 90 and 91 gave the Army as much satisfaction as the improved HIV figures. In both fiscal years, the Army continued its downward trend in the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. During FY 90 the total number of accidents declined by 24 percent, and the Army Safety Off ice reported the lowest number of aircraft accidents on record. The only increase in both number and costs came in the category of civilian injuries. Those statistics improved the following fiscal year, when the Safety Office reported the lowest level of civilian injuries since the Army began keeping records in 1984. The Persian Gulf war heavily influenced
safety statistics for FY 91, but despite the impact of wartime training and operations, the number of accidents and fatalities still declined to an all-time low. Although aircraft accidents increased during FY 91, 25 of the 49 reported incidents occurred in Southwest Asia. In a collateral benefit, privately owned vehicle accidents decreased during the year because a large percentage of active component soldiers served in Saudi Arabia.
The Army Safety Office pointed to a number of reasons for the fine performance, including the integration of accident prevention techniques into training and work standards, the distribution of instructional videotapes and special checklists, on-site health hazard assessments, and the expansion of formal training in risk management for officers and senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs) in both CONUS and overseas. During the two fiscal years, the Army Safety Office and the Army Safety Center also completed installment of rollover protection on M151 quarter-ton trucks and created a Technical Center for Explosives Safety to provide technical guidance to field commanders on the handling of explosives. The Army also published new regulations for nuclear safety programs, biochemical research, and toxic chemical agents, which were returning from Germany in large quantities. After a slow start, safety in Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM improved, in part because of publication and distribution of the new Leader's Safety Guide.
Pay and Travel
While safety matters during the period concerned some soldiers more than others, pay issues drew nearly everyone's attention. During FY 91 the Army increased military and civilian salaries by 3.5 percent and also instituted generous increases for certain specialties, medical specialties in particular. The FY 90 Defense Authorization Act helped the Army to counter the exodus of doctors from its ranks by increasing special pay for physicians and by extending the Medical Officer Retention Bonus for an additional year. These pay raises were implemented by a new payroll innovation, the Joint Service Software System (JSSS), that the Army developed in conjunction with the Air Force. The Army hoped that JSSS would reduce payroll operation and maintenance costs, standardize procedures, and ultimately improve response time to inquiries with current, online information. Beginning in August 1991, the Army began converting twelve to sixteen of its finance offices per month to JSSS, a process that would continue until the entire Army payroll reached online status.
Budgetary limitations did not prevent Congress from expanding some benefits available to soldiers and retirees. Congress was quick to extend the highly successful Montgomery GI Bill which, since its inception in 1985, had provided educational benefits to more than one million Army
recruits. After the Persian Gulf war, Congress increased those benefits for active component soldiers to as much as $27,000 for tuition, when combined with the Army College Fund. Congress also used subsidies to reduce retiree premiums for the Survivor Benefit Plan, but it did not reform the program to permit adjustments after retirement. In late 1991 President Bush signed legislation that extended the eligibility period for applying for service-related disabled veteran's insurance from one to two years. The bill also extended to two years the period during which veterans declared mentally incompetent from a service-connected disability could apply for a gratuitous policy.
Those who served in Panama and Southwest Asia received a number of special benefits during FY 90 and 91. The Army authorized IDP for JUST CAUSE through January 1990. IDP was approved for service by Army personnel in several Middle East countries during the Persian Gulf war. In April 1991 President Bush increased IDP from $110 to $150 per month, to continue until 180 days after the Gulf war. He also approved increases in the Family Separation Allowance from $65 to $75 per month, the Death Gratuity from $3,000 to $6,000 for deaths from injury or illness in the Gulf conflict, and indemnities under Serviceman's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) from $50,000 to $100,000. Veterans of ninety days' active duty during DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM also became eligible for Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan guarantees. With the start of DESERT STORM, troops in the Gulf region received a six-month hiatus on filing their income taxes; it was later extended to last as long as their deployment overseas. Effective 17 January 1991, enlisted personnel could exclude all military compensation for each month of combat service from their taxable revenues. Officers could exclude their first $500.
The Gulf war also reinforced the trend toward greater benefits for reserve components and intensified efforts in Congress to reduce inequities between the reserve and the active component. Public Law 102-12 confirmed that reserve component personnel called to active duty would keep the health insurance provided by their employers when they returned. Those persons mobilized for service in the Gulf also became eligible for the V H A at their monthly drill training station or at the location from which they were ordered to active duty. Beginning 1 December 1991, reserve component personnel activated in wartime or a national emergency were eligible for government-paid special storage of household goods for as long as ninety days. Congress increased benefits for reserve component personnel who were eligible for retirement pay but were not yet age sixty. They could now apply for SGLI, and, effective 1 October 1991, they would enjoy increased access to post exchanges (PXs) and MWR facilities. During the war, the Army National Guard (ARNG) appointed a full-time coordinator in each state to work directly with commanders regarding family matters.
