Homecoming Research Influences Policy
The Army Families Federation (AFF) held their biennial conference at the Institute of Education, London on Wednesday 29th September. The AFF represents the interests of military families. As Patron this years special guest was HRH The Duchess of Gloucester GCVO.
The conference is a great opportunity for those who represent military families to have a chance to speak directly to senior policy makers. The importance with which top level military commanders regard the AFF was demonstrated by the guest panel, including, Lieutenants General Barney White-Spunner CBE (Commander Field Army) and Sir Bill Rollo KCB CBE (Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff - Personnel and Training), who fielded extensive questions from the audience.
The question and answer session was preceded by the keynote speaker; Psylutions Managing Director Lionel Fairweather. Lionel has been conducting Ministry of Defence sanctioned research at the University of East London. The question he is looking to answer is 'how do Reservists experience the process of homecoming, following a period of prolonged mobilization?' When Territorial Army soldiers are mobilized for active duty, they usually spend about 1 year on active duty. This period consists of intensive pre-deployment training, the actual in-theatre tour, followed by post-operational tour leave.
Lionel said “this was the second time this year I have been asked to present my research”; the first being the Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, held at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome in March. He went on to say, “it seems that with the increased interest in all things military stemming from the Global War on Terrorism, the research could not have come at a more appropriate time”.
In the audience was the new head of the Army Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall KCB, CBE, ADC Gen. The General stated that the three key action points he would take away from the conference where to focus on the issues of individuals who deploy on operations, reservists in general and the off-base families of serving solders.