A Refocus in Family Readiness
By Lance Cpl. Robert Bliss
| I Marine Expeditionary Force | May 23, 2018
After a six-month deployment to Okinawa, Sgt. Christopher Lafriniere, a communications specialist with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, I Marine Expeditionary Force, greets his family at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Nov. 18, 2014. I MEF is continuously placing trained and equipped Marines in positions around the world, ready to respond to any emergency.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The Marine Corps’ most valuable assets are its Marines and their families. One of a commander’s most immediate duties is to foster the link that exists between personal and family readiness and operational unit readiness.
To accomplish this, the Unit, Personal and Family Readiness Program was developed. After more than 13 years of sustained combat, the Marine Corps is refocusing its UPFRP to the core of the program: support to Marines and their families during deployment.
The primary change in this reset will be the redesignation of civilian Family Readiness Officers as Deployment Readiness Coordinators. They will focus on deployment support and provide assistance to units, individual Marines and families through a general support model based at the O-6, or Colonel-level.
During the transition period, FROs may be reassigned within the command to meet staffing requirements and unit needs. They will officially be redesignated as DRCs in June. Though the DRC’s locations may change, their responsibilities will not necessarily differ, as the focus of effort within the four tenets of program will remain the same: deployment readiness, communication, resource referral and volunteer management.
“The structure of the UPFRP is not changing so much as the staffing is,” said Karen Gough, I Marine Expeditionary Force Family Readiness Officer. “[Commanders] will designate a number of FROs at the O-6 command level, and deploying units will be top priority.”
For Marines and Sailors assigned to the command element at I MEF and major subordinate command levels, services from the DRCs assigned to I MEF Information Group, Headquarters Battalion, and Headquarters Regiments will be available to their respective units. Installation Marine and Family Programs staff will also offer support.
A Marine Administrative Message outlining the reset initiated the change process and was released in March 2018. Marine and Family Programs has begun coordination with commands for policy updates and revised training, with full implementation complete by the fall of 2018.
“We need to ensure that our resources are weighted to the benefit of Marines in the operating forces and their families,” said Gen. Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
The UPFRP was developed to help Marines and their families adjust to the rigors of military life. Just as the Marine Corps adapts and changes over time, the UPFRP’s goal is to change and adapt with it in order to continually meet the needs of Marines and their families.