After they returned home from the Persian Gulf, many officers and enlisted personnel in the active component faced involuntary separation as force reductions accelerated. To ease their transition to civilian life, the Army obtained provisions for separation pay and other benefits in the FY 91 Defense Authorization Act. Effective 5 November 1990, the Army made payments to soldiers on active duty who were being involuntarily separated through denial of reenlistment or denial of continuation on active duty, had completed at least six but fewer than twenty years of active service, were receiving an honorable or general discharge under honorable conditions, and agreed in writing to three years of service in the Ready Reserve. The act also provided for as much as thirty days of excess leave for job searches and relocation activities, priority placement with ARNG and U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) units, extensions for as long as 180 days for military housing, commissary and PX privileges for two years, military health care for 60-120 days after separation, and another opportunity to participate in the Montgomery GI Bill.
As a further aid to departing soldiers and their families, the Army announced establishment of the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) in 1990. Under ACAP, the Army planned to establish Transition Assistance Offices (TAO) at various posts to help soldiers return to civilian life and to refer them to appropriate agencies for available benefits. Job Assistance Centers (JAC) would teach job search skills; provide individual career counseling, workshops, and seminars; and direct soldiers to external job assistance agencies. Although not job placement agencies, ACAP facilities could provide job leads through the automated Army Employer Network, which listed by geographical region, employers who were interested in hiring Army alumni. For smaller installations that would not have a TAO or JAC, the Army planned to provide mobile services, and it also distributed transition guidebooks to individuals. The program began with seven pilot sites in January 1991 and was expected to expand to more than sixty sites by the end of the year.
Through negotiations, the Army obtained transportation cost reductions from the commercial travel industry, in addition to the favorable rates it already had achieved in past years. The Army reached an agreement with several airlines that waived restrictions on reservations and payment of reduced fares for military trainees and, through the Hotel Reservation Program, it secured discount rates from several major hotel chains for military personnel and their families. In 1990 the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) developed a five-year contracting plan to provide commercial travel offices at CONUS installations. The contractors would offer discounted official travel and pay concession fees on leisure (unofficial) travel. To serve the leisure and vacation-planning needs of the military community, information, ticketing, and registration (ITR) offices were estab-
lished to provide tickets to local and regional events, as well as short recreational trips for soldiers and families. All revenues that were saved went into the installation MWR fund. In May 1990 the Army implemented a new policy that permitted personnel traveling on official business to use Frequent Flyer miles for accommodation upgrades. Military personnel on temporary duty (TDY) also benefited from the implementation of direct deposit of TDY reimbursements into their bank accounts.
Clothing and Individual Equipment
During FY 90 and 91 the Army improved not only family services and pay and travel benefits for soldiers, but also their food, clothing, and personal equipment. After October 1990 the Project Manager for Clothing and Individual Equipment (PM-CIE) oversaw the research and development of more than four hundred items, down from eight hundred after the Defense Personnel Support Center (DPSC) eliminated federal specifications for many CIE items. During FY 90 the Army approved implementation of the Central Funding and Fielding System (CFF) by the PM-CIE in FY 91. Under this system, the PM-CIE would develop a Program Objective Memorandum (POM) for modernization of CIE. Based on the POM data, the Army would allocate funds, and the PM-CIE would coordinate development of fielding plans with the Army Support Activity, using priorities established by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (DCSOPS). The Army would then fund requisitions to the DPSC to execute the fielding plans. The new procedure represented a major departure from the old "pull" system, whereby units requisitioned new items using Army Operations and Maintenance (OMA) funds.
As part of its Soldier Modernization Plan to improve production of critical items for soldiers, the Army viewed individual equipment not as a number of isolated items, but as part of a total fighting system. This approach was evident in the futuristic Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble (SIPE), a head-to-toe system to improve the fighting ability of the individual soldier. The SIPE concept consisted of headgear capable of multiple functions, advanced clothing, and climatic conditioning. Through the SIPE program, the Army hoped to field, by the year 2000, a helmet that possessed an individual communications system, an infrared sight that would enable a soldier to aim his weapon by projecting a beam on the target, and an encapsulating suit that filtered chemically contaminated air for breathing and cooling the body. The Army anticipated a field demonstration of SIPE in FY 92.
For the short term, the Army turned to the Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP), a congressional initiative implemented by the Army during FY 90 to field nondevelopment items (NDI) using an accelerated approach.
