By Devon L. Suits | Army News Service
WASHINGTON — The Army has implemented changes to its Total Army Sponsorship Program to ensure Soldiers and Families have appropriate sponsors upon transfer to new assignments.
Under a revision to Army Regulation 600-8-8, Soldiers, NCOs and officers within the ranks of private to staff sergeant and second lieutenant to captain must be assigned sponsors at unit levels before leaving their current installations.
Further, warrant officers up to chief warrant officer 2 are required to have sponsors before permanent changes of station, said Robert Bush, assistant chief of staff for Installation Management program analyst.
While eligible Soldiers can still choose to decline sponsorship, first-term Soldiers are required to have sponsors before or upon arrival to their next assignments, Bush said.
“We do not want to leave that Soldier at high risk of not having the necessary sponsorship, which prevents them from developing some risky behaviors, or ending up in harm’s way,” Bush said. “The sponsorship program is not just about establishing contact. It’s about welcoming that new Soldier (and leading them) through the process.”
Above all, commanders will maintain full responsibility over the sponsorship program, and are required to set local standard operating procedures to meet sponsorship requirements, Bush said.
Previously, commanders could assign responsibility for the program to other individuals.
While commanders can still delegate responsibilities down for support, they are ultimately responsible for the sponsorship program, Bush said.
“This is a commander’s program. (The sponsorship program) is one of those issues that has a big impact on readiness,” he said. “They are ultimately responsible for the health and welfare of the Soldiers.”