‘The wellbeing and happiness of service families is fundamental to the health of the army as a whole’

We’re pleased to share a message from the new head of the British Army, Chief of the General Staff Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, on the importance the service places on supporting its families – which remain a cornerstone of operational effectiveness…

Having recently taken up appointment, I want to take this opportunity to speak to you, our families, to thank you for all the support and effort that you provide.

Like so many who serve in the armed forces, I value deeply the support offered by my friends and family – not just when on operations but when at home, on exercise or when grappling with knotty challenges that Service life throws at us. Being able to talk to those closest to me has been a source of constant help and indispensable comfort.

I read with keen interest the recently published results of the Families Continuous Attitude Survey (FAMCAS), which outlines your views on issues such as accommodation, healthcare, spousal employment and childcare. The wellbeing and happiness of service families is fundamental to the health of the army as a whole and we are working hard to improve your lived experience, including the recent introduction of wraparound childcare for 4-11 year olds.

It’s important that we understand the reality of being a service family, and I look forward to working with AFF to hear about and understand your issues.

I recently gave orders to accelerate the mobilisation and modernisation of the army to reinforce NATO and deter the threat of further conflict in Europe. This has been given the operational name MOBILISE and is our highest priority. MOBILISE is about building an even better army for uncertain times. It complements Future Soldier, the army’s vision for the future and together they support the Government’s intention to use the army’s presence overseas for maximum effect. Although our focus is primarily on Northern and Eastern Europe, our people – your family members and loved ones – will continue to deploy all over the world and the army will continue to do everything it can to provide support to soldiers and their families.

The army is built on effective communication and teamwork. Please keep communicating to share your experiences, build trust and improve our support networks. We are here for families, and we need you all to look after and support our soldiers. I look forward to hearing your questions, and responding to them, in the next edition of Army&You and continuing to engage with you all.

Do you have a question for the man at the top? Put your question to CGS in winter’s Army&You by sending us an email to questions@aff.org.uk

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