In coordination with HQDA and TRADOC, PM-CIE and the Natick Research, Development, and Engineering (RD&E) Center at Natick, Massachusetts, selected eleven CIE projects from their development efforts and off-the-shelf technology for special emphasis during FY 90 and 91. These projects ranged from new body armor and laser protection to improved battle dress uniforms (BDUs) for hot weather climates and alternate materials for cold weather clothing. From this list, the Army completed development of the Intermediate Cold-Wet Glove and Boot, the Combat Boot for Desert Environment, and the Lightweight Flashlight during FY 91.
Largely because of Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, the Army progressed in upgrading its desert BDUs and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protective we a r. To provide a desert uniform with enhanced camouflage, the Army, in October 1990, adopted a new three-color desert camouflage pattern BDU to replace the six-color pattern. A t the start of FY 90, the Army had made some progress in the production of antidotes for nerve agents, but critics claimed that its NBC equipment was obsolete compared to other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members. In June 1990 a CIE task force began to evaluate the research, development, and testing process for chemical CIE items. Meanwhile, the Army explored ways to provide lighter and more effective protection, including microclimate cooling systems, the Suit Contamination Avoidance and Liquid Protective (SCALP), and a new protective mask for helicopter crews. The Army also type-classified the Aircrew Uniform Integrated Battlefield (AUIB) and the Aircrew Battle Dress Uniform into the supply system, we a r-tested an Enhanced Hot Weather and Desert BDU, and refined components of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System.
Several other CIE items made their debut during FY 90 and 91. The Army introduced a new helmet for aviators and continued research on new fibers to strengthen the steel for helmets and bullet proof vests as part of the Personal Armor System Ground Troops. Beginning in the summer of 1989, the Army issued the Combat Vehicle Crewman's Uniform System to protect armored crews, and in October 1990 it added the Laser Protective Visor, which provided improved laser protection for aviators. As part of the Integrated Infantry Fighting System project, the Army began to issue new types of sleeping bags, as well as vests and field packs, that distributed weight over the entire torso more effectively than earlier models.
The Persian Gulf war caused CIE agencies to accelerate development and fielding of CIE items for desert warfare. The PM-CIE directed the Natick RD&E Center to modify specifications quickly in order to expedite procurement of items with the desert camouflage design and recommended the immediate acquisition of a modified hot weather boot for a desert environment as an interim desert boot. Input from CENTCOM
aided modification of the boot, as well as the desert BDU, for rapid shipment to the Persian Gulf. Turning to many contractors and the DPSC, the Army authorized conversion of woodland and hot weather BDUs to ensure manufacture and delivery of 1.5 million desert BDUs to the theater by June 1991. In the process, the Army took the opportunity to improve and even expand its industrial base for important commodities such as the NBC suit. Industries that produced the NBC uniform barely existed before the war. Throughout the procurement process, HQDA, FORSCOM, AMC (PM Soldier and Army Support Activity), and the DPSC worked together to facilitate shipments the of uniforms.
Food and Commissary Services
While CIE agencies were improving the clothing and individual equipment of the soldier, Army food agencies were seeking ways to produce more edible and durable products. The focus of these efforts was the Army Field Feeding System (AFFS), which set a standard of three quality meals for each soldier per day. These meals could be any of three choices T-rations, or tray rations; the Meal-Ready-to-Eat (MRE) (both the T and MRE were packaged meals that were heated); and the A-ration , which was a freshly cooked meal. To deliver T- and A- rations to the soldiers, the Army obtained sufficient funding through FY 91 to field mobile kitchen trailers and company-level kitchens with its divisions, separate brigades, and armored cavalry regiments. At the research level , the Natick RD&E Center was developing improved cold weather packaging, longer spoons, wet-packed fruit for MREs, and the Zestotherm heating pad used to heat the MRE entree when activated with two ounces of water. To help with the development of more adequate rations, the center also reached cooperative agreements with several colleges, food industries, and government laboratories for microwave thermoprocessing and for improved ration components.
Ration development drew interest from both the food industries and the soldiers. From 1986 through 1990, the Army had changed ration components for about 50 percent of its T-rations and 75 percent of its MREs. During FY 90 and 91 the Natick RD&E Center developed a long-life ration packet that could be stored for ten years at 80º F.; and it also experimented with such items as frankfurters, cheese pizza, beef burritos, and pork chow mein.
The most notable innovations were the introduction of pouch bread, T-ration hamburger patties, and the heat-resistant candy bar. Pouch bread contained sucrose ester emulsifier, a preservative that would keep the bread fresh for as long as three years. The heat-resistant candy bar was developed through an agreement between the Army and the Hershey
Corporation in response to Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. More than 890,000 bars were procured by the Army and sent to the Persian Gulf.
