Today’s post was written by Maj. Crystal Boring, Communications Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life Program
The Soldier for Life (SFL) initiative is a culture shift in how the Army focuses its support to Soldiers in all phases of their military careers. The Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) is the first of many Army programs to adopt the mindset change.
Soldier for Life
SFL is a new, holistic approach to Soldiering. Whether a Soldier serves one day or 30 years, he or she will one day take off the uniform for the last time. In order for Soldiers and their Families to be prepared for this inevitable transition, former Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno proposed a vision: “Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier… A Soldier for Life.” SFL highlights this vision by inculcating a culture change. From the moment a Soldier earns that title, throughout their military career, through transition and after reintegrating into civilian communities, that individual carries with them the intangible, invaluable skills the Army teaches: leadership, problem-solving, and tenacity just to name a few. SFL is also the Army’s connection arm between the “sea of goodwill” that wants to support Soldiers, Veterans and their Families through education, employment and health resources and opportunities, and the Army itself.
Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program
SFL-TAP, formerly known as ACAP, is the Army’s transition assistance program which provides the counseling and resources necessary to prepare transitioning Soldiers for civilian life. Soldiers are eligible for SFL-TAP after 180 days of continuous active duty service. SFL-TAP is a commanders program that requires leadership involvement during a Soldiers transition process. Soldiers are required to begin transition processing no later than one year prior to their transition date. To support Army-wide transition, SFL-TAP has 700 counselors at 75 locations worldwide and mobile transition teams to support the National Guard and Army Reserve at home station.
How SFL and SFL-TAP Collaborate
SFL, the connection arm, finds employment and education resources and opportunities across the country and provides these opportunities to the SFL-TAP, the prepare arm, to assist Soldiers in reaching their individual transition goals. As the SFL initiative of “Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier… A Soldier for Life” is indoctrinated into other Army programs, the SFL mindset becomes increasingly inculcated in Soldiers and Veterans. These Soldiers for Life become Army Ambassadors in their communities instilling Army values and ethos in the next generation who will serve.