Army Strong Community Centers: Serving Army Families
In the first decade of the 21st century, the Army Reserve has transformed from a strategic to an operational force. Repeated demand for Army Reserve support has caused more than 193,000 Army Reserve Soldiers to deploy—often multiple times—since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. This significant new role has required different approaches to supporting geographically dispersed families to ensure that, along with Soldiers, families are equally prepared for deployment. One of the Army Reserve’s priorities is to “provide Citizen-Soldiers and their Families with the training, support, and recognition to sustain a cohesive, effective fighting force.” As this indicates, Army Reserve leaders have learned the positive effects that a flexible and responsive Soldier and family support structure have on enhancing mission readiness.
Nine years of war have resulted in an incredible strain on both active and reserve component Soldiers and their families, all of whom face hardships when their Soldiers deploy. But unlike active component families who can turn to their local installation for assistance when needed, Army Reserve families often live far from an installation and may not know of the resources and services available to them. To fill this void, the Army Reserve has opened three Army Strong Community Centers (ASCCs) to assist family members of deployed Soldiers living far from a military installation.