With the Army as the DOD's executive agent for supplying food to the Gulf, Army food agencies contributed much to the success of Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. To coordinate the effort, the Food Engineering Directorate of Troop Support Command established a special management team of food/packaging technicians and dieticians. It also created a High Heat Environment Food Quality Task Force of experts from academia and industry to examine issues such as nutrition stability, ration storage, and food metabolism in the desert heat. Through extraordinary effort, the Army and cooperating industries managed a production surge from 4.2 million to 14.4 million MREs and a rise in the production of T-rations to about 4 million meals per month by March 1991. Despite these increases, the Army experienced short falls, especially in T-rations. The DPSC contracted with the Hormel Corporation for the delivery of 37.2 million commercial off-shelf dishes, known as Meals Operational Ready to Eat (MORE), by May 1991. AFFS shortcomings in Saudi Arabia prompted TRADOC to direct the U.S. Army Quartermaster Center and School to study the effectiveness of AFFS wartime doctrine and other issues relating to food services in combat.
Developments in Army feeding activities were not limited to the field. The Army Quartermaster Center and School, which had assumed responsibility for garrison food services at the start of FY 90, was upgrading troop dining facilities on post to DOD standards and adopting new menus, contemporary decor, and separate serving stations to replace the old cafeteria style. It also upgraded its Troop Subsistence Activities with computerized inventory systems, modular construction, and improved climate control. Surcharges also drew considerable attention. For years, the Army had collected fees from officers and civilians who used appropriated fund dining facilities that were primarily meant to serve enlisted personnel. Responding to pressure from commanders who wanted more flexibility in the employment of surcharges, the DOD Comptroller, in March 1991, approved exemptions for officers in command and leadership positions but not for those on TDY or leave. He later waived the surcharge for legal dependents of personnel deployed to the Persian Gulf.
While Army dining facilities coped with new construction and surcharge exemptions, the commissary system was undergoing a major reorganization. On the recommendation of a DOD study group that examined the consolidation of service commissary operations, the Deputy Secretary of Defense approved a single commissary organization under a new Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) in the spring of 1990. During the summer the head of DeCA, an Army major general, met with service com-
Meanwhile, Army commissaries and PXs were adopting a number of reforms to improve efficiency and service to customers. The prospect of reduced appropriated funds, base closures, and a smaller customer base created a need for the AAFES to reorganize and cut costs. Otherwise, they could not maintain their support for MWR funds, which relied on AAFES dividends for MWR programs and the modernization of facilities. To streamline the method by which the AAFES transferred earnings from Class Six stores, pay phones, and food operations to installations, the Army Community and Family Program Review Committee approved an Army Simplified Dividend Program. This program provided for payments based on a percentage of AAFES revenue unique to each installation. Using surcharges paid by commissary patrons, the Army continued its program to repair or modernize commissaries. Customers at Army commissaries benefited from price scanning at checkout counters, more convenient shopping hours, and, in the case of European stores, the opportunity to buy American beef for the first time. Army commissaries projected total sales of $2.1 billion in FY 91.
As it strived to provide a better quality of life during FY 90 and 91, the Army also honored its dead from both recent and earlier conflicts. Army personnel took part in memorial services around the nation for the fallen of JUST CAUSE and DESERT STORM. The Army added to its flag streamers for Panama and Southwest Asia and continued to collect records, artifacts, and memorabilia from inactivating units and closing bases. It also sponsored activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of World War II. In July 1990 airborne veterans participated in ceremonies in Washington, DC, that marked the 50th anniversary of the Airborne Test Platoon, the unit from which American airborne forces of World War II and later wars evolved. The festivities included a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, a memorial service at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, and an airborne exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution. The U.S. Army Armored Force and the USO were two other organizations that marked 50-year anniversaries. In January 1991 the DOD 50th Anniversary of World War II Commemoration Committee met with the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans to plan ceremonies for the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The World War II commemoration that received the most attention during FY 90 and 91 recognized a 100-year anniversary, the birth of General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower in October 1890. The Army worked with the Eisenhower Centennial Commission and the federal government to issue an Eisenhower commemorative stamp and coin and also assisted symposia and other educational programs on Eisenhower, both as a general and as a president. The centerpiece of the commemoration was, "Journey to Victory," five days of ceremonies in London, Normandy, and Paris that celebrated Eisenhower's service as commander of allied forces in Europe during World War II.
Despite budget cuts, force reductions, and base closures, the Army substantially enhanced quality of life programs for its military personnel during FY 90 and 91. Sometimes backed by Congress, and sometimes pressured by Congress, the Army organization emphasized revitalizing housing, expanding MWR programs for soldiers and their families, developing child care and other family services, increasing pay and travel benefits, and providing more comfortable clothing, more palatable food, and other support services to its members. If the Army's performance in the Persian Gulf was any indication, these programs not only made the Army a more satisfying place to live and work, they also contributed to its successful performance on the battlefield.