What does it mean to be a U.S. Army “Soldier for Life?”
You may have heard of the Soldier for Life program, but do you how it works for you even after you take off the uniform?
The United States Army Soldier for Life program is a strategic-level outreach organization focused on connecting services and opportunities to soldiers, veterans, and families.
It seems like there are hundreds of organizations out there with a mission focused on helping veterans. Sorting through all the options and opportunities available to you as a soldier, veteran, or family member can be overwhelming. That’s where Soldier for Life (SFL) comes in.
Soldier for Life is not a proponent for any regulations, policies, or specific programs (such as the Career Skills Program, or Army transition assistance), but works to identify initiatives and opportunities that benefit soldiers, veterans, and families. At the same time, SFL seeks to identify gaps, inefficiencies, and barriers to success in existing programs and initiatives, and advocates for policy, program, or procedural changes to close those gaps and remove barriers.
Originally established in 2012 as an initiative of the Chief of Staff of the Army, SFL was designed to help reduce the growing number of unemployed veterans. The SFL program focuses on ensuring soldiers, veterans, and families have awareness of – and access to – the services and opportunities provided by our external stakeholders: private organizations, government, non-profits, and institutes of higher learning.
Soldier for Life assists in synchronizing the efforts of these numerous stakeholders operating in the veteran-support space, ensuring that transitioning soldiers, their leaders, and the counselors who prepare them for civilian life know of the many resources and opportunities available to them.
Although SFL is constantly working on multiple initiatives simultaneously, there are several specific efforts that serve soldiers at every point in the “soldier lifecycle.”
Outreach and Discovery
Through aggressive networking, research, and personal interaction with various groups, agencies and organizations, SFL identifies and shares best practices with government and non-government entities with the mission and capability to provide support to soldiers, veterans, and families. SFL coordinates directly with the United States Army Reserve Public/Private Partnership office (P3O) and the Army National Guard Citizen Soldier for Life (CSFL) office to take advantage of each component’s unique capabilities and close the gap between programs. SFL also coordinates closely with United States Army Recruiting Command to provide complementary support within identified communities.
Essentially, SFL does all the heavy lifting in identifying, researching, and forming partnerships with entities that support soldiers, veterans, and families.
Soldier for Life leverages the Army network and centers of influence to link soldiers, veterans, and families to appropriate governmental and non-governmental programs and opportunities. SFL informs soldiers, veterans, and families of available opportunities through social media, organizational engagement, traditional media, and coordination with Army touchpoints.
SFL also serves as an advocate to link governmental and non-governmental organizations to the Army. Because SFL works on your behalf, you have an access point to the most relevant organizations and programs that aim to help soldiers, veterans, or families.
SFL also builds sustainable relationships that bring opportunities to soldiers, veterans, and families. SFL bridges Army, government, non-government, and community efforts (local, state, and federal) to support the soldier lifecycle, and explores public-private partnerships that close opportunity and knowledge gaps.
SFL builds and maintains sustained relationships with government and non-government entities in order to inspire, advocate for, and enable their continued support to soldiers, veterans, and families.
Connection and Trust
SFL connects the Army to the community and the community to the Army, and by doing so, maintains the faith of our soldiers, veterans, and families in order to sustain the premier all-volunteer Army and mitigate the gap between the Army and the nation that supports it.
SFL communicates and promotes the value of a soldier and a veteran to private organizations, government, non-government organizations, and schools. SFL utilizes its unique outreach mission to identify and encourage community and Army interaction.
Working with organizations across the Army, SFL helps create an environment where soldiers, veterans, and families embrace their positive Army experience and return to their communities as Army ambassadors to help inspire the next generation to serve.
By providing outreach and access and building relationships and connections Soldier for Life aims to support soldiers, veterans, and families through every phase of service – including when you take off the uniform.
Learn more about the U.S. Army Soldier for Life program by visiting https://soldierforlife.army.mil.
Note from Public Spectrum Team: LTC Olivia Nunn was a keynote speaker at the Public Sector Comms Leader. She is the Director of Communication at the US Army and graced the event in Canberra to share her knowledge to Australia’s Public Sector. In this article, she talked about Solder For Life and how effective communication and communication has played a big role in their programs.